The Dominican Republic - A country of contrasts
21 January 2017 | Las Salinas
Kath - Sunny and warm with a light breeze
The Dominican Republic is known for it's vast all-inclusive resorts- but they are a long way from our route in both distance and experience! I knew from my research this was not going to be an easy country to visit by yacht, and so it has proven to be. Its the norm for officials here to supplement their very low salary by expecting a significant 'propina' (read tip, or bribe) for every service. We checked into Marina Zar Par at Boca Chica on the south coast. The official fees for entry add up to about $120, but the marina has done a deal with immigration to charge every boat arriving a flat fee of $250, to include everyone's little extra. Despite this, we still had three officials in the cabin with their heavy boots on within an hour of our arrival, and suffered the routine intrusive but pointless search. We are now only allowed to travel from one named port to another, with a new 'dispacho' for every journey. Lovely anchorages on route are off limits for overnight stops, and as you have to leave within an hour of getting your dispacho its almost impossible to complete each passage in daylight. When we arrived here yesterday the coastguard was alongside demanding our paperwork before we had even set the anchor. They need a bit of customer service training!
But rant over, here we are at anchor in Las Salinas, a beautiful sheltered spot where we are planning to spend a few days, chill, and get stuck into the jobs list. Having paid up, we may as well stay a while!