Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Samana Dominican Republic

...The mountainous Dominican Coast under our jib...
We made the 40 plus hour run (240 nm) from Provo, Turks and Caicos direct to the Dominican Republic where we docked at the beautiful Marina Puerto Bahia in Samana. This is a five star resort with multiple pools, cafes, comfortable lobbies and all for $1/foot which is only $35 a day. We plan to stay here 4-5 days until the next crossing opportunity for the 24 hour run across the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico. Being offshore for 2 nights and with only sleeping 2-3 hours at a time, we all were exhausted when we arrived Tuesday morning. After docking, we all crashed and then rallied for the pool happy hour where drinks are 2:1 at prices of $3 each.

The DR flag left, Puerto Rico flag right
The DR peso is paying 47:1 USD. Yesterday I bought an ice cream bar for 80 cents! We already are concerned that it may be difficult to leave here. Then again, why leave? We have no schedule.

Our passage was in calm seas and light winds of 5-8 knots out of the east, exactly as shown on our Predict Wind app. Our course was 140 degrees placing the wind about 50-60 off the port bow. This was a motor sail with a full main and a staysail with the engine on at 2400-2500 rpms. The boat runs 6 to 6.5 knots round the clock in this situation.

The wind shift as recorded on the Triton2
This is a 60 minute timeframe
Yes you make 150+ miles a day, but you also have to listen to the engine. The nice aspect is that we took no waves or spray over the bow. The sea had a gentle roll of 2-3 feet maybe 10 seconds and the winds never changed for over a day. Then on day two, as forecasted, the wind shifted in a matter of minutes and built to a solid 10-12 knots. It was at this time we finally killed the engine and sailed about 6 hours into sunset and on into the night until around midnight when we turned towards Samana.

Hayden raises the DR flag
There we pulled into the harbor and dropped the hook and crashed. The next day we up anchored at 0630 to get out of the harbor and move around to the marina where we could check into the country properly. Checking in took about 1-2 hours with paperwork and boat inspections and re-tying the dock lines to keep the boat off the fixed concrete docks. We were thrilled to lower the yellow Q flag and raise the DR flag. Right after that, we crashed at around noon. When we got up and walked off the boat, we all felt like we were drunk as we had not been on land for nearly 3 days. Our balance was whacked and we almost fell off the dock just trying to walk off the finger pier. But a few happy hour drinks by the pool and some great times with out team of six made the evening a blast.

Radeen gets to land and is wobbly

This marina is part of a five star resort with a hotel and condos overlooking the harbor that sell for $300K to $500K. There are comfortable sofas and lounges over looking the marina docks. This is really an amazing place and at a fantastic price. Look at this photo below, this is the lobby overlooking our dock. Beautiful setting!

Marina lobby overlooking our dock


These are real tropical rain forest leaves

Then there is the infinity pool that curves gracefully at the water's edge with a cafe and bar just off the pool deck. The staff is like any good all inclusive resort, very attentive and always there to offer you a drink and make you feel at home. We are swimming in this pool every day, it is simply too beautiful.

Our facilities tour and we discover the pool



Our passage to the DR was so calm and so easy, we simply motor sailed 80% of the trip in 5-8 knots of east winds. Then on the second day the wind came up and shifted and we sailed nearly the rest of the way into the country. Look at this sunrise photo on the day we departed Turks and Caicos.



One of the things we learned is that there are shallow banks that you need to pay attention to out here in the middle of the ocean. We are in thousands of feet of water and then there comes a sand bar island....oh....that is Big Sand Key. Well, who put that in our way? Go around that. Then south of that you have the Mouchoir Bank that rises up from 14,000 feet deeo up to 50 feet and yup, it has a ROCK that you can wreck you boat onto. So, find that and divert around that as well. Look at these chart images and you will see these features.

The shallow banks

TherMouchoir Bank

Oh, look a ROCK on the Mouchoir bank! YIKES!

When running at night, full speed ahead is always stressful and you really have to trust your radar system. That is why we think radar is number one at sea at night. It is the only tool that will tell you there is nothing in front of you that is solid, on the surface, that you could hit. So, you keep scanning, looking and you press on full speed into the blackness. This really takes some time to get comfortable with, but once you are, it actually is easier to be at sea at night that it is at day. There is simply nothing to see, so you just look at your radar screen. Here below is the view from the helm at night looking forward.

The view from the helm at night

Then the sun rises and all seems fresh and new again. Put on the coffee, make some breakfast, wake up and refresh, the day is starting and your ship is pressing onward. Day after day after day and you eventually reach the destination. This was our sunrise on day two.





With all the motoring and the long distance, we decided to pour in three more jugs of fuel just to keep the tank more full than empty. Our tank's motoring range is about 350 nm and this was only 250 nm so we were in no danger of running out. So, in this calm sea we easily could pour the fuel into the deck fill as there was no seawater running down the deck. Here is Hayden adding fuel.







Finally, LAND HO....there were the Dominican Republic mountains under our jib as we sailed into the new winds that finally arrived. This was a sight we have never seen, tropical tall mountains under our own sails as we arrived from sea. We have sailed in Blue Hill Bay, Acadia Maine but even that does not look like this. This is tropical and it felt very cool.




Welcome to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Bahia Marina.....


Don and Meloney one of the infinity pools
Radeen and Meloney



WHAT? Radeen with a celebratory adult beverage at the pool

Radeen, Lauren and Meloney in the pool



Here are the buddies we are running with. Bill and Lauren on Grand Banks 42 long range cruiser SEA STAR and Don and Melanie on a Lagoon 38 Catamaran FEZYWIG. Very fun people!




Tomorrow, we will tour the local town of Samana by local bus. The next day, we will drive a van 3 hours to the south shore to tour Santa Domingo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Dominican Republic is a very interesting island to discover!

4 comments:

Greg K said...

Kudos for a safe passage and a new country on the list.
Your new digs look really beautiful. Great photos of the pool.
Remember - the hardest part is leaving the dock and those prices will make it even harder.... but new experiences await you.

Lots of people talk... you guys DO!

Party on!

T Knox said...

Five star marina;inexpensive;NO schedule.!!!!!The three most important ingredients in Paradise cake.Add the icing of sweet companions and you get to have your cake AND eat it to.You have given us a destination for our coming cruise.Thank you both for taking the time to share this.

Carol said...

Thanks for your log entries - you make it so real with radar and chart overlays - and warnings of rocks appearing out of the deep ocean!!!(like the nasty rock off Fisher Bay on Great Guana, Abacos - only not after a couple of days at sea)
Can't wait for your Santo Domingo stories on the south side of the DR.
Love to you both from Gusto!!!

DandD said...

Great blog post. Look forward to hearing about the land tour too. Feel like we're right there with you. Nice details.