Saturday, April 6, 2019

Puerto Rico to Dominican Republic

Mona Passage

The Mona Passage is the narrow piece of the Caribbean Sea between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and has a reputation for being a treacherous piece of the ocean. We were fortunate to find ourselves ready to cross on a benign day.  We had light winds of 10-15, but still a 5 ft swell.  I could see how this area could become nasty in bad weather.  The wind was dead behind us, so we motor-sailed the entire 72 miles.  Not the most fun, but we did get across in daylight - which is always a good thing!

Marina Cap Cana 

We hailed the marina and were given a slip assignment.  As we arrived, the DR Navy representatives were already waiting for us to check in.  Soon the other myriad of officials arrived - department or sanitation, department of agriculture, immigration, etc.  We had heard stories about this - very much like our trips to Cuba.  And often the officials expect a "gift" or "donation".  However, none was mentioned and everything went smoothly.  Soon papers were stamped, we shook hands and politely thanked them all - oh they did confiscate our oranges and a pineapple.  We forgot we had some fruit on board.
The marina was not quite what I was expecting - kind of a large development of condos around a series of canals and basins that for the marina.  The place has something of a Venetian feel, with an area of restaurants, condos, and a hotel.  We decided to stay a couple of nights and relax a little.  We did not venture outside of the development here as we were told that it was a $30 taxi ride each way with not much to see.  However there were numerous nice restaurants within the development, pools, bars etc.

After 2 nights, we ventured on to Samana.


Samana is a town and a very large deep bay, knows as a breeding ground (or was it birthing ground) for whales.  The season being January to March 30.  It was March 31 - would they have al been give their despachio and left? :)

We got a brief glimpse of one large humpback whale on the way into Samana Bay - but too quick for the camera.  It was large!!  and about 100 yds from the boat.  Yikes!  hope they know whats around them.

We arrived late in Samana - just after dark and could not raise the marina, so we anchored in a small bay off the town of Samana.  Hmmm......sketchy place, it took 5 tries to get the anchor to catch.  Seems like a rock base to the anchorage and many small tour boats on moorings.  Finally we got a hold and stayed the night but decided to move on to the marina the next morning.

The marina was nice - a little pricey for the DR, but that was ok.  We stayed 2 nights and enjoyed their pool.  Also took a car rental and visited El Limon (waterfall) and Las Terrenas - a touristy beach town of ex-pats.  

The marina staff were very helpful..  The check-in process is a bit like Cuba - you need a despachio for each stop in the DR, which is a bit laborious.

But nonetheless, the marina was very nice!

The next morning we moved on to the National Park known as Los Haitises.  Now that was beautiful and worth a visit!

Absolutely gorgeous scenery, with a shorelines of caves and riverlets to explore in mangroves an with steep rock faces.  I understand parts of Jurassic Park were filmed here.........and I was waiting for the velociraptors to appear!

This was worth the stop in the DR......I would love to come back and explore some more!


Our next stop was Luperon.  I have heard cruisers rave about Luperon, but some reviews on Active Captain were not too great.  I am not sure what we were expecting.......but, hmmm.  There are some places that cruisers seem to congregate for differing reasons.  Cheap prices - always a bonus, and tht is Luperon for sure!  $2 mooring fee; you can get a meal for $3-5.  Poverty here is high, but the people are friendly.  Quite a few semi-derelict boats in the mooring field - some look abandonned.

I will not pass judgement, but we decided it was not a place we wanted to stay too long.  To me, its a bit of a "Boot Key" feel, with much cheaper prices.
Main Street - Luperon

Papo and Handy Andy seem to run the mooring field and will do anything for you - from boat work to grocery delivery.  In fact, handy Andy brought beer for us!

Mooring Field - Luperon

Mooring Field - Luperon

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