Dreamtime in the D. R.

4/6/2006 through 4/16/2006
Dominican Republic - Well, after a nice break in Georgetown, Exuma,  the flotilla is heading
out on the first stage of the southerly trek - onward to the Dominican Republic.  The
main group is headed for Conception Island but we are heading south down through
Hog Cay Cut and along the west side of Long Island.  Our 4' draft allows us to use Hog
Cay Cut as a shortcut, whereas the others are headed NE into head seas.  We made the
Cut at high water and continued to sail southwards in between the Jumentos and Long
Island.  We tucked up for the evening about 2/3rds of the way down.

The next day we sailed on and headed out across the Crooked Island Passage - not!  
Squally day with short, steep seas convinced us to pack it in and hunker down at South
Point for the day.  The next morning the seas were much better so we headed over
towards Crooked Island and the Acklin's group.  The weather window just keeps getting
bigger as it is predicted to continue calming down, so we decided to continue across the
Mayaguana Passage and make for French Cay in the Turks & Caicos.  Finally had to drop
the main as conditions were flat and glassy
Click for an enlargement
At the northeastern corner of the DR is Samana Bay.  It is a beautiful and mysterious
looking bay, with a village that was settled by American slaves in the early Eighteen
Hundreds. Apparently eighty percent of the Humpback Whale population comes in the
winter to mate and vacation in Samana's off shore.

After spending the night, we head across the bay to the Parque Nacional los Haitises, a
small area on the southern shore of the bay.  The park has an extensive cave system that
was used by early residents and is fascinating to walk through.  It looks very primordial,
and apparently Jurassic Park was filmed there in part.

We give a shout on the VHF on the offhand chance that our friends Marlene and Benno
on
Diesel Duck might be near enough to hear us - we heard them on the SSB (in the AM)
saying they were headed to San Juan.  Sure enough, we made contact and they diverted
to Samana where they showed up at the park just in time for sundowners with us.
Might as well get the passage in the bag so onwards to Luperon, Dominican Republic.  
Arrived the next afternoon around 2PM and contrary to popular opinion (and due in no
small part to perfect, calm conditions), entering was no problem (unless you consider
the fact that the GPS chart plotter showed us heading onto land!  

Once we turned the corner into the harbor what do we see?  A Freedom 39' and yes,
it's
Attitudes with Shelley & Marno on board!  We spent much of last summer cruising
with them in New England after meeting them in Newport.  What a treat to see them
before they take off for the sail to the UK.
A glassy day on the Caicos Bank
A view of Luperon Harbor from the yacht club
We spent just over a week there, and were joined by Scott Free the day after we arrived -
they too had pushed on during the weather window.  Enjoyed a few visits into town, and
purchased a case of the 7 year old Columbus Rum - plus the obligatory cases of Presidente
beer!  Went in for the weekly flea market/book swap and ran into Bruce VanSant, who
signed a copy of the guide to the Spanish Virgin islands that we picked up.  Leaving at 5PM
Scott Free and Dreamtime decide to head out on an overnighter to Samana, about 90
miles.  We catch a fireworks display offshore of Puerta Plata - Cool.
Marno and Shelley over for dinner
Marno & Shelley - Live!
Samana lies tucked up in the corner of the bay
Heading back out into the main body of the bay
Marlene & Benno take inthe Park
Rock art at Parque Nacional Los Haitises
Tons of vegetation and lots of caves too
A short bit later that evening, 3 other cruiser boats lately from Luperon came in to join
us:  
Evening Star, Rock & Roll, and Rainbow Rider.

Easter Sunday morning dawned beautifully in the pristine surroundings - marred only by
all the styrofoam and plastic trash floating around... Ed got out in the dinghy and did a
big trash collection, what a guy!

We decided to take the trek up the river tributary to the Cano Hondo EcoResort for
lunch.  A big herd of dinghys and people going through the mangroves.  It was a
beautiful, rustic setting with lots of waterfalls and pools.  That evening
Dreamtime and
Rock & Roll decided to take off across the Mona Passage towards Puerto Rico... that story
is in the next log entry.
Parque National los Haitises caves
Diesel Duck Easter Sunday morning
Dinghy trek through the mangroves to Cano Hondo EcoResort
Cano Hondo EcoResort
The crews