We finished exploring the beautiful
Bahamas last week and set sail for the Dominican Republic. But, of course, the
weather did not cooperate and the trip was miserable.
Not only exhausting us but needing a lot of boat repairs upon arrival. So we went
through the process of checking into the country and got to work on our repairs
list starting with the most important the search for the old propeller and sealing
the boat leaks that had been made very obvious on the rough trip over. But we
also made an effort to see some of the local sights in between jobs including a
Carnival celebration! BIENVENIDO A REPUBLICA DOMINICANA! After arriving, checking in and starting
to dry out the disaster that had accumulated inside the boat while
sailing to Luperon, the boys set to work trying to discover why our boat did not
move when we put it into gear that morning to change moorings. Our GoPro
quickly answered the question: we had a missing propeller. Given we had motored in, attached to and tried to back down on the morning the night before, we assumed the propeller had to be nearby. And since the Luperon Harbour is not exactly
swimming pool clear, we hired the local guys and their interesting diving
setup to search for it. But it could not be found.
Luckily, however, back in Rhode Island we didn’t have time to sell the used
propeller that came with our boat plus we use it as a multi-purpose tool, so we
were traveling with a spare propeller. We dug it out of the cupboard and purchased
a nut and washer to fit our propeller shaft for only a few dollars.
The locals put it on for us but upon inspection with the GoPro the job did
not suffice and John had to jump in and fix it. He then proceeded to scour his
body to remove all traces of the dirty harbour before moving on to the next big
problem. It’s really freaky because the boat swings around in the shadows cast
in a weird way and then you think was that a shark, was that an alligator, was
that a big fish that’ll bite me, was it a giant poop that someone pumped out here?
None of these boats leave ever. Ever. Some of them have been here for 10 plus
months not moving.
Cally: guaranteed there is poop in this water… John: the amount of poop that
must be in here is, I mean you see it running down the street…
Cally: did you get inside your ears with that soap? John: I had ear plugs in.
Cally: still… So on our sail down from the Bahamas to
the Dominican Republic everything got soaking wet and we
believe that the main cause of the leaks was from the chainplates so what I’m
going to do today is attempt to reseat the chainplates. We’re in a nice calm
anchorage, the winds a little bit blowy but I think it should be okay. I’ve
loosened off the vertical shrouds and the D1’s and I’m gonna start by taking
out the D1 and properly reseating it. We’ve just been adding some glue to the
top, some sealant to the top, to try and prevent them from leaking but we’re
gonna do it properly because just everything gets so soaked on multiple
day sails, it just takes so long to dry everything out and it makes the house
unlivable so we’ll take them out and reseat them and hopefully prevent the
leaks! So I’ve popped up this chain plate and
what I’m gonna do is clean off this area here where it sits flush with the deck
and then once I’ve done that I’m going to key it up and acetone it and then
when I glue it we’ll glue this section to the deck so
fingers crossed no leaks! The boys celebrated after a few days
completing the bigger jobs on the boat and we got ready for our big day out the
John: we hired a car, going to Santiago the second biggest city in the Dominican
Republic. We need to fix some laptops and go do some exploring! And it only cost
us 1,500 pesos off 24 hours of car rental plus gas. That’s fine,
still cheap as chips.
Zak: well it’s not cheap as chips, chips are only 50 pesos!
John: we got Cally
in the driver’s seat so that we don’t die! Cally: where are we going to first, iFix?
John: no gas station!
Cally: gas station, right! Zak: how do you feel?
Cally: stressssssssed, okay there’s no
more cows! We arrived in Santiago to the only apple
dealer nearby in hopes of getting our water damaged laptops fixed. But after
waiting, explaining the problem, getting diagnostics done and waiting some more we were told that there was nothing they could do. We moved on to a big
provisioning trip since we’re in an affordable country with big-box stores
and then we drove the couple of hours home to unload and return the car
before dark and for John to attempt to do what Apple could not. But there was no such luck. As if the people of Luperon knew that we needed a pick me up while
we decided what to do about our broken laptops, the entire population seemed to
come out to celebrate carnival! John: so there is a serious risk of losing an eye to one of these whips! Feeling a little bit shabby today, carnival
last night then we went to the discotheque until three o’clock in the
morning and we were the whitest people in the club by far and I’m not sure the
Dominican people like the shapes that Australians and Kiwis throw down on the
D-floor but nevermind it was really fun we were the center of attention that’s
for sure! Not in a good way!
Cally and I just went
ashore, we got our despacho! Which means, which is the permission to leave basically.
We need to start making our way down to Samana and then across to the BVI’s after there. Finish off some
last minute jobs. We really need to start making like trees and getting out of
here! Be in Samana in about 4 days or so and
hopefully it’s better than the sail from Bahamas to here but we’ll just have to
see! We followed the advice in our book about
sailing in the Dominican and left Luperon late that evening. Sailing at night
was supposed to make the journey easier because each night when the sun goes
down and the temperature begins to drop the land loses heat much faster than the
ocean. This means that the air over the land cools faster than the air over the
sea. As we all know warm air rises so the warmer air over the ocean ascends. The
cooler air over the land rushes to the water to fill in the void that is left
behind. This creates an offshore breeze. This offshore breeze is made even
stronger by the nearby steep mountainous slopes on the water’s
edge due to gravity that accelerates the dense air rushing to the ocean. Ideally
these factors enable the offshore breeze from the south to overpower the trade
winds that blow from the east during the day and it gives sailors a chance to
sail east almost every night without having the wind on the nose. Well, our first night sail down the Dominican coast and conditions are better than I thought they’d be. We are doing lots of little tacks staying near land so its on the advice of a book. We haven’t really seen these full southerlies that the book predicts. I still feel like it is coming from the east. But the wave conditions and the wind strength and everything are better. So, happy to stay close to land with lots of little tacks to be comfortable. And yeah we have two people on deck at all times now, Zak is downstairs sleeping because we do so many little tacks like every 10, 15 or 20 minutes so its nice to have two people. So I’m sleeping just in the front of the cockpit and John is on the helm and when midnight rolls around I will go down and sleep and John can be the upstairs sleeper and Zak can be on the helm. Hopefully a bit more comfortable sail. We don’t know yet which anchorage we are going to make it to with so much tacking. But the trade winds were too strong to
be overpowered that night and so we spent the entire time tacking. By morning
we were only at Ocean World at Puerto Plata so we decided to pull into the
marina for the day and try again later that night to catch better winds. Plus
after checking into the harbour, a tedious Dominican task needing to be
done at every single anchorage, it was a great excuse to run into town to replace
our broken furling line for our jib. So we are going to the marina office to tell them that we are here,
our paper says we’re going to Sosua so hopefully they’re okay! And yeah we’ll
get the lay of the land, it looks like there’s a pool and a shower and they
said there’s like a half day rate since everybody here sails at night I
think probably it’s a common thing to show up at 5:00 in the morning and leave
it 5:00 at night – so we’ll see! We left the beautiful marina
that evening freshly showered and ready for another night of sailing.
Catch up with us next week as we continue our trip east along the Dominican coast. Anchoring at one of the most beautiful bays so far on the entire trip. We explore a
cute coastal town, jump on some motorbikes and John and I take a ride in
the back of a cop car.