Thursday, July 31, 2014

Isla Catalina, Casa de Campo and Isla Saona. March 2014

 

Dear friends,

We left Boca Chica in the afternoon, with a stiff breeze on the nose, but managed to get out the harbour and motorsailed towards La Romana. At day break, we were close to Isla Catalina, and decided to anchor out at this beautiful location.

Lucky for us there were no cruise ships so we wondered around the island and just enjoyed a sunny afternoon. The next day was almost without wind and before we went to Casa de Campo Marina, we stopped at the NE side of the Island as we were told it was good diving there.

Tied up on a mooring and geared up. We both came to the conclusion that once you have experienced diving in Bonaire, the next place needs to be really special and something different from the norm. This was not the case…. Actually on the shallow before arriving to the drop of the coral wall it appeared to be a dumping site for all kinds of rubbish. Such a pitty. Again, we can only hope that the local governments will help to educate and improving waste management.

On our way to Casa de Campo. Indeed a very posh and exclusive yacht club. Basically for high end motor yachts and certainly not geared up for sailing boats. During the manouvre in getting Onda Boa stern to, between two fingers the gear cable of the Starboard enginge broke so that was kind of complicated. Anyway managed to tie off, but was immediately told that I could not undertake any maintenance work whilst at the dock. With the help of a kind stranger, I arranged some sturdy wire and was able to repair the gear cable.

On the yacht club grounds is also a supermarket (high end prices as well), but ofcourse very convenient.

The next day we left early to go to Isla Saona. It was a marvelous short trip and arriving at the Island, mouthwatering scenes of pristine blue water, palm tree beaches, paradise in short.

This island is visited by hundreds of day trip guests from nearby resorts. Checked out the crowds and had a nice day. Mentally preparing for the so dreaded Mona Passage between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. On the north side of the DR and PR runs a tremendous deep trench and on the passage between the islands the depth are a couple of hundred meters. This, depending on the winds can create a savage sea (and current)… Hiho, of we go…

 

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Isla Catalina…. eye candy..                                               A day at the beach

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It is just too much                                                              The good life

 

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Isla Saona                                                          Just awesome

 

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Why not stay somewhat longer?                        Never enough

 

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   The captain                                     …and ready to flow…

 

Later

Pieter

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Boca Chica, Dominican Republic.March 2014

 

Dear friends,

After a quiet overnight sail(we did stop in Salinas, but was an uneventful stay, we took in fresh water, and used the internet connection of the only hotel in the bay) , we arrived in Boca Chica and decided to anchor at the Zarpar Marina. Tip top class out fit. Great and helpful staff. As the free cruising guide author Frank Virgintino has this as his base marina, he actually threw a great party for all cruisers at the marina. Great local food and drinks… a big thanks to Frank and his staff.

We endulged in going to a real supermarket, so that was awesome and restocked. We went and explored (using our bikes) the surroundings and found that here the population should educate themselves on proper waste management because garbage was flying around everywhere.

We also visited the capital Santo Domingo. We walked around a lot in the hussle and bussle of the town. Needed to get new fuel filters so that took us basically all day. We also visited a modern shopping… It was already dark, when we caught the bus back to Boca Chica. We were able to cram our selves in the last seats in the back of the bus. More passengers entered, and a funny situation occurred as two more rather heavy built guys, according to the instructions of the bus driver, were suppose to take seat next to me… except there wasn’t a seat available. Our friend insisted however, because the bus driver told him so. And so he tried to squeeze himself in, and as the first law of Sir Isaac Newton tells us… two bodies cannot occupy the same space… this wasn’t going to work. In fact I invited the guy to sit on my knee, but that was harsly denied, and all of sudden it turned into a rather tense discussion on race, color etc.. spiked by a drunk passenger as well. So, we were glad we arrived back in Boca Chica.

After months of not having seen a hair salon from the inside, it was Dora`s treat to go to hairdresser/nail salon… I used that time to bike around town and check out the location.

It was time to leave Boca Chica, and head for La Romana, Marina Casa de Campo.

 

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Zarpar Marina in Boca Chica..1st class                Designed and managed by a sailor.. Good stuff

 

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Franks Party                                     Zarpar Marina                     Happy Dora

 

Warm Regards,

Pieter

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Barahona, Dominican Republic. March 2014

 

 

Dear friends,

Motorsailing (with the main sail up and the engines) we managed to reach Barahona still during daylight. The only note worthy excitement was that a couple of miles before the entrance of the city/harbor a lot of small fishing boats. They were trying to catch fish in increadible depts, so I wasn’t expecting that, but was able to dodge them.

The anchorage in Barahona is rather funky, as it is actually in front of where the major cargo vessel take in cargo (in this case a swiss flagged cargo vessel loading sugar). We still had to do the official paper work clearing in red tape. Not to worry, they came to us… 5 in total, black boots and all. Now, we were on alert that they would ask for extra money. The official looking custom agent asked us the correct amount for checking in (Us$ 64), but then the Agricultural guy (?), the Marine guy, the anti drug guy and whatever other guy, they all demanded either Us$ 10 or US$20. We managed to not pay a few, but still were stuck with paying US$ 130 in total. It is so sad that this is happening in otherwise such a nice country. We were told that at official check out, an other Us$ 50 was going to be charged….

It was carnival in Barahona, and basically everything was closed. We managed to have a great lunch with wifi connection so that was fantastic.

The next day we set sail for Salinas, and Boca Chica.

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Approaching Barahona

Be happy

Pieter