Flying with a dog is difficult and even with the proper paperwork, once landed, additional questions about which hotels accept dogs and are clean, where to leave the dog while taking care of many errands or appointments, makes travel and use of time a bit more complicated.
This year we have had to leave Captain behind three times and twice were for extended trips. Finding a place where Captain can be well cared for, get some attention and a decent amount of exercise, has been a challenge but the effort has been worthwhile.
I thought some pet owners might find it useful to know how we have managed this year, so here is the rundown for our three trips.
In May, Frank and I were in the Dominican Republic and we had a visit to Florida planned. We would leave together, conduct our meetings over the course of five days, then I would fly back to the DR and Frank would leave for his Atlantic crossing.
For this trip, we hired a delightful guy named Nelson who works at the Samana Marina. Captain remained on LIB, Nelson came by to feed and walk Cappy twice a day and Cap was able to be ‘at home’ while we were away.
Also, our dock neighbors, Andre and Josee, were simply awesome and kept an eye out for Captain. They decided Captain needed more activity, so when they walked their dog, Roxy, they brought Captain along.
How awesome is that?!!!
The second trip we took was from Puerto Rico and we planned to be traveling to multiple locations over a three week period. Fortunately I looked up rover.com, a U.S. internet based company where you enter your zip code and the bios for pet sitters near your location pop up.
It is through rover.com that I found Natalia, who took excellent care of Captain. Natalia’s home was very well set up for dogs and she really loved Cappy.
Natalia has two dogs for Cappy to play with and daily walks were a given. While Cappy was with Natalia, Hurricane Irma was heading toward PR and Natalia was very communicative about her plans should evacuation become necessary.
We were extremely happy with Natalia’s care for Captain and had planned on leaving Cap with her again for our October trip to the States, but our escape from Hurricane Maria rendered that impossible.
Our final trip this year we had to scramble and find last minute accommodations for Captain in Aruba!
Fortunately we found the Dog Hotel Aruba where a young couple boards dogs in their yard. Rose and her husband are clearly dog lovers and assured me they would take great care of Captain.
The Dog Hotel Aruba has several kennels and two large fenced areas on site. The dogs are outside pretty much all day and large dogs are separated from small dogs. The dogs are also taken to the beach to swim once or twice a week. Not a bad way for Captain to spend her time when we have to be away.
I consider each of the dog stays successful though obviously very different. I think Captain was most comfortable when she stayed on the boat and was at home in our absence. I am sure in that situation Captain felt the least ‘abandoned ‘ but she was probably a bit lonely. Still, this is similar to dogs who stay home while their owners are away.
Staying with Natalia was where I think Captain received the most amount of human attention and love. This was a very good fit for Captain and us. Plus it was easy to find a sitter with good reviews and paying online was convenient.
The dog hotel in Aruba was a good find. I doubt this is Cappy’s favorite stay because she usually prefers to be with people more than dogs. But like a child who has to play with others, this is probably a good experience for Captain.
Even though finding a place to leave our dog takes a little time, so far it has worked out well for us. Plus, there is the added comfort of being able to receive pictures and updates to make sure our furry loved one is doing well.
I acknowledge that we have been fortunate in finding great options for Captain, but I still feel a little guilty leaving her behind. I have really enjoyed our travels and visits with friends and family but I am glad we don’t have any other time off the boat planned for a while!
And I am confident Captain will agree completely when we get back and I tell her.
Thanks a bunch for stopping by. Please share your thoughts on pet care while away from home.
A bird’s eye view of Marina Puerto Bahia
While Frank was sailing across the Atlantic between Bermuda and Spain on a different boat, I hung out on Let It Be with Captain in Marina Puerto Bahia, DR. While I enjoy time to myself, three weeks was a bit long and I was super happy when my friend, Anneva, decided to make an impromptu visit.
After picking Anneva up in at the airport on the southern side of the Dominican Republic, we drove back to Samana on the northern shore. After an uneventful flight, Anneva had the chance to experience DR driving. Driving in the DR is interesting because there are so, so many motorcycles and people pass each other without much regard for conventional passing rules. SO you are driving uphill and the road turns so much that you can’t see what is coming…. perfect time to pass!
Thankfully the drive was also uneventful, but I wouldn’t call it relaxed.
Anneva relaxing in the Puerto Bahia pool.
However, we did manage to relax once we returned to the marina. Captain loved having Anneva here because Anneva is really good at morning scratches or afternoon ones or evening ones! Cappy loved all the walks and attention.
The walks are often shady but it is still hot and humid
The first day of Anneva’s stay, we hung out around the marina, took a few walks, chilled by the pool and generally gabbed the day away as we caught up on the many months since we last visited in person.
We spent one day exploring Las Terranas, a town about 30 minutes away with many shops, restaurants and beaches.
How beautiful is this?
Our first stop was the beach above and we decided just to park ourselves here for the day! We were not at all interested in shopping, we had comfy beach chairs and most of the beach to ourselves, so we decided we couldn’t do much better. Plus we had more catching up to do!
Anneva looks like she might take this boat for a spin.
A DR beach day isn’t complete without a vendor or two trying to sell us something. Anneva just couldn’t resist this terra cotta frog which we were told is “an ancient Taino Indian artifact.” The gentleman assured us that he had dug up this frog and showed us the bottom surface which had a circular pattern carved into it. He told us the Tainos would have placed the frog in a fire, then used bottom surface to brand or tattoo. We aren’t sure if he meant brand their animals or tattoo people. Either way, the story was too good to pass up the trinket even if we don’t believe for a minute that it is authentic.
Of course all of this conversation took place in Spanish, so who knows what the real story was and exactly what our vendor was trying to say!
Strolling along the beach.
Our dock neighbors, Andre and Josee, graciously offered to show Anneva and me some of their favorite places, so we took off in our rental car and spent a fabulous day exploring.
I sound like a total ditz but I cannot tell you exactly where these pictures were taken because I was busy driving and watching the motorcycles. (Frank and I have dubbed the motorcycles here “mosquitos” because they are a bit pest-like and numerous.)
First stop was fresh, local bread cooked over this open flame!
Andre knows a lot of great places to buy local fruits or veggies and some great restaurants. We had barely begun driving when he told us to stop at a road side house where we would buy fresh bread. Lloila, the lady in this picture, bakes bread in her home right on the street, over the open flame in the picture. This flat bread was a little sweet and unlike any I have tried before.
Now that we wouldn’t starve, ha, we proceeded to a blow hole along the coast. The contrast between the lush greens, the rock sea wall and the blue water was beautiful.
A low pitched rumble accompanied the gush of water through the blow hole.
We drove along the coast through some very small towns and stopped at pretty beaches just for the views. But it wasn’t too long before Andre and Josee had us stop at a bar/eco center so we could buy a drink and enjoy another view.
We walked past chicken coups and vegetable plants along a shaded walkway.
Until we came to this stunning little bar/cafe!
But we only stayed here long enough to buy water and soak in the beauty because Andre had a special lunch spot in mind.
Choosing fish for our lunch.
We stopped at yet another beach where Andre and Josee assured us the lunch was typical DR and freshly caught. As soon as we arrived, we picked out “our fish” then went to swim in the ocean for 30 or 45 minutes while lunch was prepared.
A little Presidente to complement the fish, rice and plantains.
Neither Anneva nor myself are huge fish eaters and we were a little hesitant when it was served as a complete fish – head, tail, eyes and all! Once we got past having our lunch stare back at us, it was very good.
The remainder of the day was spent moving from one beautiful lookout stop to another. Although Andre did have us drive through some pretty questionable roads where Anneva and I thought the car might disappear into the potholes!
El Monte Azule was closed but we still enjoyed the view.
At one especially narrow and potted road, we decided to park the car and walk up the hill to El Monte Azule which Andre told us had a gorgeous 360 degree view that included both the Atlantic Ocean and Samana Bay. The walk was steep and hot but we were game. Unfortunately the restaurant was closed so we couldn’t see the total 360 view but we still thought what we could see was worth the effort.
Josee and Andre at Monte Azule
After walking back to our car and driving between potholes, we headed back toward Puerto Bahia. We had an excellent day with Josee and Andre and saw many places we would never have found on our own!
Thank you SO much Josee and André for a really wonderful day!
Unfortunately Anneva only had a couple of days to stay in the DR, so the next day we drove back to the southern coast and spent the afternoon in Santa Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. (Here is a post about Santa Domingo.)
I am so thankful that Anneva was willing to fly to the DR and hang out with me. Although her visit went much too quickly, she broke up the isolation of my time alone on LIB and it was absolutely fabulous to spent time with her! Thanks Anneva!!!
Map taken from the internet
Like the childhood fears in the Wizard of Oz, The Mona Passage looms large in the minds of sailors who are moving east, and we had heard enough stories that we approached it with slight trepidation.
As soon as Frank returned from his crossing of the Atlantic Ocean on an Outremer 5X catamaran, we began looking for a weather window to move from Marina Puerto Bahia, on the Samana Peninsula, DR to Puerto Rico. The trade winds are easterly and we would be moving directly into them across a passage that is well known for its’ consistent winds and waves, The Mona Passage. But the move had to be made and we were anxious to go. Not because we were tired of the Dominican Republic, but because we needed to move on in preparation of hurricane season.
Fortunately, just days after Frank’s return, a window appeared and we decided to sail. Now, understand, this window was by no means perfect but there is rarely a perfect weather window for the Mona Passage, especially during this time of year.
Let It Be is usually in great shape, but we had a few glitches arise before departing that we decided to live with until we arrived in PR. The biggest issue is that our anemometer is not working so we do not have any readings of the wind speed or wind direction from the top of our mast.
But hey, we have some experience with estimating wind speeds (thank you kiteboarding) so we were willing to go without that instrument.
Next up is our IridiumGo! For some reason it is showing our position, but it is not delivering internet so we would not have updated weather reports. Still, the Mona is only about a day and a half passage. We would make do and get the Iridium repaired in PR.
Per the recommendation of Van Sant’s book, “Passages South, The Thornless Path,” we chose to leave in the late afternoon Sunday and make this a night, day, night passage.
Well the Mona lived up to her reputaion of sloppy seas and strong easterly winds. We departed from Puerto Bahia around 5 pm and all was well until darkness fell and I began feeling less than chipper. I took the first watch. Unfortunately mine was a short watch since I didn’t feel great. But, as usual, Frank stepped up and took the helm until I could get some rest and find my rhythm.
We had a couple of surprises during our trip. One was that our navigation lights were not working!? But we have a tri-colored light at the top of the mast and allowed that to be our beacon.
I took over the watch around 5 am after we had turned away from the Dominican Republic shore and took a northeastern tack to have a better wind angle. We raised the main and jib as the sun rose and Frank headed below for some much needed rest.
We were happily moving along our predicted route; Frank was asleep and I was just settling in to listen to an audio book when BOOM…. EVERYTHING started flapping. The attachment ring of the jib clew pulled completely out of our sail! That was quite a wake up call! (This attachment holds the bottom rear corner of the front sail down to the deck.)
The clew of our jib without an attachment point.
I pulled in the jib as quickly as I could and made sure the sheets were well secured, then alerted Frank to the problem. We decided to continue our predetermined path and leave the main sail up. Unfortunately our speed over ground immediately dropped from about 7.5 knots to about 5.5 knots…. Our trip just became much longer!
A ring without a function
Still, this was not a life threatening issue but it does change the motion of the boat to something a little less pleasant. We work very hard to make sure LIB is in excellent condition and it is unusual for us to feel like we are “limping along.”
Thankfully, that was the last mishap we had during our crossing. The seas were not friendly but we would estimate that the winds were not more than 20 knots, so actually we were pretty fortunate.
Because of our slower than expected progress, we did not reach our intended first harbor of Boqueron but instead slowly entered Puerto Rico at Mayaguez around 9 pm on Monday evening. Mayaguez is a wide open anchorage and we felt comfortable entering after dark, a practice we avoid 99.5 percent of the time.
We have been exceedingly happy with our North 3Di sails and we had excellent service and help from Andrew Dove, Antigua North Sails, during our purchase process. So after we had a good night of sleep, Frank contacted Andrew about our jib issue.
Andrew was amazingly quick in responding to Frank’s email and he was very apologetic about our jib issue. Andrew has assured us that North Sails will repair our sail at their cost including having the sail shipped to and from a nearby loft to make sure the repairs are performed perfectly.
Based on our buying experience and the excellent service we received, we are not at all surprise that North Sails is stepping up to help us. But it is very nice to have it happen so quickly and easily.
Anchored off the beach at Boqueron, Puerto Rico
So now we are back in Puerto Rico and exploring the southern shore as we work our way eastward toward Palmas del Mar. It feels good to be in a U.S. Territory as we approach the July 4th Holiday.
And it feels really good to have the Mona Passage behind us.
Lush growth and conical hills of Los Haitises.
From our slip in Puerto Bahia Marina, I can see the other side of Samana Bay where the Haitises National Park resides. The park, established in 1976, was originally 80 square miles but was expanded to 319 square miles in 1996. Los Haitises has very little road access and includes a protected virgin forest and home to a variety of birds. The park is a fairly popular spot for ecotourism and the number of visitor each year is supposedly limited, although we did not have any trouble getting permission to take LIB across the bay for a visit.
Birds in the air and in the trees.
Laurie and Ken of s/v Mauna Kea and Laura and Chris of s/v Temerity agreed to join us on LIB and head across the bay for an overnight visit to Los Haitises. Ken and Laurie had already visited once so they were our resident experts for the trip.
Laura and Laurie relaxing on the trampoline.
After a relaxing sail across Samana Bay, we anchored near an inlet that Ken told us led to a large ecolodge with beautiful surroundings and fair vittles. Once anchored, we hopped into the dinghy and motored through one of the most beautiful creeks we have explored to date.
I wish I could share the sounds with you as well!
While the water was not the gin clear color we experienced in the Bahamas, the overhanging trees and lush surroundings were breathtaking.
Village Weaver nests.
Nestled among many branches were groups of round bird nests. I later learned that these nests are woven from leaves by the males of the “Village Weaver” species (Ploceus cucullatus). The males weave a nest in the hope that a female will come along, appreciate his handiwork and choose him as a mate. Once she chooses her mate, the female lays 4-6 small blue-green eggs. Village Weavers are not indigenous to the Dominican Republic but rather were brought from Africa on slave ships around 1796. Originally the birds were only found in Los Haitises but recently some have been seen in the capital of Santa Domingo.
This looks more triangular than round… wonder if some female found it exciting?
A short walk past horses, cows, chickens and other livestock roaming in fields was the promised ecolodge. I am not sure what qualifies this as an ecolodge, but I can tell you it is beautiful. We had to pay a small fee per person to enter the grounds and this allowed us to explore the area, have lunch and get in the water. Pictures will do far more justice than my words…
A water feature at the entrance to the lodge.
The sound of waterfalls added to the ambiance of lunch.
Los Haitises has an average annual rainfall of 79 inches. In contrast, Dallas, TX has an annual rainfall of 37 inches. I believe all of the water features are fed from fresh water mountain springs and runoff.
The stonework reminded me of WPA projects from the 1930s.
Laura speaks Spanish very well and struck up a conversation with the gentleman in charge of construction of a new hotel being completed as part of the lodge. All number of US agencies would have slapped fines on the builder for showing us around the construction site but we were thrilled to have a first hand view and he was equally pleased to show off the hotel.
Numerous rooms and additional water features for the lodge.
I must admit that the way these accommodations have been incorporated into the hillside and how the rooms include natural features of the land is truly remarkable. We toured for about 40 minutes and were allowed to see every room and planned space.
Stairways that seem to belong within the hillside.
Use of indigenous materials made the hotel feel more like it “belongs” here.
The view from the upper rooms.
In the picture above, the left side shows a water feature and to the right, the bare areas are the future home of a PuttPutt course. I’m not sure how that fits into an ecolodge but I am sure it will be well liked by visitors.
The construction tour was truly a treat made even more delicious because we knew back home laws would have prevented us from having strolling through this construction site.
Next up was a visit to the caves used by the Tiano Indians way back before Columbus landed! There are two areas for viewing caves on Los Haitises; one is very obvious and is actually a little lame compared to the cave tour we had back in Thompson Bay. But the second option is to hire a local guide who takes you to a more remote cave. Our guide rode in the dinghy and took us through a meandering creek where we stopped at a nicely built wooden dock. From there a quick walk along a path through dense trees led us to a cave used more than 500 years ago by the Tiano Indians.
I just liked the light in this picture.
I was not supposed to take pictures of the hieroglyphics painted by the Tianos and I honored that request. The images were painted with sap from a local tree and the only color used was black. Still, it is interesting to see the “recordings” these people left behind.
Hard to believe all this light is in the caves.
Somehow this makes me think of the resurrection of Jesus.
We were told that the Tianos used the caves to hide and escape from Columbus. Legend has it that they had a few entrances to the caves and the Tianos walked backwards from various directions to confuse their trails, then they escaped through a hidden opening. Very clever!
Looking out from the first caves.
A special thank you to Ken and Laurie who decided to skip the second cave and held on to Captain so I could explore the cave.
Once the cave tour was completed, we motored back to Puerto Bahia as the wind was in our faces. The trip to Los Haitises was quick but it was also interesting and fun to share with friends.
A peaceful bend in the creek leading to the Tiano Caves.
As always, thank you for stopping by to read our blog. If you want to see what we are up to more often, check out our FB page: Let It Be, Helia 44. We would love to hear from you.
Well Hunter has flown back to the States, so once again I am away from my sons. It is always so hard to say goodbye, but I am fortunate that my children are self sufficient and making their own ways in life. So maybe I shed a few tears, but I have no complaints.
The open air lobby at Marina Bahia.
LIB has been in Marina Bahia in Samana Bay, Dominican Republic this week. I have to say, this marina is very nice! The people are friendly and happy and the facilities are great. It feels pretty upscale yet the fees are very reasonable.
Our friends on s/v Mauna Kea and s/v Temerity are in this marina as well, so we have gathered for cocktails and pizza a few times in the lobby, then met in the gym to work off the calories. We are all waiting for a good weather window to cross to Puerto Rico, but this is such a comfortable place that we are not in a big hurry.
These pretty buildings in Las Terrenas back up to the beach.
Hunter, Frank and I explored Las Terrenas, a town about 45 minutes away by car. Las Terrenas, with a population of about 40,000, is a visual blend of tourist and local areas. There are not any apparent building or zoning restrictions in the DR like you would find in the U.S., so streets often switch between clean and well maintained to much less so.
A board walk along one of several beaches in Las Terrenas.
Although this is a fairly popular area for kite boarding, the wind was insufficient for us to ride. Instead we strolled along the streets absorbing the ambiance of the area, which was aided by Hunter’s ability to communicate and read in Spanish.
Lunch in Las Terrenas
The weather was overcast and mild so we found an outdoor spot for lunch. The owner was originally from Spain and Hunter was able to order some of the foods he ate routinely while living there this past year. It was pretty neat to get to taste some of the food he loved while living abroad.
Frank has decided that having his hair cut in random places by unknown barbers is part of the adventure of cruising life, so we were on the search for a hairstylist in Las Terrenas.
I love the name of the shop.
We hit the jackpot with La Matematica De Dios, the mathematician of God? Not only was the haircut meticulous, the location was quite unique…
Frank and Hunter up on the roof where the barber shop is located.
The international airport on the DR is near the capital city of Santa Domingo. Santa Domingo is the first city of the Americas and the third stop for Christopher Columbus. Since we were going to take Hunter to the airport, we decided to go a few days early and learn a bit about the history of Santa Domingo.
A typical street in Zona Colonial.
You might remember that we took our own self-guided tour of Charleston, NC way back on the ICW and “Tour Guide, Frank” decided to stop at a brewery after only three stops on our tour. Well we decided to self guide again in Santa Domingo, but there just wasn’t enough information available on the web to learn much. We ended up hiring a private guide named Juan Sanchez who took us on a walking tour of the old city of Santa Domingo. Juan actually does tours for the US Embassy in Santa Domingo and he really knows his history. If you have the opportunity to hire a guide, I strongly recommend Juan.
Zona Colonial is the oldest city of the New World and many building remain. The influence of the Catholic Church is visible because many of the old city buildings related to the church. Juan told us that even today the majority of the Santa Domingo’s 4 million residents are Catholic.
Franciscan Monastery built around 1508.
Notice the rope design above the door to the left in the picture above. This rope was symbolic of the rope used to tie the waist of a Franciscan Priest’s tunic and identified the building as belonging to a religious order. If you look in Zona Colonial, you will find other buildings with the same rope design above the door.
The ruins of a private chapel.
It was a fairly common practice in the 1500s for wealthy families to have private chapels and perhaps even their own priest. Even before Juan told us this had been a private chapel, it was easily identifiable as a church by it’s three bells on top.
Each candle holder is the shape of a kneeling priest.
There is a stunning building in Zona Colonial called the National Pantheon that was originally a Jesuit Church constructed between 1714- 1746. The building has a varied history but today it is a national symbol for the Dominican Republic and houses the remains of the countries most honored citizens.
A view from the highest point of Ozama Fortress.
Construction of Ozama Fortress began in 1502 and is the oldest military fortress in the Americas. The castle, built to protect the City of Santa Domingo, faces the Ozama River after which it was named.
Town Hall, another first in the Americas.
This pretty building, built in the early 1500s was remodeled in the early 1900s to restore it’s original elegance. The ironwork and plants give it a Spanish or European flair.
These pictures represent only a fraction of the historic buildings in the old city. To my grave disappointment, we were unable to tour the Basilica Cathedral of Saint Maria la Menor because I was wearing shorts. Ladies must wear a skirt or long pants to enter the cathedral. The Basilica was commissioned by Pope Julius II in 1504 and Mass is still celebrated daily! I am certain we will visit the DR again and I will NOT miss Mass the next time we visit.
Ojo, Spanish for eye or hole.
After a thorough tour of the old city, Juan drove us to Three Caves, Los Tres Ojos, a natural and beautiful area right in the middle of the city! The Taino Indians, who were the first inhabitants of Hispaniola, lived in these caves although I did not see any information about their history or lifestyle.
Refrigerator Lake was not really cold.
In actuality, there are four lakes in the area but only three have names: Sulphur, Ladies and Refrigerator. “Ladies Lake” received that name because only ladies were allowed to swim there, but I don’t know the reason for the other two names or why the fourth lake isn’t named. Juan remembers swimming in the lakes up until the mid 1970s when swimming was prohibited.
Guides pull the boats along with ropes to visit the fourth ojo.
Los Ojos are truly beautiful and I could imagine all sorts of long ago scenarios with Taino Indians living here or kids sneaking away for a swim to escape the heat or perhaps young lovers meeting in secret!
I would need a wide angle to get the whole building!
Our final stop with Juan was the Columbus Light House erected in 1992 to honor the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival. This was a huge structure, built in the shape of a cross.
The remains of Columbus are in this mausoleum.
In addition to being the resting place for Columbus, the lighthouse is a museum which houses display rooms for each country that donated to the building. The exhibits are well done and as varied as the countries represented. I could easily have spent several hours here instead of the 90 minutes we stayed. (I am embarrassed to report that there is not a display for the U.S. because we did not contribute.)
Juan told us the lighthouse is only lit for special occasions, but when it is, the light forms the shape of a cross. I would have liked to see that shining in the night sky!
The courtyard at Dona Elvira Hotel
After a very long and informative day, we headed back to our hotel and enjoyed sitting in the courtyard outside of our room. We covered a lot of territory in just two days!
Sunday morning we drove Hunter to the airport so he could fly back to The States. I am very lucky to have had my sons visit us together and to have Hunter stay a bit longer. I’m incredibly thankful that they are willing to travel to varied destinations to visit “home.”
As always, thank you for visiting our blog. If you are interested in seeing more of our everyday activities, please visit our FB page: Let It Be, Helia 44
This is as close as I got to a “family photo.”
Considering there are only four in our family, we sure cover a lot of the globe! Our eldest son, Hunter, has been living in Spain for a year. Our youngest, Clayton, has been living in California and traveling any weekend he can manage to be away from work. We, of course, have been moving about on LIB.
As a result of being far apart, it is rare for all of us to be together; but when we are, we have a great time and we get along very well. In fact, although we are miles apart physically, we are a very close family and we miss being together.
So obviously, the apples didn’t fall far from the travel tree and being active is another trait the kids have inherited from us. That means that when we are together, we generally stay very busy. This visit to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, was no exception. Although Hunter and Clayton dislike my posting pictures, and I catch grief when I post a photo of them on any social media, I’m posting these pictures anyway. Here is a glimpse into the week Clayton and Hunter were with us and the following week while Hunter was still on board.
Returning from a kite trip.
Hunter and Frank launching a kite from LIB.
Clayton and Captain off to explore a bit.
One of the pretty beaches we found while exploring Provo.
It seems like after I had moved away from my parents home, anytime I would return to visit, the absolute feeling of “home” and being completely relaxed often translated into a nap on the couch. Apparently our kids feel the same tranquility when they are here. I was especially happy to see them feel so comfortable in our boat since that is now our “home.”
Nothing like a nap at your parents “house.”
I didn’t get a good picture, but Clayton went scuba diving with us off the western coast of Providenciales. This is the first time we were able to go diving with Clayton since he and Hunter were certified back in 2014. We saw a decent number of fish but it was not a particularly clear dive. Still it was good to explore with him. (Hunter had a sinus infection and couldn’t go.)
After Clayton flew back to California, we had an excellent weather window to go to the Dominican Republic. We thought it would be especially nice to be in the DR while Hunter was with us so he could act as our interpreter!
The passage was fabulous! We sailed most of the way with favorable winds and seas.
A visual display of just how comfortable the passage was to the DR.
The topography of the DR is completely different from the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos. The lush, mountainous land is a rich and an interesting change from what we have seen for the last five months.
A double rainbow met us at the entrance to Ocean World Marina.
Ocean World Marina
The name Ocean World made me think of an amusement park and indeed there is an amusement park right there at the marina. The marina was clean and the people were really nice, but to me it felt too much like being in a very developed area.
However, Ocean World was an excellent place to use for exploring and, with Hunter fluent in Spanish, we were able to communicate well with the locals and we really enjoyed having that extra insight into the people here.
Let’s go catch some waves!
Although there is a world renown kite beach called Cabarete here, the wind was not very cooperative. So Frank and Hunter went surfing and I walked the beach. Check out those super cool, rubber loafers Hunter rented from the surf guy!
Even along the beach there are many trees.
I enjoyed peaking into the trees and seeing the little areas where benches and huts were hidden. Many of the benches were made from discarded surf boards and other recycled items.
Colorful huts right near the beach.
Enjoying an afternoon snack along the beach.
The area where we surfed was pretty sparse with the huts and surf rental huts built under the trees, but we also found beaches that totally catered to tourists. Even though it was nice to have plenty of options for drinks and snacks along the touristy beach, vendors approached often trying to sell us jewelry or cigars or pralines or lunch, etc. They weren’t offensive, but it makes me uncomfortable to say no. I could do without so many people asking me to buy things.
Fortunately the wind did kick in one day and Hunter and Frank went to Cabarete to kite-board. They said the scene was great for kiting and that there were many really excellent local kiters. Cabarete was a crowded kite area and probably not the best place for beginners so I was glad I had chosen to stay at LIB and have some quiet time.
Hunter jumps from on of the falls.
Twenty-seven Falls is a must do event when visiting the northern part of the DR. We spent one afternoon hiking up a mountain, then sliding, jumping and swimming our way back down. This was a hugely fun day and I highly recommend it! A guide is required and I would not have wanted to try to do this without one. After all, we were jumping into pools of water and we would not have known their depth without a guide to help us.
In addition to getting a little exercise, the scenery was beautiful!
We look stunning in our protective gear!
Moving east along the northern coast of the Dominican Republic can be a challenge because of the easterly trade winds. We wanted to move east to Marina Bahia in Samana and the weather forecast showed that we had to move quickly or we would have to stay in Ocean World for another 7-10 days. There was definitely more to see near Ocean World, but we had to move.
Sunset at anchor near Rio San Juan.
The weather didn’t look great to head east, but we decided to make a run for it. This was not our best decision and after slogging in to the wind from 9:30 am to 4:40 pm, we decide to take refuge behind a mountain in near Rio San Juan. We had a little trouble finding a good anchor spot but managed to get settled by around 7 pm. We had a good dinner, then climbed in bed for a nap until midnight.
At midnight we upped anchor and again headed east. Our hope was that the winds would be less at night. Frank took the first watch and because it was so windy, he let me sleep until the winds settled – around 5 am!!!! Fortunately, after I took watch the wind fell and was below 10 knots the remainder of the trip.
Marina Bahia is beautiful!
We arrived at the Marina Bahia around 1:30 pm and it was a welcome sight. The trip was not horrible, but it wasn’t our best passage either. The trees surrounding this marina are thick and verdant and I practically expect monkeys or parrots among the branches!
Hunter kindly pointed out that during his 25th year, we only saw each other for a total of maybe three weeks. At least this year we had the chance to celebrate his 26t birthday while he was on LIB! Nothing like a homemade cake to remind you of your childhood.
Creative candles since I didn’t have 26 of them.
We have a few more days before Hunter leaves and we hope to spend a couple of nights in Santa Domingo with him. It is really hard to say goodbye to my kids but at least this time we have plans to see each other again pretty soon!
As always, thank you for visiting our blog! If you want to know what we are doing more often, feel free to visit our FB page: Let It Be, Helia 44.