Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Republica Dominica

A view of Storyville - I love our backyard!
We arrived in Luperon, Dominican Republic on May 27th. Our trip from South Caicos was a little less than 24 hours of smooth sailing / motor sailing. We had timed our crossing in order to arrive at the Luperon harbor in the early morning hours. What a thrill it was to watch the sun rise and see the mountains growing in the distance. We could smell the land as well as see it. It took a couple of hours of sailing before we could really comprehend the perspective of what we were seeing and just how big the mountains really are. The Dominican Republic is beautiful, mountainous, green and lush. It is absolutely gorgeous!

I was a little nervous about getting into the harbor since everything that we had read told us that it could be tricky, with a dangerous reef on one side and shallow sand and coral on the other. Troy wasn’t worried though, he figured that if we could navigate Double Bayou, then we could get into Luperon! All those sails to Double Bayou were definitely good practice. Especially learning to navigate without the aid of channel markers, which, not surprisingly, are missing here, just like back home at Double Bayou!

We made it into the harbor without any problems and were guided in further by a friendly cruiser that was showering on his deck that morning. He shouted directions to us so that we were able to avoid some of the shallow areas in the harbor. As we were slowly making our way around the boats that are moored here, we heard another shout, two locals in a panga (a small local boat) asking what we needed. We yelled back that we were looking for a mooring ball. We were happy to hear their reply “follow us”! That’s how we met Papo and Handy Andy. They are well known in the harbor and own several mooring balls. They deliver diesel, gas, town water, drinking water, whatever else the cruisers need. Within 30 minutes of our arrival, they had our diesel refilled and we paid for our mooring for the next 5 months. The cost was $50.00 per month for the mooring. Less than $2.00 per day, when all through the Bahamas and the rest of the Caribbean the cost is $20.00 to $25.00 per day!
Department of Agriculture in Luperon

After a short rest we were ready to check into the country. We dinghied over to the dock and took a short walk to the edge of town where the check in process began. It has been quite a while since we have used any Spanish and we were feeling a little lost throughout the check in process. It didn’t help that we had to go through several different government agencies and fill out forms at each one. Let’s see, first there was customs, then immigration, then agriculture and finally the Navy. We progressed through each agency, filled out the required forms in carbon copy triplicate. At least all of the agencies are close to each other and everyone was really friendly. The man in the immigration office asked us for $63.00 to cover our entry fees. When we handed over a $100.00 bill (that’s all we had). A worried and confused look came over his face. Then, through his bad English and our, even worse, Spanish, he communicated that we would need to pay $10.00 to immigration, agriculture and the navy. He would let them all know that we had paid him and he would get our change later. Needless to say, we made a $7.00 donation, as the change was conveniently forgotten!

This way to the Navy!
Our last stop was the navy, where, once again we filled out forms and tried in broken Spanish to explain that we had already paid our $10.00 to the immigration office. Somehow we managed to get it all worked out and two of the navy officers then announced that there were ready to inspect our boat. We took them out to Storyville in our dinghy and they asked if we had firearms and made a cursory inspection of the boat. They did ask Troy for a “little something” but Troy fell back on the story about how we paid everything at the immigration office. Once they knew we had refused, them just said OK, OK, no problema.

After Troy took them back to the dock, we were ready to take down the quarantine flag, hoist the DR courtesy flag and begin our exploration.

So far, we love it here. The cruisers and locals are all very helpful and friendly. We are taking Spanish lessons along with Rene and Stacy and Gary and Barbara. We are all determined that we will use our time here to learn as much Spanish as possible. We are also doing Yoga and water aerobics three days a week. That is pretty much required because the beer is so cheap and so cold here that it is almost irresistible! In fact, everything is so affordable here. Since we will be spending the rest of the summer here, in order to wait out the hurricane season, I am looking forward to exploring this beautiful island and making many blog posts along the way.


Stairway to the Yacht Club

Rene and Stacy enjoying a grande Bohemia (cost is about 70 pesos or around $2.00)

Storyville's Quarantine Flag
Dominican Republic Courtesy Flag
A view of the coastline
Farming in the hills


Al and Kay Waghorne said...

Deana and Troy... it sounds so divine!!!! What a wonderful experience... wish were were there... I'm delighted to know that Double Bayou gave you much needed experience... however something tells me you would have done just fine! :-) Keep the blogs and photos coming... Hugs from Houston!!!!

Anonymous said...

A beautiful sory. So glad ya'll had smooth sailing. Looks like beautiful country. Looking forward to seeing ya'll in Dec. Love ya;ll much, Mom
So good to talk to you today!!!

Jim said...

Looks AWESOME, and glad to hear you have made it!

I would LOVE to talk with you guys about your boat, as we are looking at the exact same one, a 41 Morgan Out Island. I would love to get your true perspective on the boat.


Anonymous said...

What a cool area. now is the time to mess with the natives. Now that sounds like fun. take care brother dave.

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Anonymous said...

Seeing and believing is Awesome! Take a dive for me... you two are missed so much and thought about often. Praying you both have lots more beautiful weather and lots more fun and more fun. Love you two. Mitzi

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Anonymous said...

It's seems that you are having good time. You got to see very interesting places.
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