Monday, March 28, 2016

Sailing To Luperon

Crossing the Caicos Banks......can you see the big coral patch?
We left the Turks and Caicos at sunrise with four other boats, heading east across the Caicos banks, dodging coral heads as we went – good light is certainly needed for this area. Then we turned southeast laying a course for Luperon, in the DR.  It was a motor all the way but better that than the possible alternatives. The moon was full and shone brightly all night. 
It was a bright moonlit sail!
When the wind died we dropped the sails to stop the flogging but without their balance we rolled ceaselessly in the slight swell, so much so we slept with a leeboard up. It was a busy night on watch with cruise-ships, sailboats, tankers and motor-yachts all travelling on the same rhum-line. But the time passed quickly, we watched the sun sink behind the horizon as the moon rose and then the moon set as the sun rose again.  Its small wonders like this that makes these trips memorable. Whales were sighted by other boats but we saw none.
The sun setting 
With daylight we could make out the land looming in the distance, the kitty stepped out into the cockpit sniffing the air some 15 miles away, sensing new land was approaching.  
The kitty smelling land for miles out.
The entrance was fairly straight forward with three proper markers in the channel to guide the way in.  We touched bottom once but soon had ourselves off just as ‘Papo’ came out in his boat to guide us in and help pick up a mooring. 
The marked enterance to Luperon
We were in two minds about using a mooring over using our own anchor. We spent six weeks here six years ago on our previous boat “Alianna” where our chain was severely fouled with barnacles during that time.  Was that better than taking a mooring of suspect integrity? But at $2 a night with Papo standing there waiting, we were swayed to decision and here we still sit. 
'Papo' leading us into the anchorage in Luperon
Within minutes Papo had disappeared and returned again with the Commandante and his side kicks to check us in. All three came on board and stepped down below into the saloon. They were all incredibly friendly; the one uniformed guy spoke good English. And wherein 6 years ago they had asked us for a tip (read$$), there was none of that this time, only a request for a soda and a couple of cervezas for his sidekicks.....at only 10am in the morning it made us smile knowing that five more boats behind us would get asked the same thing....not bad for a mornings work! When they left, Sim as the captain was to go and shore and fill out the paper work for Customs, Immigration, Agriculture, Coast Guard & Port Authority at the little port-a-cabins that are used as offices near the dinghy dock.  While I waited for him to return, I put the sails away and the bimini cover back up and cleared up some of the mess that always ensues after a night sail. Then I sat in the cockpit taking in the gorgeous surroundings, the green rolling hills and boats gentle bobbing on anchor and listened to the birds sing as I tried to stay awake a little while longer.  Sim arrived back just as I was dozing off in one of those rare truley relaxed states, we had a bite to eat and then fell asleep on the sofas, tired from the night sail.
Waiting for Sim, admiring the view.
We finished the day with the crews of the boats we had travelled with a beer at Puerto Blanco Marina - giant 650ml bottles of “Presidentes” for $3 a pop. If we had had any reservations about spending time in the DR they were quickly vanishing.
650ml Presidents beers in bamboo coolers...and yes mine was a light!

Our trip east across the Caicos Banks and South to Luperon, DR.


2 comments:

  1. Rosie and Sim,

    Glad to see your back in Luperon....I think that is where Angela and I met you 6 years ago. I have great pics of all of us dancing at Puerto Blanco Marina! I still keep up with your blog and Angela and I are still back in the states working. We live in Kemah on Galveston bay. Still sail all of the time and dream of coming back down there. Hopefully you will still be out there when we start cruising again! BTW Skip who was with us as well in the DR is leaving on his boat in June or July to start cruising. He is on a Morgan 461 called Prodigal so look for him out there over the next year!

    Take Care,

    Craig and Angela (formally on SV Hakuna Matata) Now sailing on Back on Tack

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    1. I think you are right...and how could I forgot the dancing...you tried..but I'm a lost cause with two left feet! ;-) I was just looking back at pictures of us all from then and when we were in Grenada...good times! Look forward to catching up with you again one day and we will keep our eyes peeled for Skip. Love Rosie and Sim. Xx

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