|Crossing the Caicos Banks......can you see the big coral patch?|
|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.|