|Getting ready to hit the road in our jeeps|
The crossing from San Juan went well, sea state and sailing wise. We had a bit of a mishap with one of our engine mounts while underway. We heard a few not so usual sounds from the shaft area, so I asked Cath to take the wheel while I went to take a look. We found out one of our engine mount bolts had come lose and allowed the back end of the engine to shift some. We weren't about to realign the engine in the center of the Mona Passage, so while our friends on Solemate hovered, we went about getting the tools out to tighten the bolts down. By this time Josh had taken over the deck duties, setting the sails to allow a bit of way.
|Walking mangroves in Los Haitises National Park|
I asked Cath to grab me a rag and all would have been oh so much better if we never had opened the paint locker! Just like one of those ads where they are trying to jam shut the closet door, we had the whole contents of the paint locker spill all over the aft cabin when we opened it. Don't you know, one of the gallons of white paint busted open and spilled all over the floor! And of course, it spilled all over me and where i had to sit to fix the engine. I am sure you are getting the point now that we are not the happiest people with a gallon off paint on the floor and five foot seas spreading it for us. Surprisingly, we were able to clean most of it up and fix the engine mount.
As we were making our way in to the beautiful Samana passage, we were blessed by a whale pod that were breeching and swimming and it reminded me that no mater how good something is, it can awlays get better.
|Ride em cowboy|
The group decided that for $1 a foot (and our registered length is 55 feet), we would spoil ourselves and go to a marina for a night or two. Now, we had no clue what kind of marina were were headed for, and if we had known, I might have gotten the grease and paint out from under my nail! They call it a small luxury resort and wow mama was it every luxury! We were definitly the hillbillies coming in for the night. It was a treat for us we hadn't been in a marina in at least a year. They had five pools which we made good use of and unlimited water for our laundry. We thought it best to rent some Jeeps and and go on a land tour. The people in the DR are very nice and always willing to help and some of the hardest working people you will find. Our drive gave us some beautiful overlook shots and small town energy. We found ourselves down a back road where some local kids were playing baseball. We pulled up and played baseball and basketball with the kids.
|On the way to the waterfalls|
We also found a great waterfall that you had to take horses to so we went horseback riding for $9, which was well spent as the hike would have been really tough and muddy!
We relaxed for another day or so at the marina and then did a quick hop to Los Haitises National Park across the bay. It was beautiful - almost looked like it should have been in Asia with the big rock islands scattered along the bay covered in ferns and moss. We hiked up to a cave with ancient petroglyphs (similar to the Egyptian's hieroglyphics). We spent the next week exploring this beautiful park - paddle boarding among the mangroves, hiking to the Eco Lodge and swimming in their waterfall pools and making new friends.
|Cath at the waterall|
We sadly left there and did an overnight to Luperon in fairly decent conditions. Once in Luperon, we spent the night on the town and the next day rented motor bikes for the next three days. There were 4 motor bikes in our group, each with 2 people on them. We pretended to be a biker gang as we rode all over the island discovering the beautiful countryside, small side towns and gorgeous beach towns. At one point, we had to cross a river and although there was not a bridge, a fellow had set up a board on a few 50 gallon drums and pulled us and the motor bike across the river by hand -over-handing it on a rope!
|Our guides to the waterfall|
We spent the rest of our time here just hanging out in Luperon, provisioning in Puerto Plata and getting the boat ready for our 280 mile run to Cuba.
|Life imitates art|
|A local meal|
|Playing baseball with the local kids|
|Spoiled in the marina|
|Maria in the upper level of the caves|
|Maria vine dancing|
|Maria, Cath and Niko in the caves|
|Man or rock?|
|The DR's version of a bridge|
|Traditional meets modern|
|One way to cross a river|
|Great way to transport beer|
|Maria on the motor bike|
|One of many caves|