Dominican Republic

We left Puerto Real, Puerto Rico and sailed towards Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. It was a gentle breeze, so we sailed slowly westward. I looked around the horizon and saw some strange water spouts, could it be whales? The binocular confirmed my suspicion finally we saw whales, after a while they came closer maybe 300 meters away so not very close, but close enough to admire them, we could see two or more Humpback whales jumping and diving over and over again for maybe 15 minutes, the they disappeared and we sailed into the sunset towards Boca Chica.

Boca Chica

Boca Chica is a very unique natural harbor protected by a long reef with a commercial deep water harbor, two marinas and a very long beach with various services from very basic sheds serving beer and basic food at low prices to more upmarket establishments.

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We arrived at lunch time to Marina Zar Par, we called them up on VHF, but did not get very much answer but a boat came out to guide us in. Rather soon we realize they do not speak very much English here! and we do not speak any Spanish! After that we had tied up, signed in to the Marina they asked us if we needed help to clear in, but we said we do it our self, as the cost was about 50 USD for the service and how difficult can it be? Well it started very easy, first a man from the drug enforcement agency came aboard and had a look, it went very swift, the immigration was situated at the marina so that went also well, and customs should be just down the road, maybe a few hundred meters.  We started to walk in the very hot sunshine towards the commercial harbor, but no customs were to be seen and the neighborhood was very scruffy, we did not felt totally comfortable walking the neighborhood. We asked but as all only spook Spanish we did not get very much help. Then someone said “Comandante?” and we said “si” and finally we were directed towards a building and found the “Comandante”. He looked like a question mark and asked what are you doing here??!! To make a long story shorter. We were driven back to the marina by a soldier in a car in by fare the worst condition I ever seen, most of the interior was ripped out such as all the interior side panels, all windows was cracked, no ignition key hole, most  of the front panel was gone, back in Sweden it would not even served as a spare part car, but it went slowly forward making all kind of strange noises. At the marina the same man who had offered us to clear in for us, now had to do the job anyhow, as the “comandante” did not had the right papers at his office. The guy at the marina token it with a smile even though he did not get paid but said, when you clear out I can fix it for 20 USD, and you do not need to go all the way in the heat. We agreed to that.

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Marina zar par

The Marina drew us to the local supermarket where we bought high quality fruits and vegetables to an attractive price, highly appreciated.

Dominican Republic Fruit

Part of the waterfront in Boca Chica is very basic but charming, during the weekend particularly on Sunday’s families meet and have fun together.

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A Fun day at the beach for the families

Sunday on Boat 1

The ones who are better off spend the day on their boat. All playing extremely loud music, with competition from the shore from this car

Sunday Music BC

Who is just a “music machine”

Santo Domingo

One day we took the local bus to Santo Domingo (founded 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus brother to Christopher Columbus) the capitol of Dominican Republic, we headed for the “Colonial Zone” an old part of the city just near the water front. It was rather interesting and a nice part of the city.

B Columbus

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With historical buildings from the old days and an old fort

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In 1509 the new viceroy Diego Colombus with wife arrived in Santo Domingo, while his residence was built, he moved into the fort while the warden of the fort Diego Lopez de Salcedo was out, and refused to leave, it ended up that the King Ferdinand the Catholic ordering Colombus to move immediately or severe punishment would be given. Not the best way to start a new relationship

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Central Colonial zone

On the way back we asked for the way to walk to the nearest bus station, but we were firmly advised not to walk “it is not safe”, we do not walk our self so take a taxi to the bus station they said. We asked a taxi driver for the cost to go to the bus station, but he asked for our final destination, and for 22 USD we got all the way to the Marina.

Jarabacoa

We wanted to see some of the inland, so we took a tour up in the mountains to Jarabacoa National Park. The main attraction was some water falls

Jarabacor water fall 1

Salto De Baiguate

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The water temperature was like in the Baltic a good Swedish summer

Jarabacor water fall 5

Salto Jimenoa

But we thought the reception park was the highlight a very peaceful place to just walk and relax

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A side observation, soy beans are a vital source of energy and protein for a lot of people worldwide, this is how they look, just by chance the guide showed us some of the crop they had in the area and one of them was soy beans.

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According to the guide it only takes 6 weeks from plant to harvest! Anyone know?

Isla Beata

From Boca Chica we sailed the 120 n to Isla Beata, and island inhabited by fishermen during the winter, a very beautiful island but I assume the life is rather harsh no service what so ever (no electricity, no water etc)

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Kerpa at anchor outside the fishermen settlement

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Very basic living quarters

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Lobster pots we assume

Isla Beata Lobster

We were very quickly approached by a fisherman who offered sell us some lobsters and We bought some from him, tasted good especially the soup Kerstin made it was Micheline class on that one.

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shore line of Isla Beata

This is how they transport goods to the island

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Transfer supply from the larger boat to the smaller local boats, everything by hand of course. There were a few very basic “shops” for the fishermen, some of them had their wife’s with them, but men was in large majority.

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The island is well known for its abundance of Iguanas, maybe they are so large as they are feed on fish?

Isla Beata Island fish

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Another type of Graffiti

We had a magic evening there with the moon just above the settlement

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Isla Beata Island evening 3

Kerstin enjoying the sunset with a glass of wine,

Maintenance

When we arrived Isla Beata it was a rather fresh wind and when furling the head sails it came some very strange sounds from the top swivel, that made me very concerned as we now are on places where service and spare parts are not easy to get,

We took down the head sail and found, that one of the stainless bars that is preventing the top swivel from rotate when furling the sail was lose and severely bent. If that is the only problem, no big deal.

Bent rod 1

It is supposed to be strait, it was a little bent before but now it is very bent and how to straighten it?

One need a fixed object we do not have a vice large enough for the task.

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The outboard crane and some very thick washers to reinforce the stainless steel structure solved the issue, a fixed point and some brutal?? force from my self and the bar was soon “straight” again

Bent Rod 4

Swivel Fixed

Now back in place and after hoisting the head sail it furled so gentle again and the captain was happy again. We also notice that the winch was very sluggish, and it was obviously why when taking it apart, it was time for service, cleaning and lubrication.

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Bahia de las Aguilas

Last stop in Dominican Republic was Bahia de las Aguilas, a very remote and tranquil beach/bay, according to the pilot book visited by very few, but obviously no hidden gem for very long, a few local tripper boats and a dirt trail now leads to the beach, but we were alone during morning and evening and to share such a huge bay with a few people is no big deal.

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Chrystal clear water

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Miles of pristine sand

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Next stop Ile a Vache Haiti

 

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