Twenty Seven Waterfalls

Today was the most fun I can remember having-maybe ever!!!

We wanted waterfalls. We got waterfalls-twenty seven of them! And we didn’t just get to stare at them or sit under them. No, we got to climb, jump, ride, slide, and float down and over and under them. What an amazing day.

The Rio Damajagua waterfalls were a must-do experience for the crews of Antares and Blabber as well so off we all went together.  They are such a fun crew.  The plan had been to add a little local flair to the day by taking the public transportation bus to the town of Ibert and then a motoconcho from there to the waterfalls.  But we had such a great time yesterday on the motorcycles we decided to rent them again and skip the bus ride. Vroom-vroom.

The waterfalls have in recent years started requiring a guide and that you wear a helmet and lifejacket. You get a guide for your group-whatever size that is so you do not have to get lumped into another group.  That was nice and because we chose to do all 27, not just 12, and we had the experience almost all to ourselves. I was worried that it would be a “Disney Land” kind of experience.  Happily, I was  very wrong.  I was also quickly grateful to be wearing the dorky looking  lifejacket and helmet!

Ok, so you start off at the bottom of the waterfalls and there is no tram or cable car that takes you to the top.  It is a whole lot of hiking and climbing “up”. Twenty seven waterfalls worth of UP. But first you cross the river, there used to be a suspension bridge but it got swept away in the floods.  This means you now have wet shoes and clothes on from the very start.  Hello chafe! I should not have worn swim shorts. I don’t know how far or how long we hiked up but I was really ready to start heading down by the time we got to the top.

The down part was so much fun and a total mix of experiences from relaxing to challenging.  The very first waterfall was a jump one, it wasn’t too high and the cool water felt great!  It was the first chance we got to really enjoy the scenery too. The next one was a sit down and slide one (like our butts had not been tortured enough on the motorcycle the past two days).  After going over the first few we kept wanting to do them again not really taking in that there were still two dozen more waterfalls waiting for us. Some of the jump ones were a little intimidating for me.  You had to make sure you jumped out far enough to clear the rocks, but they were also narrow sometimes and if you jumped too far you might hit the other side.  You also wanted to land in the deep section of the pool. We very gently kissed the bottom a few times. The sliding ones were where I appreciated the lifejacket just for the little extra padding on the way down.  You really zipped down some of those!  I must not have been very graceful because a few times the guide very quietly asked if I was OK afterward.  I didn’t see him asking anyone else.  I am currently sporting bruises on both elbows, my chest, and an ankle.  Oh, and also a purpling, puffy eye- but that was from a 4 foot tree limb falling from the sky and not a waterfall. Despite these, I would do it again in a heartbeat! It was still the best day ever. Keith and everyone else came out completely unscathed.  Between the waterfalls we either floated- lazy river style, or, in a few shallow sections, walked through the river. In one section the boys swung from long vines. Our guide completely gave up trying to usher us down quickly.  In fact most of the time we didn’t even see him, he would go around the corner and just wait at the next waterfall.  Sometimes we were deep in narrow canyons and other times a wide flat river bed filled with tumbled rocks.  On top of being non-stop fun, it was also gorgeous.  I took 487 photos between the two GoPro cameras and I would love to share how gorgeous it was here but, unfortunately, I have about 477 blurry, out of focus, water-spotted photos. Sorry. If you want to see real photos of the waterfalls just Google image search “27 waterfalls Dominican Republic”. They are much better than the ones I took.

DSCN9042^^ We made it to the top–now the fun starts!!!

Collage_Fotor.jpg^^Yep, a sampling of my 487 blurry photos to help me remember this day!!

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GOPR1255^^You just jump down there, don’t hit any rocks on the way down then climb over those two boulders and jump into the pool below them.  No sweat.  It took me past the count of three to make this leap!

GOPR0021GOPR0022^^Like white water rafting-with out the raft.

GOPR0029e^^On this one the guide hangs on to you while you get your feet and arms all tucked in, then he lets go.  All the others you do completely on your own he just tells you where to stand and where to aim.

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^^The floods had caused some destruction and erosion but didn’t interfere with any of the actual waterfalls.  The guide said it had been much prettier before the floods.

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^^This may have been the scariest of them all- it is too shallow to jump down so you climb down the wobbly sketch-o ladder.

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^^Photo credit to Ingrid (Blabber)

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^^Photo credit to Ingrid (Blabber)

The waterfalls would have been experience enough to complete the day, but we had the motorcycles still and were ready to fill in the rest of the afternoon.  First up was to refuel with a hearty late lunch.  We drove around the city and ended up selecting the first place we had looked at.  The owner was fantastic and so was the food.  We got huge servings- which we inhaled!  Our favorite thing was a sweet banana casserole with meat and cheese.  I know, it sounds very gross.  It was not.  The owner was nice enough to write down the recipe for me too. Lunch for both of us with drinks cost under $8.00. I love being able to afford a meal out!

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On the ride back to Luperon we passed a building that had a crowd of people and a lot full of motorcycles.  We flipped around and checked it out. It thought it might be a band or dance. It was a cock fight.  Right about the time I figured it out Ingrid and I (and only Ingrid and I) were ushered into the very crowded caged pit.  I have some very strong opinions about cock fighting and animal cruelty.  Having said that, I was now squeezed inside a cage that was filled to the ceiling with very excited men, 2 prized roosters, and a lot of money being waved around that was at stake.  Taking this all in, I thought that maybe I should keep those opinions very much to my self! And I did.  I wanted no part of watching the fight but didn’t want to offend the gentleman who was gracious enough to lead us in without tickets while others, who certainly did want to watch, were still waiting outside.  So Ingrid and I were spectators at a cock fight whether we desired to be or not.  Thankfully once the action started I couldn’t see anything but the rear ends of the men jumping up and down and shouting in front of us.  It was an intense and loud experience. We laughed pretty hard and agreed that maybe it was too local of an experience! It certainly beat out a bus ride! When it was over I was very careful not to look towards the ring, I didn’t want to see the chickens. No one had paid us any mind, and everyone was very respectful while we tried to climb out of the cage before the next fight. What a crazy, over-the-top experience. However, unlike the waterfalls, I am not eager to do that again.  Once was enough.

DSCN9106e^^This photo was taken by accident, I was just clutching my camera and got jostled.  It captured the guy leading us in perfectly though!

DSCN9101e^^This one I took on purpose, no one was paying us any attention anyway- it was all about the money!

DSCN9104^^Thankfully this was my view once the action started, well once it started they were jumping up and down.

We reunited with the rest of the group, got on the bikes and got back on the road.  Our next two stops were much more tame- ice-cream and then school parade.

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The final stop of the day was the bar that overlooked the harbor.  We had a few drinks while recounting one of the most exceptional days I can recall. I will remember this day for a long time, the pictures that didn’t turn out won’t even be necessary.

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Motorcycles!!!!

Keith, I may have mentioned once or twice, has been obsessed with getting on a motorcycle here.  He finally rented one for the day.Unfortunately we had to stay close by because the cold front was arriving and we were not sure what to expect in the harbor.  We had so much fun just touring close by that after telling Antares and Blabber about it we all rented motorcycles for the next day. They cost about $10.00 a day. We had already rode around so much that our butts hurt, but it didn’t stop us from going again!DSCN8760_Fotor

We had arranged to have three motorcycles the night before and they were waiting for us in the morning.

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^^ Walewijn, Quirijn and Hedda from Antares all set to go!

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^^ Ben and Ingrid from Blabber all set to go!

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^^Wright Away all set to go!

 

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We quickly left the town and got on the country roads. There are lots of small family farms.  Some had gardens and field crops others had pastures.  It was very overcast but the views were still stunning!

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We passed lots of horseback/donkeyback riders.  Some were herding cattle some were carrying produce.  Others were just traveling.

DSCN8841_Fotor^^ One of many “where are we- where should we go” stops.  Also provided a “give my butt a break” stop.

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^^ One of many traffic jams we encountered. It is against the law to honk your horn at a cow here.  Not that we ever would.

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Everyone we met was so helpful and everyone we passed waved and shouted “hola”.  It was easy to find someone willing to help with directions and if we were stopped on the side of the road to rest or sightsee we were asked if everything was OK.

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The floods that hit Haiti also hit the Dominican Republic.  We came across a bridge that had be swept away in the floods.  This man has made a raft and ferries the motorcycles, and their riders, across the river.  It was so fun to watch.

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^^Here is us deciding whether we should cross the river or not.  It looked like a fun experience, but in the end we decided not to.  We were not sure what was on the other side of the river and also we were afraid that when we came back the raft tender might not be there anymore.  Sensibility won out and we chose another route.

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^^ The horse did not ride on the raft, it crossed up river where it was a shallower.

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^^ Another traffic jam

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^^ One more traffic jam.

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^^ We stopped in the small beach town of La Isabella to grab lunch.  It had the perfect little beach shack.  We were the only ones around and it was beautiful!

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^^ Despite the bar offering a picture menu, it didn’t have a tourist feel to it.

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^^ Perhaps not the most local choice of cuisine, but I think the brothers that owned the shack were from Spain.  I think, I’m not sure.  The pizza was good though!

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We rode around for a few more hours and stopped at the ice-cream shop next to the red and white polka dot café.  An ice-cream cone is about 50 cents here.

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It was another fantastic day!!!

Luperon- A Little More

We couldn’t wait to see more of the town of Luperon the next morning so we set off in search of breakfast.  It was actually harder to find than we expected.  It was hard to tell what many of the shops have to offer and we don’t have enough skills to ask a lot of questions.  We finally came across a tiny shop with little tiny tables in it and we asked if they served breakfast. The gentleman waved us in and from there we have no idea what he said or what we ordered.  His wife brought us out two ham and cheese tostadas-and they were perfect.  He helped us work out our Spanish for the items and gave us tastes of his fresh squeezed juices.  It was so good and he was so nice we ended up going  back there the next day too.  By then we were able to place our order using complete sentences.  Woohoo! Two tostadas and two fresh juices is less than $2.50 so why not.  Plus, the owner is so patient and we had fun sharing our Spanish/English book to have a basic conversation.  He liked looking up words in it too.  I think we will become regulars.

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Even though we had just eaten breakfast the smell of the pork and chicken being cooked over a fire drew us to these street vendors.  They gave us samples and Keith bought a 100 pesos worth of pork.  It comes in a plastic bag and no napkin.  (I’ve already learned to go no where without hand sanitizer!)

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^^ This lucky pup got some pork too.

We were standing on some corner, with our still greasy hands, Spanish book, and a piece of paper with notes when a motorcycle stopped and asked if we were finding everything alright.  Might we have looked too obvious? We started talking to him and it was a fellow cruiser anchored two boats away from ours.  He came here seven years ago and fell in love with the place and never left.  He was pointing out where everything was and what to see when he said to just jump on and he would give us a tour- it would be easier.  So we did.  I know, you probably think we are crazy or stupid, but it really felt fine to do. (And, spoiler, it absolutely was) He gave us a tour of the town then drove us out to the beach where there is a cute little beach bar.  We pull up to find Ingrid and Ben (Blabber) had already found the beach bar!

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^^Photo credit to Ingrid (thanks!)

 

We stayed and shared a beer with Bruce (the guy driving us around) and absorbed as much info as we could. He also gave Keith the details on where and how to buy a motorcycle here if we are going to stay for any period of time. Oh boy.  While we were there Hedda, Walewijn, and Quiryijn (Antares) wandered up.  Funny, with no planning we all found the same place!  After our beer we hopped back on the bike with Bruce to finish our tour and went next to the marina.  We met some more cruisers and Bruce’s wife and hung out for a while.  Bruce was staying for lunch and we were still full from our pork so we decided to walk back to town.  Half way up the hill we started second guessing our choice, these hills are steep.  Just then the boat boy, Handy Andy, drove up on his motorcycle and offered to call us a motoconcho but before he could he flagged down a friend of his in a yellow jeep and we had a ride back to town.  It turned out it was another cruiser who also owned land here, we had even met him before in the Abacos!

 

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^^We finished up the day on our boat with Blabber and Antares eating Mahi tacos from the fish we got on our sail here.

 

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^^ I love how the “slips” are made using branches stuck in a line.

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^^We did a little exploring with all the boats we sailed in with one day.  At any one time we would have one conversation going on in English, Dutch, French and Spanish.  I have come home mentally exhausted every night!  Even with out trying our brains are working overtime trying to pick out the familiar and put context to the unfamiliar.  More Advil please!  Really, it is SO much fun.

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We introduced Blabber and Antares to our new breakfast spot, the owner, whose name I still don’t quite have, was sharing a fruit that he juices. None of us had seen or tasted it before.  He calls it Jauga.  It is very sweet and makes a nice juice.

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^^ Vendors like this are common.  We see them selling everything from bananas to shoes.  We haven’t been approached by any of them wanting us to buy something.

Luperon-First Impressions

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As soon as we were finished getting legal we got into the dinghy and headed to town to check it out.  I was going on less than three hours of sleep since after my watch I stayed up to watch the sunrise and our approach to the island.  Both of us had not gotten much sleep the last several days but we had no intentions of taking a nap before going ashore!

All of our senses were flooded at once trying to take in and look at everything.  The streets are lined with small houses and shops right up against the sidewalk. Most are colorfully painted and they are a mix of wood and concrete.  Most had patched together tin roofs. There is a level of disrepair to all of them but on a second look they are tidy and the people sitting in front of them or in the doorways all greeted us with a welcoming “hola” and warm smile. The character of some of the buildings was so sweet. There were dogs everywhere.  Some didn’t even open their eyes as you stepped over them others would trot along next to your for a few paces. They are not skittish or aggressive here, most looked happy. There are gutters that run along all the streets and they terminate down by the dock.  I learned quickly to not be so caught up in looking at all the houses to not watch my step! Laundry hung from almost every barb wire fence and kids were playing baseball. Between the houses were a mix of stores and businesses.  We saw everything from mechanics to barber shops.  There were lots of shops selling produce and fresh squeezed juices and small grocery items.  Sometimes the distinction between house and business couldn’t be made. We were able to find a store that exchanged a few dollars for pesos and we set off to spend them.  Although, through the day we found that calculating the dollar/peso exchange rate was much too difficult to do with our lack of sleep.

The sounds and smells were intense.  The music was LOUD.  It wasn’t a boom-boom music with bass but a sweet merengue that was broadcast from large speakers from every bar and most of the houses. The streets were filled with it.  Mixed in with the music was a constant vroom of motorcycles.  Like the dogs, they were everywhere. The backdrop conversations in Spanish added to the consciousness of being somewhere very new. We were still getting used to the sweet smell of vegetation and dirt and the town added its own swirl of scents-cow and horse manure in the streets was a prominent one- but also the delicious scents of foods being prepared.  There were women on the corners selling roasted corn from fires made right on the sidewalk. The crews from Blabber and Antares had come ashore to explore as well and as a group the smells worked over our appetite and we looked for a place to eat.  Keith had thought he had seen/smelled a promising option from a little green and pink building.  On closer inspection we thought maybe not so much.  They were offering the fried tails of something, maybe cow?  It wasn’t so much the tails I didn’t find appetizing but how much of the rump was still attached to the tail.  We kept looking.  We ended up at a sandwich shop that had a large patio to sprawl out under the shade. A large lunch cost us under $5.00 for both of us.

After lunch we wandered some more.  I don’t think that we passed as single person with out a greeting, it was an incredibly friendly introduction to the town and country.  In the afternoon we stopped at the bar in front of dock and ordered beers.  The beers are HUGE.  For today at least, we didn’t find anything not to like.  Tomorrow we we explore in earnest.

Note: I was cautious using my camera around town as I didn’t want to intrude on anyone’s privacy and had read that photographs are not always welcome.  Most of the photos were taken while my camera was discretely held down so sorry about the framing and focus.  I’m going to learn how to ask permission to take a photograph in Spanish tonight.

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^^ These are taxis, you hop on the back and they will drive you around town for a few pesos.  There are car taxis too.

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^^ Fried tail, anyone?

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^^ Kai came so close to becoming an older brother today!!! This pup was so small and so sweet I had a hard time walking away.

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^^Antares, Blabber, and Wright Away crew wandering around town.

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Ingrid and Hedda (Blabber and Antares) finding fresh produce.

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^^ One of the butcher shops, we identified it because of the slabs of fresh meat hanging from big metal hooks under the porch.

Dominican Republic Customs and Immigration

Luperon, and maybe all of the Dominican Republic, but especially Luperon, has a bit of a reputation about bribes/made up fees/requested tips when dealing with the officials and clearing into and out of the country.  We read it all but decided to just keep an open mind and see for ourselves.

It cost us $140.00, one cold beer, two cold sodas, two warm sodas, and another four dollars to clear in and here was our experience:

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The first local we encountered was one of the boat boys, Papo.  He was actually very grandfatherly.  He approached us in his boat as we entered the harbor and politely welcomed us.  He told us we could get a mooring for two dollars a day.  We told him we wanted to anchor and he said we could anchor anywhere we wanted. He also told us about the services he offered but he wasn’t pushy at all.  We were surprised by how professional he seemed.

 

We anchored and the second boat boy (also a grown man), Handy Andy, came by and welcomed us to the harbor and told us about the services he offered.  He was also very professional in his approach and was helpful in learning the basics of where things were. We read that the officials will come out to the boat, but he said we could go to them- it was easier.

 

We had read both positive and cautionary reports about both of these men, first introductions were refreshingly friendly.

 

We collected our papers and put on our “customs” outfits and headed into town.  Blabber and Antares  were also headed in.  The offices of the assorted officials was at the end of the large concrete warf and there is a gate between them and the town. There were several men sitting around in plastic chairs by the trailers housing the offices-these turned out to be the officials.  A sign was posted on the wall with the fees and we easily found the door to the Immigration Office.  Antares went first.  While we were waiting our turn we were approached by a man in gym shorts and flip-flops.  He told us we needed to buy a tourist card from him.  We had read that this was a scam in some reports, it was only for people arriving by plane and to ignore him and just clear in without him, other reports said you simply had to pay it. We said we would see him later, after we finished the other paperwork.  He was bordering on being pushy and kept saying him first.  The fee was on the poster and the guy stamping the passport said we needed to buy the tourist card so in the end we did buy it.  Official fee or not, it seemed we needed to purchase it to finish the process.  It was ten dollars per person and it wasn’t worth any confrontation as this won’t be our last interaction with the officials while we are here.

 

After getting the possibly unnecessary tourist card, we visited with the Immigration Officer.  He was also dressed in plain clothes with no name tag or any identification.  He was very pleasant and patient as we tried out our Spanish for the very first time.  With lots of pointing and looking up words in our translation book we completed the process and were asked for ninety dollars and given a receipt for 4000 pesos.  Next stop was the Port Authority.  He was also in plain clothes with no identification.  He was very polite and filled out the paperwork for us.  His charge was ten dollars.  I don’t know who the next official we visited was (again no name tag or uniform).  He was just as friendly and also filled out the form for us.  There was no fee for him.  Next we went to Agriculture. The woman was friendly, filled out the short form that had no questions about anything regarding fruits, vegetables, or animals for us. We paid her twenty dollars. She told us she had a laundry service. The fees were what we were expecting or at least in the ballpark and overall it was painless experience, we may have even had fun through it all.

 

As soon as we were done with the last official we were told to go back to our boat as the Comandante and other officials would be there to inspect it.  We had been told while we were filling out the forms that they would bring a dog, I was wondering what Kai would think of a dog sniffing around his toy box.  Antares and Blabber had finished ahead of us and when we got out to our boat we could see that they were just finishing up with their inspections.  One of the boat boys had brought out the Comandante and four other officials.  I think they were the M2/Intelligence and maybe someone from the Agriculture department.  They also brought a translator.  Only the Comandante was in uniform.  They all boarded the boat.  The translator said he didn’t bring the dog because we had a dog on the boat, I don’t think they ever planned on bringing a dog and I never saw one. We thought Kai was going to bark like crazy with everyone coming on the boat but as soon as he saw all the men in the cockpit he froze, I think I even saw him gulp. He was silent and sat tucked into Keith’s arms the whole time. So much for our ferocious watch dog, we had thought maybe he would be loud and obnoxious and make the process move along faster.  No luck.  The translator quickly explained that we would not be paying anymore fees, but if we would like to make a contribution to them it would gladly be accepted.  I had planned on serving cold water in glasses with lime slices, but they asked for soda or beers.  We only had one beer in the fridge, Keith was looking forward to having his last Bahamian Guinness  later.  We gave them the beer and the two cold sodas we had in the fridge, they chose warm sodas over cold water since we didn’t have enough for everyone and they didn’t want to share the cold ones.  I think they asked for tequila but I’m not sure and I didn’t ask for clarification.  Beyond getting the sodas and beer, I am not sure why they came out to the boat.  The Comandante wrote down our boat name and that the boat was white in notebook.  He asked for our checkout papers from the Bahamas but then never looked at them.  They never went inside the boat.  No one cared that we had a dog on board and we never showed his papers.  The translator did ask two more times for contributions and that we should give what ever we were going to give directly to the Comandante.  I didn’t feel like anything bad would have transpired if we had politely declined but Keith gave the Comandante four dollars since one of the other guys had taken the beer.  The Comandante didn’t look overwhelmed.  Interestingly, they did want to see the receipts from the other officials and asked how much we paid each of them,  they confirmed that we did in fact need the tourist cards, but took photos of the receipt for 4000 pesos, the paperwork for clearing in the boat.  They did the same on the other boats and told them it should have only been 3000 pesos.  We are not going to get upset about it.

The whole process took about two hours, was within the ballpark of what we were expecting to pay, and honestly was not intimidating at all.

We were now free to go past the gate and wander the streets of Luperon! First order of business was to find cold drinks since we no longer had any for ourselves.

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^^The Luperon dock

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^^ Everyone has their arms crossed because we had just paid the questionable fee and were still trying to figure out if we should have so it is not the best photo to depict the experience.

George Town to Luperon

The sail from George Town to Luperon, to wrap it up in a nutshell, was absolutely splendid!

The day before we left we finished up our final errands, re-checked the checklist, reviewed the weather and charts, and tried to rest as much as possible.  In the afternoon we went to the beach and had a bonfire and cooked hotdogs with our friend Craig.  We’ve shared more harbors than not with him since we crossed to the Bahamas together.  Besides sharing anchorages, diving, hiking, and exploring the islands together he has made our cruising experience so much richer and we are going to miss him.  We’ve shared more meals together than we could ever count so realizing that this one was the last we would be sharing for at least a little while was hard to say the least.  It seemed unreal that our bows would be pointed in different directions the next day.

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The morning of departure we pulled anchor by 7am, the seas were still in the process of coming down from the past two weeks of wind but they were comfortable and mellowed quickly.  We were even able to turn off the motor and just sail for a few hours in the morning. This relieved us some of our fuel consumption concerns.  By mid day we rounded the northern tip of Long Island and sadly waived goodbye to Craig as he headed off to Conception Island.  After rounding the tip, the wind, though very light, had not shifted enough yet to give us a push.  Calculating with our current speed we were not expecting to make it to Luperon until Sunday.

By sun set we were motor sailing again.  There were several boats going the same direction and we wished each other well over the radio. By dark the seas were calm, the wind was just strong enough to keep the sails filled and sometimes even give us a push, the stars were unbelievably bright.  It was a beautiful sail.

In the morning we were still in sight of the two boats Blabber and Antares (the fun Dutch boats we met at the beach Christmas dinner at Staniel).  Another boat, Abaco, (also met them at the same time)was also sailing the same route, but they sailed much faster than us and had passed us in the night.  There were a few other boats too but they were stopping in the Turks and Caicos to wait out the approaching cold front.  We had gotten enough speed with the north wind that we were now calculating that we might be able to get in by Saturday night.

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The following day and night were simply delightful. Being out on the water, removed from everything and all distractions, brings a feeling of contentment that I have yet to find another way to achieve.

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On the third day, when I went down below to sleep and kept hearing a noise-like wind chimes- but under water. I called Keith down, but we couldn’t find the noise.  We thought it might just be some slack in the steering system, but we had never heard the noise before.  I tried to lie down again, but couldn’t put aside the new noise that was coming from seemingly below me.  Keith and I searched again, pulling up the bed and looking in the bilge.  I kept saying it’s like it is something under the boat.  Keith went outside and looked over the stern and immediately solved the mystery.  We were dragging a long line with two Styrofoam buoys-they were causing the “wind chime” sound against the hull.  We immediately cut the engine.  The line thankfully had not gotten wrapped in the prop and we wanted to keep it that way!  We couldn’t free the mess from the boat so we took down the sails and Keith put on his swimsuit.  He was able to easily untangle the lines from the rudder.  He said the water was so much warmer than the Bahamas.  We were back underway within minutes of finding the line and it caused no harm but we didn’t overlook how serious the situation could have been.  That line in the prop could have done serious damage and we were still 95 miles from the coast.  I am really glad we were not trying sail that last bit in the light winds- it might have taken longer than we had before the cold front would have caught up with us.

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Besides the mid-passage swim the rest of the trip was uneventful. For what we expected to be some of the roughest and most difficult passage making of our entire planned cruise we couldn’t believe how lucky we were.  Not only was the wind not too strong, we were not beating into it! It was out of the north almost the entire trip making it so easy.  We also never got caught by any opposing current, or at least any strong enough to note. We’ve been bracing ourselves for this passage for years, since we planned this cruise, and in the end it turned out to be some of the best sailing/motor sailing we’ve had.  We found no thorns on this thorny path. We made great time and even had to slow down a little on the third night to not arrive in the dark.

On Saturday morning we watched the sun rise over the mountains of Hispaniola.  I knew there would be mountains, but couldn’t quite imagine them after all the flat little islands of the Bahamas.  They were HUGE, and so green.  You could smell the dirt and trees miles before we got close to the shore. As we got closer and the light brighter, what was one mountain came into focus as layers of mountains.  Another one appearing behind the next. I may just remember the morning we sailed into Luperon forever. It was breathtaking and a stunning way to end an unexpectedly peaceful passage.

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