The trade winds lie down at night and make it possible to move east – mostly motor-sailing. We wait until the winds die down or until we think they are going to die down, and then set out. Sometimes we get it wrong and get a washing-machine ride.
We left early from Luperon to Sosua – getting in around noon. Sosua is a cool little tourist town – settled during and after WW II by German Jews trying to escape from persecution in Europe. The little bay was beautiful with crystal clear water and amazing tourist hotels. We napped and ate and then hoisted anchor at 6 PM. We struggled around the first cape – and over the night learned that we were going to struggle around every cape. The winds pile up the seas and it is very bumpy going.
We had the opportunity to have the bottom cleaned when we left Luperon but Glen cheaped out and decided that not much could have accumulated in the 2 weeks we were there. WRONG!!! We burned 3 times as much fuel as usual and were the last in the pack getting into el Vallee (Escondido). Glen dove on the propellor and found it totally encrusted with barnacles. He cleaned the prop but the entire bottom was covered with the same growth. We had to drop out of the convoy to head into Samana instead of heading on to Punta Cana.
Five miles out of Samana the engine overheated and we had to shut it off. Glen checked that the barnacles hadn’t clogged the water strainer, he checked that the heat exchanger (radiator) had fluids and he checked that the impellor was intact. He didn’t check that the fan belt was broken – which it was. Genius Glen found that we could run the engine at low revs and the temperature stayed in the normal range. Then – aha! – the alternator isn’t putting out any voltage. So GG headed back into the engine room, determined the problem and we were soon back underway to Samana with a new belt.
We arrived in Samana at 9 AM, cleared in, arranged for fuel, arranged to have the bottom cleaned, took a motorconcho to the local market for oranges and lemons, found a bottle of Glen Kinchie for only $30, got back on the boat and we were underway for Punta Cana by 4 PM. Samana looks like a cool little town, a place that needs more exploring some day. It is a quaint little fishing town that has been discovered by cruise ships so there are perfume, jewelry, gift shops along with the other hustles you see in cruise ship towns. Samana Bay is a humpback whale mating/birthing ground like Maui and so the place is covered with whale watching experiences. We saw lots of spouts as we travelled in and out of the bay. Neat place!
Another overnight sail to Punta Cana and here we are. We arrived at about 6 AM and had to heave-to in the swell in front of the marina, waiting for it to open. This is a magnificent place. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, I wouldn’t go to a place that would in the likes of me. But here we are, AC blowing full on, dining out at the restaurant. Living the grand life – for one night. Then it is back to the grind – we leave in the morning at around 10 AM in light airs to transit to Puerto Rico. This is an 18 hour run to clear into PR at Ponce (Pon say).
We’ll spend a night or 2 recovering, looking around Ponce and then try to figure out how to connect with the Inmans. Mike and Charlotte are going to be with us for a week or 10 days while we explore the south coast of PR and try to get to Isla Vieques in the Spanish Virgin Islands. We know Mike would like to try some of the Glen Kinchie. We doubt there will be any left to try. Should have bought 2 bottles.
|el Vallee coconut grove|
|The fuel dock|
|Breakfast at Cap Cana Marina|
|Blue Pearl at Cap Cana|
|Partying with our cruising buddies|