Wednesday, February 15, 2012

To Ponce… Wait, Salinas… No, Ponce... OK, Salinas

We crossed the Dreaded Mona Passage!!!  So much has been written about this passage that it has scared the bejesus out of us.  But wait, the weather gurus are telling us that there is a weather window – the best since before Christmas!!!

So, without really exploring Punta Cana, we readied ourselves, got our dispachos from the DR navy, made overnight snacking food and set out, just after 9 AM.  We watched a couple of humpbacks breeching as we left the Dominican Republic behind us.  It was so calm that at times there weren’t even ripples on the water.  It was so calm that we realized that we were going to arrive at Ponce at 3 in the morning.  So – fearless and adaptable sailors us – we changed our destination for Salinas after first checking with as many cruising resources at hand, that Salinas was a port of entry.  One of the cruisers tried raising US Customs and Immigration on his satellite phone but was not able to get a connection.

So we sailed on through the night, enjoying the smooth ride, the stars and the good feeling that we were going to be 30 miles further down the coast.  This coast does not make it easy to sail east so this was a real gift.

Caught another mahi and hooked something else that might have been a whale.  Our line spun out with the sound of a banshee and near the end, Glen put some extra resistance on the line and it gave way.  Good thing ‘cause we think whaling is illegal in PR.

After a beautiful sunrise we coasted into Salinas, set our anchors and prepared to explore – just have to check in first.  Minor.  BUT – the port of entry has been closed for two years and the sympathetic but firm official told us we had to sail back to Ponce to clear.

Arggghhhhh. 

Anyway – Glen made an omelette while Pam steered and we motored 4 hours – no wind at all – back to Ponce.  Anchored and phoned.  They said, “Phone back when you are at the fuel dock.”  Called the fuel dock.  “We are on break ‘til 1PM”  OK, wait ‘til 1 – go to the fuel dock.  Met a couple who had been waiting since 11 AM.  We waited a bit, had someone come on and quarantine our garbage, someone else to see if we are bandits.  Then they took our ship’s registration papers and told us to meet them back at the office for our new cruising permit.  Waited an hour in the office and finally – a shiny new cruising permit – but a lousy anchorage.

So – back on the boat, fire up Yan Diesel and head 4 hours back to Salinas.  We are currently in a snug anchorage after a harrowing pitch black arrival.

But, the DMP is behind us and friends and family will be here soon to explore the Spanish Virgin Islands!  Whoopeee!
Yummmm - more mahi!

The Dreaded Mona Passage

Pam on watch across the DMP

2 comments:

  1. Glen and Pam, great blog post, and what a FISH! You guys are so adventurous and you are pressing on down that thorny path. Sorry about the customs back track, that had to be a real pain....but welcome to paradise. Hayden

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  2. We're sooooo happy you had a great crossing through the Mona! It sounded wonderful!!! We could use the same type but I have a feeling ours will not be as kindly LOL! Hope you cracked open a bottle of bubbly :D
    Hugs from the Kolibrie Krew! <3

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