Position 19° 19.474’ N
69° 35.516’ W
Samaná, Dominican Republic
We entered Marina Puerto Bahia by 10:00. We were again met by the officials and the dock master with his staff who helped us to dock and tie up. Our slip was on the main dock right in front of the marina and hotel building. Marina Puerto Bahia is again, like Ocean World, a resort, it is either owned or was financed by the Don Q rum distilling family we aren’t quite sure, either way it is impressive. The complex is stunning and is run under the Bannister Hotel banner. The Dominican Republic is an emerging nation and the contrast between the life in the interior and the small coastal enclaves where development has taken place is dramatic. The country has obviously recognized the tourist dollar and further development will continue. Please visit this beautiful country and see it, meet the warm friendly people and sample their life before it is gone. Hispaniola is big with one third of the landmass occupied by Haiti to the west with the eastern two thirds being the Dominican Republic. Everywhere is lush and fertile, the country produces much of its own food and everything is available at very affordable prices. We took advantage to do some re-provisioning while there. The check-in process was a little complicated as we, wrongly, had obtained a despacho to Puerto Rico when leaving Ocean World on the north coast and therefore had officially left the Dominican Republic and here we were back again, actually having never left, The officials were sympathetic when I explained the shelter we decided to seek due to weather and only charged us the minimum they could to re-enter. So here we are still in the Dominican Republic, life is good, we are in a beautiful marina having arrived here without a single ‘cough’ from Stonewall Jackson so we are figuring that the fuel problems that were so crippling when coming from the Bahamas have finally be resolved.
The next morning the dock master Pedro asked if we would mind moving to another slip in the marina, on the same dock but on the other side, the owner of our slip was returning. By mid morning we were ready and began the move. Oh no! The engine failed again as we were moving within the marina, always a scary event, I managed to restart and after two more failures managed to enter our new slip without hitting anything! The marina staff gave a sigh of relief, they were running from dock to dock as we were drifting, in readiness to fend us off and avert the impending collision. The rest of the day was spent going over and over the fuel system trying to find the cause of the engine stopping…I couldn’t find anything wrong, this is the worst scenario as it is always better to find something! I continued to start and run the engine each day to see if it would stop again, it didn’t!
|Las Terrenas, DR|
We visited the town of Samaná which was about three kilometers from the marina, we thought it looked a rough town, it bustled but it was broken down and in need of much infrastructural renovation. The Dominican Republic is an immerging third world country but the people are among the happiest, engaging and proud we have encountered so far, we loved them.
Our visit to DR was coming to an end it was time to prepare to go to sea and cross the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico. Both Bill and I use a weather service provided by Chris Parker, as do many other cruisers in this part of the world. We had been listening to his forecasts and studying his daily e-mails, we saw a weather widow approaching on the 3rd and 4th of March which would give us the best shot at a crossing. It seems there are few if no smooth crossings of the Mona, even HT remarked “maybe a 4’- 6’ sea is the best we can expect”. Bill and I made the decision to go but with a plan to fall off to Punta Cana, another resort marina complex on the southeast coast of the DR, if the weather window closed on us. The distance to Punta Cana was approximately 80 nm with another 80 nm from there to PR. We set off from Marina Puerto Bahia in the late afternoon intending to hug the coastline of the SE DR over night rounding the infamously notorious Cap Engano until we were off Punta Cana and then we would make the decision to either continue to cross Mona or fall off to the marina. The first 80 nm leg started at 16:00 hours and as the night progressed all went to plan until, yes, Stonewall Jackson quit again. What could it be…I first went to the fuel filter on the engine as the Racors all looked perfect, sure enough there was air in the filter, in its self not a problem as it is easy enough to bleed the air out, but where was it getting in? I bled the air and tightened all hose clamps and fittings I could see in the hope I would eliminate the culprit. When we stop the boat she always lies in the troughs of the seas and we were experiencing 7’ – 10’ swells with 4’ -6’ seas on top which are fine while underway but not when one is wallowing at a dead stop in their troughs. It would be too bravado of me to say it is not frightening, it is! The intermittent stopping continued about every 10 – 15 minutes and was becoming impossible, Lavinia was becoming distraught and me just plain tired and whipped. We decided to abort and go to Cap Cana and like our wounds. Bill came on the radio, all was well with them, I told him what we had decided, his reply was to reconfirm his companionship and that he would stay with us if we wanted to try to cross to Isla de Mona, which is a small island half way across the passage, where we could anchor in comfort and effect some repairs. After another talk HT and I decided to go for it…we did have some more stoppages but each time I torqued the central filter bolt a little more in the hope that was the source of allowing the air into the filter, it worked! We were able to continue to Isla de Mona without further stoppage.
|Inside the reef|
|Our friend's boat 'Ann Louise' a 48' Kadey Krogen|
|Isla de Caja de Muertos|