We sailed overnight to Samana bay. Cruise ships stop at Samana so their passengers can go whale watching in this bay where humpback whales nurse their calves. We spent a few days in the main town of Samana before deciding to see more of the bay.
We sailed across the bay to Los Haitises National Park which Bruce van Sant called the “Bora Bora of the Caribbean”. There were 4 boats that sailed with us that day and we out sailed them all…the nearest boat to us was Broad Reaching…fortunately we reached the objective bay and stopped the “race” before they could catch us!
We toured into the mangroves in our dinghies to see the caves and pictographs left by the indigenous Taïno.
Pictographs in the Cuevas Ferrocarril (Railway Caves, named such because a railway used to run past the mouth of the caves) show that herons were common in those days as well.
And of course we socialized with other boaters that we have met along the way…
It was another overnight sail, complete with frightening thunder cells and rain squalls, to get to Ocean World Marina near Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. Ocean World Marina has a Marine Park, similar to that in San Diego including friendly dolphins, and a casino. The marina was clean and secure and fairly empty, so we were able to negotiate a reasonable rate with them. But there WAS a lot of surge here and the authorities (Coast Guard/Military) will not issue a clearance to leave this marina if the swells/seas are too large.
Richard and I hired a taxi for a day to explore Puerto Plata that included a visit to the central square, the old Spanish fort, a cigar factory and the requisite visit to the local rum distillery. The Brugal Rum Distillery was actually a blending and bottling plant, the rum having been distilled far away amid the cane fields. But we were able to taste and purchase their product.
We rented a car one day with the crew off Broad Reaching: Steve and Jerry. Richard drove around the area and we experienced the local parade at Luperon for their Independence day. We ate dinner at a truck stop – lots of meat and rice. For vitiamins one needs to eat the marvelous local fruits.
The driving in the DR is quite different than at home. The locals use mainly motorcycles and scooters, even most taxis are motorcycles… It is like a race when the lights turn green and all the motorcycles try to get out in front of the cars.