Travel day! We cleared out of the Bahamas the previous day and are heading to the Dominican
Republic. We leave Abraham’s Bay,
Mayaguana around 7am the 29th
of March. After an hour of motor sailing, we shut down
the engine and sail 3-4 knots. The wind
begins to shift and we pick up speed to 5-6-7 knots. Smooth seas, sun out, music on, what more can
I say, it’s a great day out on the water.
We’re comfortable and cruising fast towards our destination, French Cay,
located in the Turks and Caicos. We plan
to spend the night there and then continue on to the Dominican Republic the
|Sara at Luperon bay|
By 6pm, we arrive at the south-end of West Caicos, only
16-miles to go. We turn the corner and
beat (this is when the wind is on the nose of the boat, a hard point of sail)
across the banks the last 16-miles, elongating our trip another 6 hours. Navigating into the anchorage by midnight, we
drop the anchor and crash out. Tomorrow
will be longer yet.
|Lind sighted - West Caicos|
|West Caicos sailing by|
|Nelly wedge against the starboard side|
Six hours of sleep, if that, we wake up to the weather
forecast. Not sounding good for our
original plan to cross the banks to east Turks and cross to the Dominican
Republic from there. Mike hails the
other sailboats in the anchorage to see if anyone is heading to the DR. Lucky us, two are heading straight there and
two are heading across the banks. We
leave shortly with Wayward Wind and Spray, both heading in the same
direction. This is great news, to have
other sailors within radio contact for a long crossing, one of the toughest
in the Caribbean chain. We head
southeast to the Dominican Republic.
|Food along the way|
|Mike at the helm|
The wind direction starts in the northeast, shifting to the
east later in the day. We start out
flying, sailing 7 knots, close to our maximum hull speed, but eventually slow
down as the wind shifts more out of the east.
In total, we sailed 35 hours from French Cay to reach our destination of
Luperon, Dominican Republic by 6pm the following day.
|Nelly learned to switch bunks for each tack|
By nightfall, our progress slowed and we reefed in the sails
to feel more comfortable while traveling in the dark. We motor sailed on and off as needed for speed and battery charging, a total of 14 hours with the engine on. By 9pm, we
were ready to begin actual shifts at the helm (steering the boat). I took the first shift from 9pm to midnight,
while Mike napped below. Mike took over
from 12am - 3:30am and then I picked up from 3:30am-sunrise (6:30am). At sunrise, I spotted LAND! The beautiful green, jutting mountains of
the Dominican Republic were a drastic difference from the flat and barren
islands of the Bahamas, which don’t peak above 300 feet.
|Sunrise at sea|
We were so close to somewhere new and
exciting! I go down below and nap until 9:30am at which time I go into
the aft cabin to get some drinking water before heading up to the cockpit with
Mike. To my unpleasant surprise, I see a
couple inches of water on the floor and the water jugs floating. For those that have a hard time waking up in
the mornings, this will do it – the rush of adrenaline that the boat may be
sinking is not a good one. I call up to
Mike that there is water in the back room and he says, “Of course there is,
that’s where the water is kept”. I
relay, not that type of water and he comes jumping down below.
To our good fortune it was a simple fix. We could see land, but were still 9 miles
north of getting there and 23 miles from Luperon further east. Mike identifies the problem, a leak in the
cooling line to the engine. I shut off
the engine, while Mike goes below to repair the leak.
|Entering Luperon harbor|
During this time, there is not the slightest breeze, so the
Tanqueray is left bouncing around in the sea, getting closer and closer to
Haiti than the DR. Once the engine is
fixed, we turn it on and start to make some headway towards our destination,
|Nelly at anchorage in Luperon|
|Luperon harbor - boats at anchor|
|Egrets at anchorage|
Tack in, tack out, we work our way up the coast trying to
lay the Luperon entrance with the wind on our nose. Finally we get close enough to lay the
entrance with the engine on. We’re
heading in. It’s the most beautiful,
calmest entrance we have seen, and maybe we are biased after being at sea for
35 hours, but we already love it here.
Granted the water is not crystal clear, as in the Bahamas, but the tall green
mountains and cliffs dropping into the sea are a stark contrast to the sandy, flat
We see fisherman at work, in wooden canoes, as we enter the
harbor and then a multitude of sailboats, mostly blue water cruisers, while we
enter in our 32-foot weekend warrior, as Mike calls her.
|In town in Luperon|
We have arrived, 193 miles from the Bahamas! We have about 2 weeks to explore the
Dominican Republic before we need to head back to Crooked Island to pick up our
guests, Cindy and Matt. The food is great here, fresh fruits and vegetables, the people are amazingly friendly, the scenery is beautiful and it is HOT.
|Mike celebrating arrival to the DR|