Coming from a place where rules, guidelines and order are not only expected but also enforced truly makes you wonder who has it right. As we sit in DR we see there really are no rules – none that really matter or make any sense. The driving rules are nonexistent since cars, bikes, horses, donkeys, and cows all share the roads at any given time. The DR has zero concept of OSHA. We see some strange electric setups and the dock guys swing sledgehammers right next to your boats 😲
There aren’t any rules like FDA or USDA for meats and veggies since we buy some of our meat from a butcher right off the side of the road who uses a tree trunk as a chopping block and our veggies are a few doors down – very similar to a roadside stand. (I didn’t get a picture of the snail in my lettuce) 🐌
We’ve heard rumors about sewage flowing into the harbor but I’m not totally convinced that’s entirely accurate. Anyhow – even with the lack of rules and guidelines we are still just amazed and still in awe of the Dominican Republic. We are having the time of our lives here and continue to see some of the most gorgeous flowers & foliage.
As mentioned in our last blog we’re renting a motorcycle during our stay here. We’ve enjoyed riding through the countryside and seeing so much of the small towns in and around Luperon. We went on a road trip with Bob who rented us the bike and he took us around a few places they love to ride and we ended up in Punta Rucia. This is a vacation resort place with pretty beaches and all kinds of cool tourist things to do. We took a few pictures of the place then headed back after about a 2 hour ride. It was a beautiful day for a motorcycle ride.
We met a Canadian couple (Aron & Liz) who bought a home in Puerto Plata and fly back and forth from time to time. They invited us over to see their gorgeous house and then took us to Cabarete which is about 45 mins south of Puerto Plata. The beach there was very cool, it was like a copper color and a very popular place for kite surfing. There were probably about a hundred kite surfers out on the water so we stopped for lunch then walked the beach for awhile. We’ll definitely go back especially once Aron & Liz come back. They’ve invited us to Toronto if we get tired of the sun in DR or want a change in scenery. Jeff had to joke around with them about not owning any long johns to keep us warm if we did visit. We’re not sure how we’d react in cold weather, we haven’t seen or felt any in over a year now. (I’m really not bragging just stating the facts 😁)
I’ve gotten involved with the Dogs & Cats of the DR and attended a couple of volunteer events. The first one was collecting the locals pets who needed spay & neutering. We would check them in and load them up to be taken to Puerto Plata for the operation the next day. The dogs were returned to their owners later that evening with instructions on how to care for them over the next few days. The second event was the Park Parasite Clinic. These are held the first Tuesday of every month and the locals bring their pets for the parasites, fleas & ticks prevention meds. We saw 93 animals on May 2nd and even with the not so friendly dogs or the ones who’ve never had a bath we all enjoyed the day and we’re happy to be there. These programs are free to the locals and have been extremely successful over several years and the trust and friendships with the locals is an awesome experience, not to mention the love we get to pour over all those sweet dogs & cats.
Along with all the fun we’ve been having we still have boat projects as well so it’s not all fun & games. We were shocked and very lucky to find a welder right in town who was able to weld our broken bracket back together. We had to take time out to fix the alternator bracket and get it installed and we also learned how to splice a couple of anchor lines.
Jeff was supposed to leave for a few weeks to help Gene on s/v Bluebonnet get his boat over to Puerto Rico from Punta Cana DR and I was going to stay in Luperon with the dogs and the boat. Gene showed up on Monday afternoon and began his smooth talking and convinced me to take a “paid vacation” along with the dogs and join them! I honestly was looking forward to some me time, but the more we discussed it and the more Gene persisted – it was an easy choice. So by Wednesday morning we packed up the dogs, secured the boat leaving a couple of new friends watching it while we left and headed towards Punta Cana. After a couple days of provisioning, vet visit for the dogs, fueling and cleaning Genes boat we planned to leave CapCana Marina in Punta Cana DR on Saturday morning.
A few snags began to ensue while we waited for our Despacio (the approval from the Navy to actually leave the island). First – Gene discovered that his US Coast Guard documents had been washed in his shorts pocket a few weeks back. As he attempted to carefully unfold these precious soaking wet papers they began to shred. <Sigh> Now what? Well as all good boaters usually have last years (expired) papers on board – the 4 officials (Navy Camadante, Immigration, Customs, and Intelligence) were all in a good mood and laughed at the situation. Jeff was concerned that we left our Agriculture documents for the dogs entry into DR but no issue there as they didn’t even ask to see anything (since we were departing the country). Once all the passports were stamped and all the documents completed we headed for the channel to make our exit around 10am. It wasn’t a minute after Gene said he saw depths of 7.6 (his keel draws 7 feet) we found ourselves grounded hard on rocks right in the center of the channel!
We were stuck and stuck good, he tried reverse & forward but we weren’t budging. Gene had to call the marina who sent in the rescue boat (for a small fee) to pull us off the rocks. (Side note: Gene grounded his boat coming into this marina some 30+ days before 😖.) After securing a line from the bow of the boat they were only able to get us turned around so we threw them the spare halyard which is attached to the mast to get the boat to tip sideways as well as pull the front which worked like a charm. So we were delayed about 2 hours with all that – but once we went back to the marina, spoke with the Dock Master, paid the small fee ($100 US and all of Genes DR money, he wasn’t sure how much he had but gave it to them graciously) we were headed to Isla de Mona about 40 miles away (nearly 1/2 way to PR) for the night.
We made it in right before sunset so we chose a spot & dropped the anchor, and set in for a rolly night. Bluebonnet is an extremely heavy boat so it handles rolls very well. We had a quick meal then headed down for some sleep after such a stressful morning. We all got up early on Monday morning and now we’re making the last 50 mile trek over to Mayaguez Puerto Rico. We will clear in there with US Customs & Immigration, and then slowly make our way over to Ponce Puerto Rico where Gene will leave his boat and fly us (& the dogs) back to Santo Domingo Dominican Republic. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us over the next couple of weeks with Gene and we’re very lucky to do this trip on someone else’s boat before we have to make it later in the year. We’ll be sure to take a ton of pictures and share them as soon as possible. Here’s a bit of our trip so far:
Until next time, sending up prayers and virtual hugs to you all! 😘💞⛵