Samana to Punta Macao
Sunday, April 29: We checked out of Samana with Comendante Sheppard. It is an irritating fact of life in the DR, that foreign vessels have to check out and in of every port. Nearly all other countries only require checking in at the port of entry and checking out at the port of departure. In fairness to the Dominicans, there is a smuggling problem: Humans from Haiti, and drugs through the DR to Puerto Rico to the Continental USA. We left the Marina, along with North Star and a catamaran, Prowler Cat, at 5:00 PM on the 30th, the latest the Comendante would allow, and had an uneventful, but bumpy, sail to Punta Macao. We arrived early in the morning, and were soon visited by Navy officials checking our papers. Everything was in order. Punta Macao was, briefly, a quiet anchorage with a long beautiful beach. Two boats arrived before us, Prowler Cat, and North Star. Prowler Cat got in much earlier than us, but North Star was just ahead of us. They are a faster boat than us, but they spent the night tacking back and forth, where we motored in a straight course into the wind. Before long, the beach started to fill up with many more people than we expected on a Monday, and we discovered that it was the DR equivalent of labor day. Loud music all day long while we were trying to get some sleep. It wasn’t too bad for us, but Prowler Cat, having anchored closer, got the worst of it, They even had two groups of partiers swim out to their boat, one, a group of Russians, climbed aboard uninvited. We wondered aloud: “In what culture is this acceptable behavior”. 62 nm.
Punta Macao to Boqueron, Puerto Rico (Mona Passage)
Tuesday, May 1, morning. We left The Dominican Republic according to a formula we used for all our future legs. Being the slower boat, we left at midnight and our buddy boats left two hours later. This is a long leg of about 100 miles, and we needed to time it right. Weather reports indicated this would be a good day to make this trip, as there was a substantial wind shadow from Puerto Rico along our route. The trick is to start early in the morning and get out to the wind shadow by sunrise, and to proceed across during the daylight hours, arriving after dark in Puerto Rico. Our sail went according to plan, starting rough, settling down to less than 10 knots during the day, and picking up as we approached the coast of PR. We motorsailed hard, tacking back and forth a bit, and around 8:00 PM, Salli noticed more smoke than usual from the engine. A minute later the engine stopped. We were in deep water with little wind, and small waves, so there was no urgency. We decided to continue on under sail which took us several hours. There was a narrow entrance we need to motor through to get into Boqueron Harbor. Tthe engine started and ran fine for several minutes as required. We anchored at 4:00 AM. 131 nm.
Boqueron, Puerto Rico
We spent nearly a week here, trying to figure out what the problem was with the motor, and waiting for the wind to settle a bit. Boqueron is a nice town with a tourist economy and a nice beach. There was no place to check in, so we had to get a taxi to take us to nearby Mayaguez. It was nice to be back in the USA again with Border Control agents with bulky bulletproof vests. Salli got them to stamp her passport, something they normally don’t do.
Eventually, we got tired of waiting, and started our journey across the south coast with our friends in North Star.