Dominican Republic North Coast
4th March 2011 - 16th March 2011
Luperon – Samana
As a sudden nightly rain-shower cleared up, gray-green mountains loomed ahead in the morning light. We could smell the nature from miles out: blossoms, decaying leaves, rain. We had never sailed in a mountainous landscape before, and strained to find the entrance to Luperon’s sheltered bay somewhere between the lush green slopes ahead. We realized we had come to a different area than the flat island archipelago of the Bahama chain. The Dominican Republic is high, green, rugged, damp, Latin, cheerful, cheap and most of all incredibly welcoming to foreign visitors. It seems there is only one rule in the DR; smile
Luperon, a destination famous among the sailing community for its hurricane-proof bay, is kind of a craphole really. It has a lot of charm with its chaotic little streets and latin vibe, but unfortunately we found it is also being used as a prostitution-holiday destination (hoerisme?). “Are you looking for a Domincan girlfriend?” Even the lady from Immigrations offered her looks to us (see picture). We saw a couple of nasty fights take place and as anyone may openly carry a gun in the DR, we felt we had to be on guard.
Luperon was also like a mini high-school reunion, since Jos sailed down to the DR with us and Bart joined us in Luperon. What a feeling, walking through the jungly little village many realities away from home, accompanied by three of my best friends from school. At moments it made us wonder if we’re ever going to grow up…
Maarten, Jos and Adriaan desperately needed the comforts of civilization after so many weeks of anchoring at remote spots, so we spent entire days on the internet and playing pool in a local restaurant with exquisite tortillas. One day we paid a couple of local motortaxi-drivers to use their bikes and explored a bit of the interior, definitely the best way to travel on land!
Jos left us in Luperon to head back home via Miami, while we sailed out to Cambiaso for our first trip with Bart. Only 5 miles from Luperon, it was suddenly the middle of nowhere. We felt really free playing football on the beach with the locals, being the only foreign yacht in the little bay. The next day the beach was swamped by +/- 70 tourists, who invaded the tiny village from a huge catamaran. The little community clearly lived on these visits, as the entire population was there making lunches and selling necklaces on the beach.
After Cambiaso, we covered the rest of the north coast within three days. We made a short stop in Puerto Plata to restock on engine-parts and plunder the casino, but apart from that it was mainly making the most of the favourable northerly winds. It’s a beautiful stretch, with steep cliffs rising out of the sea and whales on their yearly trek greeting us along the way.