3.11.2010

Luperon, Dominican Republic | Yacht Club | Fuel Filters

We went to the Luperon Yacht Club shortly after our initial arrival in Luperon but it was Monday and that is the only day they are closed. We were impressed with the building and grounds as well as the two clean swimming pools that overlook the bay.

We had planned on returning but our many excursions to visit historical sites in the area delayed our visit until yesterday. There is a cruisers radio event on CH 72 on Wednesday and Sunday each week. We sent out a message that we were still looking for fuel filters for our external Racor fuel filtering system for diesel fuel. It seems that the extra filters I thought I had vaporized or perhaps were mistakenly removed from the boat during our preparation for our voyage. There was simply no way we were going to leave Luperon without spare filters on board. We looked in Luperon, Puerto Plata and Sontiago for our 500 FG filter cartridges but none were to be found. Another cruiser called us on the radio and told us to hail Andy on OB-LA-DI and we did but there was no response. It seems that Andy is “the filter guy” in Luperon. Then yet another friendly cruiser told us to hail Joe and Kim at the Luperon Yacht Club as Andy was temporarily away. Joe and Kim invited us over to have a look at our filter needs and perhaps they could get in touch with Andy and gain access to his filter supply. They called Andy and he did have the exact cartridge that we needed and told them how to find them. By 5PM we had our filters with additional assistance from AL.
The service from Joe, Kim and Al was way beyond expectations and will allow us to depart safely with spare filters.

Andy has a business here called “Filterboss” , it is a diesel fuel filter system that polishes and switches fuel filters with audible warnings before filter failure. You can reach Andy in Luperon by hailing OB-LA-DI or visit his website at KTISYSTEMS.COM. The filters were very fairly priced.

The Yacht club is a friendly restaurant with great views of the harbor and wonderful food. They are closed Mondays and open 12 – 9 other days. It is truly a family atmosphere offering trivia pursuit on Thursday night and musical jam sessions on Sunday with daily happy hour for all to enjoy. They will also gladly assist boaters with other issues just as they did for us with our filters. Be sure to visit the Luperon Yacht Club and say hello to Joe and Kim.

3.08.2010

Luperon, Dominican Republic | Cruisers Perspective | Sailing

We have been in Luperon for about a week now and hope to squeeze out in a day or two on the next weather window for Samana and then across the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico.

Luperon is a significant historical site. These deep protected bays provide the best harbor on the island of Hispanola. In November of 1492 Martin Pizon anchored the stolen Pinta off the low cliff face on the east side of the entrance channel to trade with the Indians for gold. Columbus’ guys found him when their longboat rounded Cape Isabela from El Castillo looking for the Nina’s next anchorage. We entered on this historical site.

We used Van Sant’s cruising book for waypoints and visual range to make our landfall and it was spot on the mark. We were a bit surprised to see so many boats in this harbor after leaving the remote out islands of the Bahamas. There are about 60-70 boats in this harbor, mostly sailing vessels but a few trawlers. Some are active cruisers and some seem to have been here for a very long time and still others seem to be in disrepair and abandoned. We arrived on a Sunday and the entry officials had gone home so we went ashore without clearing in with the proper authorities. We ran the gambit the next day with Customs, Immigration, Agriculture and the Comandoncia of the Port Authority. Our total expense to clear in was about $86 dollars and was quite painless with no signs of the reported “gifts” that many speak of in other blogs or posts. We were told by other cruisers the Dominican Navy was looking for us and that we had to clear in with them as well. A navy representative tracked us down in town a few days later and asked me to meet him at Puerto Blanco marina with my dinghy so he could come to our boat for an official inspection. This was also painless as I joked with him and asked if the Navy did not have any boats. I also told him that I would have to charge him for the ride to my boat. He laughed and we parted to meet in about one hour at the marina. I arrived at the appointed time and he and another navy representative with clipboards climbed aboard our tender for a short ride to Mary Rose. Once aboard he asked for the usual documentation papers for the boat and completed his form. Then there was some conversation regarding “no official fees” for the navy inspection but they did accept donations. I smiled and said “of course, I have half for you of what you have for me!” He laughed and patted me on the shoulder as this is a familiar exchange in Latin America when one returns from a trip. I went below and opened an ice cold beer and the two men shared it as I pored them a ration of Jim Beam from the Captain’s locker. Later before leaving the ship, I gave them each a very small donation and they were quite satisfied and responded that the Navy would be watchful of our vessel and protect us. This process was quite painless and an enjoyable exchange.

Luperon is a small agricultural based community on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. One must not confuse the lack of familiar sophistication with the lack of warmth, charm and integrity. The people here have been extremely helpful, honest and welcoming. The small homes along the city streets are clean and inviting. There happened to be a main street rebuilding project in progress that made terrestrial navigation a bit difficult due to several days of rain and drizzle.

We went to the local farmers market last Tuesday morning and were amazed at the abundance and quality of the fresh grown fruits and veggies. We purchased about 30 pounds of potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage, pineapple and fresh herbs for less than $12 US. We brought them back to the boat and washed them in sea water and then gave them a fresh water rinse with a small amount of bleach to kill any larva or bugs. The items are all organic, grown with out any chemicals and the flavor is amazing. One tip we can give you is to use the fresh fruits right away. The produce here is picked as vine or tree ripened, unlike the states where items are picked green so they can ripen in the process of transportation and storage. The pineapple is like eating candy and the sweetest I have ever tasted. The remainder of our provisioning took place in Santiago a few days later. We rented car and driver for about $50 US to drive us to Santiago and take us to the various shops and stores. We had to pick up some engine filters and get eye glasses repaired as well as food provisions. Be sure to look up Nino for your transportation needs if you find yourself in Luperon.

We also were in need of fuel and water since we had not filled our tanks since we left Georgetown, Bahamas. We learned of “Handy Andy” from a cruising guide and he stopped by our boat before we even had a chance to call him on the VHF. We made arrangements for him and Pabo to bring fuel and water to the boat a few days later. The diesel fuel was pumped directly into our tanks from a bulk tank fitted on a special fuel transport boat and the water was purified RO water in five gallon jugs. Handy Andy carried the water down the companionway and filled our tanks for about $1.50 per five gallons. The diesel fuel was $4.50 per gallon delivered. The prices were fair and service was outstanding. I highly recommend the services of Handy Andy and Pabo. They will also scrape your boat bottom, watch your boat, and do cleaning services and any thing else you require. We also rented a mooring from them for $2 per day for the remainder of our stay. This is a deep harbor and it requires a lot of chain to be let out for good holding in the deep muddy bottom. We do not want to waste a lot of time washing ground tackle as we are trying to depart on a weather window so we took the mooring.


We have had a chance to visit many of the local markets and restaurants here in Luperon. There are a few restaurants that are run by US citizens that have made Luperon their home as well as those from other countries. The first place we visited on arrival was Shaggy’s and we found it to warm and inviting. Shaggy is a wealth of information and his food and beverage is fairly priced. He offers free internet service to his customers and hosts a local musician’s night on Wednesday. This is a must attend event that will give you hours of fun and entertainment all for the price of your favorite beverage. If you play an instrument be sure to bring it and join in the fun. Shaggy even helped us secure a local cell phone for about $15 that he will buy back when we depart. We enjoyed Shaggy’s very much and recommend you stop and see for yourself. We also ate a several of the local cafĂ©’s and found there food to be fresh, high quality and priced well below what one would expect. Captain Steve has a unique restaurant and bar that offers internet, showers, swimming pool, hammocks, food and beverage. The amenities are included for twelve hours with the purchase of a meal. We found Steve and Annie to be welcoming and helpful and also on our recommended list.

As we walked the streets we found open air clothing sales of new brand name clothes and shoes priced for pennies on the dollar. We were told that the folks selling the goods were Haitians and the clothes were donations that churches and others in the United States had provided to them. I was told there is an over supply of clothes and shoes in Haiti and that is why they bring them here to sell. My first thought was, why are people sending stuff they don’t need? I need to blog about this and help get it stopped so the right stuff gets to them. After further thought and investigation is seems that this process works just fine. You see, if you send them money it will never get to the people that need it. It is not feasible to send them high quality fresh food that they do need. So send the clothes and shoes. It gets passed on to the poor and needy and they sell what they do not need and buy high quality fresh food and take it back to Haiti.

We have spent several long days ashore getting our blog caught up, downloading photos, talking to loved ones on skype and relaxing. When we leave it is very dark and there are but a few street lights along the way to the government docks where the dinghy dock is located. We try not to use the flashlight as it kills our night vision. There is another bonus to saving our night vision. The harbor water in Luperon is teaming with organic life; fish, crabs, algae, bioluminous organisms and more. When we board the dinghy and start across the harbor the biolumious organisms begin to activate with a purple white glow all around the dingy wherever the water is disturbed. Some of you may have seen the cars at night that have the neon lights in the undercarriage? Well that is the appearance of our dinghy going across the harbor. The bow wave, the wake and the turbulence for the propeller all seem to be generating light. But wait there is more: as we motor through the water, the fish swim to avoid our dinghy and motor and they also activate the microscopic creatures that create the glow. So we get to watch this wonderful show of fish streaking just under the surface of the water that give the effect of neon bottle rockets being blasted off from the front underside of our dinghy. So maybe we stay in town a bit late after dark just to watch the show on the way back to Mary Rose.

Luperon has been a wonderful experience but it is time to leave as we make our way further east. There appears to be a marginal window opening up in the next 48 hours for a passage to Samana in the Northeast tip of the Dominican Republic. From there we make the crossing of the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico then on to the BVI. We hope to be able to make another stop in Luperon on our return trip to Florida.

3.06.2010

Luperon Dominican Republic | Haircut | Lost in translation

The Admiral was busy downloading photos and blogging so it seemed appropriate for the Captain to seek out an local establishment for a much needed haircut. I was getting a little (read alot) shaggy around the edges and neck line. So down the street I go and just two blocks away I found a beauty shop in a very small one room building. I inquired about a haircut but to my disappointment they would only do chicas. I asked where there was a barber shop for hombres and he pointed down the street and on the right. Just as I was leaving a young Dominican girl said "hello my friend" in perfect english and asked if I was looking for a haircut. She told me that her aunt cuts hair and would give me a hair cut. I said "OK" and we walked around the corner to her aunt's house and made the deal. I sat out on the front porch in a wondeful old chair and bathe towel around my shoulders for a hair cut. She asked me (in spanish) how much I wanted to take off and I replied in my best spanish "just a little. Solomente poco, mas o minos". I sat for a short time as the sissors went to work and in less than thirty minutos, I was handed a 2 inch round mirror to look at the completed hair cut. It looked a little short but I did not have my glasses on so I paid her and as I walked out she pointed to a larger mirror on the wall. This time I had my glasses on and got a good look at the trim job. I thought I was looking at someone else in the mirror. It seems that I had lost my hair in translation. What was meant to be only take off a little bit was recieved as only leave a little bit! Yikes! My hair is shorter now that it has ever been in my life and my forehead is bigger than it has ever been in my life. Oh well! I got my money's worth and it will grow back.... won't it????????? Even better......... flesh is a better color than grey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3.04.2010

Sailing Pics | Finally, Pics Of Mary Flying | Spinnaker!

Thank you Krzysztof (Kris) for photograhing Mary Rose V!



Kris and Ania are bicycling around the world! http://www.rowerami.info/

Waterfalls in Imbert, Dominican Republic

We read about the cascades in several publications as well as heard about them from many locals as a must do experience. Our expedition team consisted of Don, myself and a couple friends we have met during our travels Mike (S/V This End Up) Ania who with her boyfriend are bicycling around the world, please visit their web-site http://www.rowerami.info/. It took the 4 of us roughly 40 minutes to arrive at the mountain that contained our awaiting treasure. The journey to the mountain was a bit alarming since I am not convinced the bus we rode in had brakes. For those of you that have enjoyed a Manhattan cab ride double that experience and that may come close to a ride on the Luperon city bus which is disguised as a beat up mini van. Once we arrived we had to make the decision to visit 7, 12 or 24 waterfalls. Upon further inquires we found out that the trip would consist of trails through water and via land, rock climbing and waterfall climbing on the way up and sliding down or jumping off waterfalls on the way down. After careful consideration we decided to do the middle ground of 12. We set off on our journey of self discovery and to enjoy the true beauty of the world in which we reside. The trails were easy enough but may I say climbing up a waterfall is not a simple task to accomplish. Thankfully our guides, Chichi and Giau (short for Giauvanni) were excellent leaders as each of struggled with foot and hand placement they jumped and climbed the rocks as if they were half cheetah. They enhanced our exploration by providing entertainment; humor and making us feel exceedingly welcome in their backyard playground. They were perfect gentlemen and always ready to lend a helping hand when needed they even gave us facials! The sights that began to surround us were amazing, very spiritual. If you closed your eyes you could almost hear the echo of laughter of the young Indian children that once ran through the creeks, climbed the rocks and splashed around in the crystal clear pools that lay below the waterfalls. This location is by far the most spiritual, soul clenching, peaceful, romantic place I have ever experienced. We spent nearly 4 hours in this stunning, breath-taking location, running through creeks, climbing rock walls and waterfalls, jumping, sliding, diving into the water from 12 different cascades To take it all in was a bit awe-inspiring but we all received blessing in many individual ways. The price for the guides to the waterfall …$12 US dollars a piece excluding tips… price for the lifelong memories.. priceless. I highly recommend this voyage if you ever find yourself in the D.R. the landscape is unscathed by man except for the trails, the slides are made my nature. One bit of advice if you have a piece of good fortune to visit Luperon plan your waterfall adventure early in the morning as we did or you may discover yourself feeling like you are at Disneyland without the turnstiles. There are several resorts near by and they usher all the guests to the falls and as we were finishing our trip the tourists were beginning to arrive in what appeared to be human cattle cars and there were way too many for our preference.