5.11.2010

Ile La Vache | Haiti

This post will be just one in a series of blog postings on Ile La Vache. We arrived at Port Morgan after sailing about 27 hours from Isla Beata, Dominican Republic. Port Morgan is a wonderful well protected bay on the Northwest side of the island. In fact the name of this anchorage comes from the famous pirate “Captain Morgan” that visited this site often in the past. We love this place and intend to visit it again on our next voyage. There is no electricity or running water on the island. Time stands still here with a very simple way of life. The people are warm and inviting. Many individuals have brought food and gifts to our boat without expecting anything in return. They arrive in there dugout canoes that are hand hewn from a single large log and stand politely along the side of the boat to talk with us. The language here is Creole and French. We do not speak the language but manage to communicate enough to make do. We are trying to learn the language a little each day. There are many needs here on the island. In no particular order they include, medical supplies, tools, diapers, formula, money for primary education, water purification tablets and much much more. The children here must pay to go to primary and secondary school. We intend to sponsor several individuals and pay for there school for one year before we leave. The cost is about $50 per year per child. We invite you to participate if you wish. We will be here a few more days as we wait for favorable weather to make the several day passage from here to the Florida Keys and on to St Petersburg. The Admiral will be posting on our recent visit to an orphanage on the island and a walk through the pages of National Geographic as we visited the local market. More to come soon!

Salinas Dominican Republic | Cruising

The harbor at Salinas is one days sail from Boca Chica. The harbor entry is well marked and fairly straight forward. Beware of an unlit and unmarked fish farm when approaching the main harbor entrance from the south. It is located at about N18 13.50 and W 070 33.84. We were made aware of this fish farm in the Dominican Republic cruising guide but the coordinates were way off. Be aware and stand a good watch! Once you enter the harbor there is a marked channel leading to the hotel to the south with approach depths to the dock of over 10 feet. The holding is good in the area of the hotel. The high rugged mountains to the north of the harbor are beautiful and the beaches are snow white. We arrived just before sunset and had to off load the dinghy in order to meet the Marina de Gueira and Navy representative at the hotel dock. The Marina de Gueira is the Dominican Republic’s Coast Guard. When you arrive at a new port they must come to your boat and inspect it and receive the dispatch papers that you were given when you departed your last port. You are then required to obtain a new dispatch before leaving again. This is a cumbersome process that is required by the port authorities. We picked up two individuals and brought them to the boat for the official visit and then returned them to the dock. The harbor is beautiful and well protected. There are many homes along the shore on the southwest end and a commercial ship yard on the east end. The hotel is on the south end of the harbor and has slips available for $10 per day. The electricity does not work and there is no dockside water. The hotel owner/manager is very helpful and the food is good. The prices are a bit high by Dominican standards but this hotel serves the crews and guests of the commercial ships that are at the shipyard. These individuals generally have expense accounts and he has smartly adjusted his pricing and service for this clientele just as he should. The town is clean and quiet with small stores located along the main road. We went to the Caribbean side of the beach and found several choice pieces of sea glass. Sea glass has a great history and hunting it has become one of the admiral’s favorite hobbies. She can spend days on a single beach inspecting every square inch within 30 feet of the surf. The beaches on the Caribbean side of this town are lined with highly polished stones from agate size to the size of a large softball. They are polished to a smooth high gloss from years of being tumbled in the sand and surf. The sand is a dark brown and gets quite hot to the bare foot in the mid-day sun. We found the people of this area to be warm, helpful, inviting and friendly. We had some difficulty receiving a dispacho (dispatch) from this port. Thanks to Frank a Dorthy (a German couple) for helping us with our limited Spanish. We have since heard that no more dispatches will be issued from Salinas and cruisers must report to Barahona for dispatchos before leaving port. We received our dispatcho for Jamaica just in case we wished to stop there but our intentions were to go to Ile La Vache in Haiti and then to the United States. Since there are no custom or immigration officials in Ile la Vache we did not want to get the dispatch to that port. We also stopped at Isla Bieta in the Dominican Republic on the way to Ile La Vache to rest and enjoy the wonderful water and fish camps on the island. We explained to the Marina de Gueira that our engine was running a bit warm and we needede to stop and access the situation before we could continue. They allowed us to stay two days with no problems and could have stayed longer.

Boca Chica | Dominican Republic | Marina ZAR-PAR | Cruising

Boca Chica took one long day to reach by sail. We had following winds and seas the entire day. We spent several days at Marina ZAR-PAR after leaving Casa de Campo in La Romana. We were certainly spoiled by Casa de Campo’s excellent service and facilities. We were pleased when we arrived at the harbor entrance to Boca Chica to learn that the Marina Manager was going to meet us in his dinghy to escort us through the narrow entrance channel to the marina. The entrance is marked but can be a bit intricate once past the markers. If you read the water well and favor port on entry, you will be in the channel. The charts do not show the reef that extends the entire length of Boca Chica so be sure to follow the buoyed channel near the commercial harbor. We contacted them first by phone and then switched to radio. Frank from Casa de Campo provided the phone number to us on departure. Raul Medina is the marina manager at ZAR-PAR and his personal cell phone number as of this writing is 829-520-8905. His email is rmedina@marinazarpar.com and the marina website is www. Marinazarpar.com The marina is fairly new and well built to quality standards. There are gazebo type structures placed throughout the marina that are great spots to relax, play card and board games or enjoy a beverage in the cool shade. The electrical panels are US standards and work well. The marina advertises cable but it does not work. The water is included in the price of the slip but it is NOT potable. We purchased five gallon bottles of RO water to fill our tanks before departure for about $1.50 per five gallon jug. It took two days to get it after requesting it but it did arrive. We used a local mechanic to remove the oil from our engine and his charge was about $30 US. We provided our own oil and filter. Raul works very hard to make your stay very comfortable and seems to run around the entire day taking care of little things that others did not get taken care of or do correctly. If you need water or services be sure to make your request early and follow up several times to make sure it is done on time. Expect some delays and minor complications. Our stay had to be extended due to false expectations of on time delivery of water. Also expect to pay for each service independently. The marina does not compile a bill for all charges as one might expect. The marina also has a fuel dock that can present a bit of a challenge for deep draft boats or when the winds are not favorable. It is not situated on a T dock as most fuel docks are built and you pay separately for the fuel. You can also expect loud music well into the night, as is in keeping with the local culture. Over all we had some very wonderful experiences in Boca Chica. The Dominican Republic cruising guide indicates that there are near by beaches but we found them to be heavily littered with trash, glass and debris. The local jet skis and speed boats are quite reckless and freely move about within the swimming areas. We recommend a visit to Marina Zar-Par but, be mindful of the level of your expectations. Raul is a great guy and a wonderful resource that makes this place work.