Right here started our tour of this contrasts associated with the Dominican Republic even as we cruised from small fishing villages to bustling metropolitan areas (posted August 2016)
Departing Ile ‘a Vache Haiti, we sailed 140 nautical miles along the southern coastline of Hispaniola to make very first land in Dominican Republic (D.R.) at island of Isla Beata (“bee-AHH-tah”). One c
annot clear in to the Dominican Republic at Isla Beata but the Armada (The Dominican Republic’s navy) keeps an outpost here. Soon after we anchored, a fishing boat brought the Comandante de Puerto, wearing the conventional issue beige camouflage fatigues and tall laced boots, and also a tee-shirted M-2 Intelligencia officer (we knew he had been M-2 as it was on their baseball hat), to the boat. They certainly were extremely cheery and assisted united states function with their brief questions even as we known Kathy Parsons’ Spanish for Cruisers (a must have product in the event that you don’t speak Spanish fluently). Comprehending that we’d clear in at Barahona, we had been welcomed and told we’re able to remain and go to the area for as long as we wished and had been told to, “Please use your dinghy”.
Even As We were prepared to depart, the Comandante, raised a shut fist with thumb extended and pointing to their mouth, asked “Whiskey?” We obliged with three containers of one of our city beers. Providing someone to all the males, we quickly discovered that there is a hierarchy therefore had been around the Comandante to later on share the propina aided by the M-2 officer and their watercraft driver. These small tips, or propina, are part of the tradition plus the financial system.
It was a windy afternoon having a very good roll in anchorage so after the 29 hour sail we decided to defer establishing the dinghy before next morning. There was an abundance of coral around Isla Beata stepping down seriously to a narrow band of sand a couple of hundred legs wide which offered good holding off the beach within northwest end of the island. Another action is found just a couple of legs from coastline so dinghies had been most readily useful held from the shore having an anchor and a line to shore, just like the fishing boats for sale are located. At Comandante’s post, we were offered a line to shore for the dinghy.
The shoreline backs to steep stone walls making a slim strip where are found countless tiny fishing huts. Some of those are Colmado, little shops selling basic food and supplies to the fishermen and girl in the island. A few of these small huts, which act as houses, have utilized the rock wall surface to produce big normal fireplaces for cooking.
As we moved down the coast, we had been invited often to stay and see with all the fishermen and women. We came across Ramon and their pet, and chatted as most readily useful we could as he ate their fish and rice. Ramon sent a young guy down seriously to his boat to fetch fish through the coolers there. Ramon then filled a big synthetic bag of tiny yellowtail snapper for us, smiling the complete time, and demonstrated together with his pocket knife how to clean the seafood. We offered a couple of dollars in payment, which appeared to shock Ramon. We think he meant to gift us the seafood, as he commented that what we offered had been “mucho dinero” and then proceeded to place more seafood within the case. Back up to speed, and after cleaning the seafood, we discovered we had sufficient for at least four dishes. Initial meal had been consumed straight away also it had been one of the better tasting seafood we had ever eaten.
One fascination of fishing on Isla Beata usually although traps and nets had been used, each fisherperson did actually have a specialty fish and all sorts of the fish they certainly were cleansing, drying or cooking had been of that one species. How they got traps or nets to catch just one single form of seafood defied description.
Ramon’s simple lifestyle and love of life had been a delight for all of us to see. And now we could see between the other fisherpersons on Isla Beata exactly the same kind of pleasure making use of their great deal in life. An outsider might label this as “poverty” but the people of the Dominican Republic never notice it this way. It absolutely was explained to united states that no body the following is going to bed hungry and a lot of enjoy large extensive families and sets of friends become satisfied with.
Sailing onto Barahona, we were struck head-on with all the comparison of the busy, dirty and loud city. But the officials whom visited our boat were just like friendly since the people on Isla Beata. There have been no extra fees no must have a real estate agent manage our clearing in. We were done in under 20 moments, after offering the Comandante de Puerto as well as the Immigration representative a trip back to shore within our dinghy. By comparison, others from the eastern told us of paying as much as 3 times up to we did to clear in, convinced by the marinas that the procedure had been complex, difficult, and time intensive.
One thing we seemed forward to in Barahona, along with super marcados, was a most exciting market. Forex trading, available in places and enclosed in other people, meandered with an area of several town blocks. Motorcycles went down the slim corridors regarding the market bringing people and services and products back and forth. One could, and
Barahona from the anchorage
should, bargain for many purchases right here. Countering at one third of what is first asked is not very unreasonable. We found all the vegetables & fruits we purchased at the market to own much more taste than the people home grown on chemical fertilizers. Barahona also introduced us towards Dominicans’ love of noisy music, to which crowds frequently sing along. This began at sunrise with workout classes in the park and went well to the wee hours associated with evening from coast part bars and dancing floors.
Given that we were cleared to the D.R., we had to secure a despacho everytime we moved from a single slot to a different. This is merely a matter of visiting the office of Comandancia de Puerto and telling them where you desired to go next. The info was gradually entered as a computer as well as the despacho printed. Another 5 minutes passed away although the kind had been taken to a commander for signature. No fees or propina were requested in Barahona. Keep in mind that the despacho will only be granted within a couple of hours of one’s intended departure. At Barahona one could at 4:00 p.m. request a despacho for departure prepared for the following morning. Some ports won’t enable this and will only issue a despacho for instant departure.
Boca Chica coastline
A hop of 111 nautical kilometers brought united states to Boca Chica in which we picked up a mooring ball at Marina Zar Par. Coming into this bay actually bit dramatic with waves crashing more than a reef simply to the proper of red markers. From then on point, a little bit of neighborhood knowledge ended up being required which went like this, “To avoid running aground, remain near enough to kiss the ships and yachts docked on your own left as you get in.” With that information at hand, we had no problems but we did view a amount of other ships, who apparently couldn’t get the term, are available and run aground.
Marina Zar Par is really a bit west of Boca Chica proper. Between is about three quarters of the mile of coastline with a lot of small food vendors who will deliver your meal and beverages out to the tables and chairs lining the coast under thatched roofs. A number of these vendors have the obligatory noisy noise systems and apparently take turns regarding which is the loudest for the afternoon or evening. Regarding the weekends the “Dominican Navy,” the fleet of neighborhood motor boats of all of the sizes, happens to anchor in the bay and play their very own music, some with very impressive systems including underwater light programs. Many evenings the boats returned to slips around 10:30 p.m. plus one could easily get some rest. Oddly, enough it was a Monday night, rather than a holiday, whenever music went until 3:00 a.m.
Using Marina Zar Par as our base, we visited the nation’s capital town, Santo Domingo, about eight miles away and went inland towards the “Dominican Alps” to your mountain city of Jarabocoa in which Jill and I were the visitors of cruising guide writer, Frank Virgintino, and his spouse Clemencia, at their family retreat. The rides to both places were adventures in their own personal legal rights.
Franklin, a former Santo Domingo bus motorist, served as our taxi motorist the a few hour drive to Jarabacoa. This really is typically about a two hour drive but we had to end as you go along to look for tires for the taxi. The right size and cost had been available at the sixth stop where in fact the car ended up being jacked up, inside traffic lane, Indy pit stop style, with Jill and me still into the back chair, whilst the tires had been changed, once we looked over each other and laughed. The trip continued through Santo Domingo where we learned that turning from the comfort of the leftmost of six lanes, and left from the rightmost of six lanes, both in identical intersection, even though the lights were still red, had been precisely how it is done here. We had been glad we didn’t rent a car or truck.
Coming back included Franklin stopping for the beer (a grande Presidente believe it or not), become consumed in the mountain road down, a stop to fill the trunk associated with the vehicle with full stalks of plantains which we were told were a great deal cheaper right here than in town, followed later on with a stop the motorist to alleviate himself roadside and toss their beer container in to the woods.
It was disappointing to see the number of trash which found roadside not merely right here on the side regarding the highway but of all roadways and roads we walked. A large percentage of that is disposable Styrofoam meals service containers, an unfortunate yet typical indication of growing affluence in the country.
Towards Boca Chica, to circumvent the traffic of the Friday night rush from Santo Domingo, we were disassembled unpaved lanes hardly wider versus automobile utilizing the occasional home home opening in to the street, requiring the taxi to stop suddenly.
On Sunday, permitting each day to recover from the journey straight back from Jarabacoa, Jill and I made a decision to allow it to be on our very own to Santo Domingo to check out the Colonial Town, Chinatown and look for some Carnival activity. We took the general public bus. To get this done properly, one must flag down a coach planning the wrong direction and remain on because it goes to the conclusion of the line and comes home within intended direction. Whenever asked to cover, merely state, “No, para Santo Domingo”. The bus can make numerous flagged stops until its full, which never takes place since people also get off at requested stops. Someplace on the way the bus adopts a terminal where you are pointed to an “express bus” to Santo Domingo, which also makes many flagged stops. This time when required to cover, produce 60 pesos ($1.33) per individual and let the conductor know where you want to log off. It absolutely was useful to have map of Santo Domingo in hand so we’re able to follow our progress and move forward in the coach as our stop approached. (A taxi would cost about $40 each means). Coming back from Santo Domingo involved locating the bus terminal for Boca Chica and backpacking in a chair on an air-conditioned coach until it received its complement of 30 passengers. Happily, this terminal ended up being really close to where we exited the bus.
Colonial Town ruins
The Colonial Town originated by the sibling and son of Christopher Columbus and shows both Spanish and French influences inside architecture. Many firsts for the Americas are found right here such as the first cathedral, 1st medical center while the very first university. It’s possible to employ a tour guide or ride the “Colonial Chu Chu” to obtain filled in on reputation for all of the notable websites here.
From Colonial Town, we wandered north towards the adjacent Chinatown for lunch then south once more, skirting the Colonial Town to cover our respects at tombs associated with founders of this D.R., Duarte, Sanchez and Mella. We made our method to the Malecon which runs along the coastline the total period of Santo Domingo. We had been told that on any Sunday afternoon in February one would find lots of Carnival goings on anywhere over the Malecon. We wandered for a few miles and, to our frustration found none, but did see a few memorials and areas that were well worth the stroll.
At anchor, Casa de Campo
CASA DE CAMPO
We had been ready for break through the busy towns and loud music of Boca Chica so we headed 48 nautical kilometers further east to Casa de Campo, a luxury resort community with what is hailed due to the fact largest marina into the Caribbean. We radioed for guidance to the fuel dock plus dinghy was sent in to the surf to steer us in, but we were told the marina had been overbooked so we’re able to maybe not stay. Oscar, the marina supervisor, must meet united states and gather our despacho before we would be permitted to undertake gas. Understanding that we’d no place to go, he took me for a ride in their tennis cart to show us where we could anchor within the marina. He explained your people spending three million bucks for a home round the marina really don’t like evaluating boats so he’d to restrict how many ships which could anchor away. There was clearly totally free for staying.
Casa de Campo is as big a contrast from cities of this D.R. as you could imagine. We rented an electrical golf cart, drove around the community and visited Altos de Chavon, a relaxation of the sixteenth century mediterranean village overlooking the gorge for the Chavon River. Imagine Epcot on European steroids. This spot is magnificent and, unlike Epcot, made from genuine stone. It’s billed being an artist’s village and there are several galleries and workshops here. The main water fountain alone will probably be worth the go to. The Romanesque amphitheater can be a sight to see. However the pièce de opposition may be the view from terraces overlooking the river with all the hills for the D.R. in the background. And unlike the towns and cities, there isn’t a piece of trash to be found running free anywhere in Casa de Campo. We had been told that this actually must-see and we agree.
Our final stop, isla Soana
We entered the D.R. at a tiny island and our final stay in the D.R. would be to be considered a little area, Isla Saona (“ SAH-ohh-nah”). One are unable to however discover associated with the nation from Isla Saona so rather we secured our international despacho for Puerto Rico at Casa de Campo, perhaps not mentioning our intention to go to Isla Saona. Upon reaching Isla Saona, we straight away brought down the dinghy and motored over to look at the Armada station here to humbly welcome the Comandante having request to see until the winds improved for our transportation to Puerto Rico. We had been told that other individuals who couldn’t “check-in” in this way were chased down. The Comandante welcomed us to remain providing we liked. Isla Saona is a peaceful island that supports tourists visiting for a couple hours each day from the mainland. The rest of the time the beaches are excellent for solitary walks while the mangrove lined shores north regarding the area are worth exploring by dinghy. We anchored from the northwest beach wholly expecting a deluge of catamarans and motor boats around noon the next day. As luck would have it, a lot of them proceeded to beaches further south regarding the area with only some ships visiting “our” beach. By 3 p.m. individuals were headed back to the mainland together with area, and the song of the birds there, was kept for the next 21 hours towards couple of sailboats anchored.
WHY PROPINA INTO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC?
Us citizens in many cases are taken aback by the tradition of recommendations, or propina, required by federal government officials and frequently examine these little payments to be “bribes” or “graft”. Frank Virgintino, author of almost twelve free cruising guides to the Caribbean (www.freecruisingguides.com) explained it to me because of this: “It is very important to understand how different nations work. In the U.S., our company is straight taxed. We pay our earnings, home and product sales fees therefore the federal government pays their employees a reasonable wage. Into the Dominican Republic, plus some other countries, the income tax is more indirect. Yes, the government will pay their workers a wage but it is a minimum. Recommendations or propinas are expected from those that have the services. This training apportions the costs to the recipients of this solution. In the long run, you almost certainly pay less in immigration fees here than you are doing, for example, inside Bahamas.
presently there are some port captains that are benefiting from this, and Luperon could very well be the most famous instance, but by and large the port captains, immigration and M-2 officers are only searching for tiny methods for their some time service. Most importantly, it is vital to never ever get aggravated. Anger is not section of this culture which is perhaps not well received. You can simply say “no” and laugh. They’ll not arrest you or throw your watercraft. It is worth noting though that when leaving for the U.S., including to Puerto Rico, that the U.S. calls for the Dominican officials to conduct medication searches with dogs, that aren’t required for despachos to other countries, so expect you’ll tip those officials with regards to their unique costs, sometimes traveling quite a distance, at their very own expense, to come calmly to your boat.
Over the past many years we’ve watched Pete and Jill Dubler’s restoration and refit of their Pearson 424. In December, they began their new lease of life as cruisers aboard S/V Regina Oceani.