In the Turks and Caicos Islands – what a week!!

Thursday morning we were finally ready for sea – and visited immigration and customs followed by the marina office to pay our bill.   We were pleasantly surprised that they calculated our stay on the lower seven day price rather than the daily rate – saving us a $100. Thanks!   We asked for a 12 noon departure to avoid the swells running across the marina entrance that always form later in the afternoon. The Commandante came on board, issued our departure document, and by 12.15 we were motoring and beating into the waves as we left the marina. Goodbye DRWe quickly cleared the reef and turned towards our first waypoint hoisting the sails into 16 knots of breeze…. and we are absolutely smoking on a beam reach with waves hitting us side on. The motion wasn’t the most comfortable one but who cares – the sky is blue and the sea is bluer and we’re going fast…….   We were enjoying ourselves a lot….

Perfect sailing Waves breaking underneath us Breaking on the side of us

By 3pm we realised that we were going way too fast to arrive at our destination in daylight so reefed heavily to slow us down.   You can tell by this comment that we have finally turned our racing heads into cruising ones LOL.   At 6pm we went into shifts and I saw the sun go down – and of course a few ships to keep me company.

Sun going down

Richard then came on watch and at midnight, just before we changed over again, a huge wave broke on us which pushed our port rail underwater…. I was in bed at this point but quickly ended up on the floor….. Ouch!   At 1am the seas calmed down a bit and I had phosphorescence sparkling in our wake – and of course the obligatory cruise ship glow out at sea.   The rest of the night was quiet – with the occasional rogue wave showing us who was boss – and we made good albeit slow progress towards Grand Turk as the sun rose.

Sunrise at sea

We were both together in the cockpit – and then – WOW – Whales!!!   Broaching, playing, waving … an amazing sight.

Whale fun 1 Whale fun 2 Whale fun 3

We anchored on the south coast of Grand Turk at 9.00 on Friday morning – and fell in love with the colour of the water against a sandy beach backdrop.   Slightly ruined by the industrial landscape, the rusting hulk of a sunken ship and a dinghy dock that was too high, had a boat on it, and left us no option but to drag dink up the beach and keep fingers crossed he would still be there when we got back.   We cleared in easily – welcomed home to these UK islands – and returned to Morphie.

Checking into T&Cs Customs is in there somewhere Dead ship Not much of a dinghy dock! Morphie enjoying the colours of the sea

We didn’t want to stay in this anchorage – however beautiful the water was – so picked up the hook and by 2.45 pm we had eyeballed our way in through a reef system to anchor in Cockburn, the capital of Grand Turk.   We went ashore and found that the town, itself, was closed!   A few interesting old buildings, HM Prison and a lot of masonic lodges….and even the museum was closed.  But otherwise very little going on – we did find a small café that had internet so we had a couple of cold ones and checked out the weather.   Well, the weather was going to clock around on Saturday that would make this anchorage untenable so we need to leave in the morning.   Disappointed at this quick turnaround but, hey, we have the other islands to explore ahead of us.  We enjoyed the sunset and an early night to recover from the passage.

Sailing to Cockburn Town

Cockburn Town anchorage Cockburn Town 1 Cockburn Town 2 Cockburn Town 3 Cockburn Town 4 Cockburn Town 5 Grand Turk sunset

Saturday morning and we picked up our hook at 9.30 am – or we tried to.   The water is so clear I can see the bottom and I realised that we had picked up a cable with the anchor as we moved forward – checking the charts again and the cable is a high voltage one and not where it should be grrrrrr…….. decidedly not a great start to the day. Obviously it belonged to the Cable and Wireless Towers that loom over the town.

Cable and Wireless towers

Luckily it was shallow water – Richard jumped in, I let out more chain to give slack, he cleared the cable and I picked up the chain as quickly as possible to avoid getting caught on the second power cable sitting behind it – also not on the chart!   Then I had to stooge around to pick up Richard inside the reef and then we headed out. Phew….. We always knew this day would come – just very lucky that we were in shallow water.

We had a wonderful sail in 15 knots of breeze across to South Caicos – eyeballed our way into Cockburn Harbour and sat looking around in awe.   Think Anegada with beautiful clear water and you’ll get an idea of what I mean.   And, of course, we are the only boat in the anchorage.   Oh yes, and why do all rocks look like Brian the Snail???   We snorkelled our anchor – wary of more power cables – and all was well. We even had a couple of barracudas that kept us company as we swam around.   We did find a wreck of a boat about 200 feet behind us though….another hazard of these islands it would appear!

Stunning anchorage Snail rock Watching fish from the boat!

We went ashore – wandered the sleepy town – and came across a couple of scientists who run the marine biology school here.   We also wondered at the number of broken down abandoned properties littering the place.

South Caicos 3 South Caicos 1 South Caicos 2

On our trek we came across the ship’s bell from the Rhone steamship that sunk in a hurricane in the BVIs back in the day – a wreck that we have dived off of Salt Island. Apparently a South Caicos islander was involved in the salvage operation and was given the bell along with his pay.   What a small world eh?   It is a shame though – that something so significant – would end up living in a small tower attached to the church in this quiet and sleepy place.

The Rhone's Ships Bell Final resting place for the bell

And, of course, Richard couldn’t help himself but to ring it but we also said a silent prayer to all the people that perished on the Rhone.   I had visions of islanders rushing out to see what the noise was all about but no-one stirred apart from an old grisly looking dog who loved Richard scratching his ears…..

Richard couldn't resist Richard's friend

Going back towards Morphie, Richard took me to the worst bar I have ever been in….   A complete dive and I think we were tolerated by the locals – the barmaid was wearing very little clothes so Richard was happy and one local guy made good conversation.   Suffice to say we only stayed for one drink!   There was no internet available anywhere on the island so we were not able to catch up with any weather updates…..

Dodgiest bar ever!

Sunset in South Caicos

Back on board we had a quiet night after Richard fixed the shower sump pump which had burnt out…..

Sunday morning and we picked up our anchor – no diving operation here in South Caicos which is what we were hoping for – and so we had decided to spend the night on the Caicos banks.   The Caicos banks are 60 by 50 miles of beautiful azure blue shallow water peppered with coral heads which have to be spotted by eyeball navigation. We made our way into the banks and were amazed – this is so so beautiful and better than we could ever have imagined. There is no wind at all so everything is flat calm and serene….   We were having a great time – and the wind wasn’t supposed to pick up until the following morning when we would approach the island of Providenciales – known as Provo. But of course our weather forecast was a day old by now which we found out later….

Motoring across the Caicos Banks Wow! Look at that water

At 3.30 pm the wind stared kicking in – and the water started to chop….   We checked our charts and we can’t make Provo before dark because of the long routing we had deliberately taken – so we have to make the most of it and spend the night.   But it wasn’t going to be the beautiful romantic snorkelling and dining experience under the stars that we had planned!   Well, the wind continued to build above 20 knots and the chop was turning nasty…. We had dropped quite a lot of chain already but decided to throw it all out – so 200 feet of chain in 10 feet of water should keep us safe.   Just before sunset a fishing boat came by to check we were OK – they were running for cover as the forecast had indicated very strong winds overnight and they didn’t think we should stay on the banks…..

Checking we're OK

We radioed Provo Radio to seek advice and were given an alternative anchorage inside a reef behind a rock on the edge of the banks – but we would have to do this in the dark and what about those coral heads???

Sunset in the choppy waters

So we decided to stay put and settled down for the night on our sofas as the forepeak was too noisy as Morphie continuously bashed into larger and larger waves with many breaking green water over the bow.   At 2am there was an almighty bang – and the snubber has gone… There is no choice but to jury rig another as the anchor windlass would not cope with the strain of this mad night – so Richard is on the bow of the boat in the dark doing it while taking a dip every now and again as Morphie rode the waves. This was the only time I was scared really – because in these conditions I would never be able to get him back if he fell overboard – but he was harnessed up and wearing a lifejacket so wasn’t really in danger….   Job done and we carried on riding out the horrible conditions – with every bang and thump sounding like Neptune was taking a sledgehammer to our hull.   Finally the sun came up – thankfully!

Sunrise over the banks

We quickly changed our passage plan to take us back out to deep water to get away from the chop and started to pick up the anchor – it is my turn to take a dip this time with the bow rising and falling into the waves and also to try to stop taking on water into the anchor locker. The anchor came up surprisingly easily however it was badly damaged – check out the new shape!   To bend solid steel like this gives you an idea of the conditions we were thankful to come through….   Were we in danger really? Probably not – but so many things could easily have gone wrong….   Just thankful Morphie is such a strong boat… she looked after just fine.

What's left of our anchor snubber Bent anchor Bent anchor 2

We quickly entered deep water – cold, miserable and very wet – but had a great sail in 28 knots of breeze although you can tell by the photos that both of us were pretty keen to get to our next destination.

Are we there yet Cold and wet!

We then re-entered the banks via the shipping channel as we couldn’t eyeball in these conditions and made our way to Sapodilla Bay.   We dropped the hook – and it dragged – so we dropped it again…and it dragged again.   Clearly the new shape is affecting its ability to dig in – so I stooged around while Richard swapped it out for our spare.   All done – dropped the hook – and it dragged.   The Danforth anchor is really designed for hard sand and we are trying to get a set in putty-like mud and grass so not really surprised.   Thankfully on our second attempt we got a set and we set up the anchor alarms and sat in the cockpit for a little while.  When we were confident we were OK for the night – still with the wind blowing old boots but at least in a more protected place – we broke open the beer and I cooked toad in the hole as a celebratory meal.

Approaching Providenciales Sunset over Provo

This morning – Tuesday – and we moved around to Southside Marina, a very basic setup – but at least somewhere we can tie up to while we get our anchor repaired / replaced and another snubber purchased….   The weather forecast is also not looking conducive to run to the Bahamas any time soon with a number of fronts on their way – and we haven’t really explored or gone diving yet. The Turks and Caicos have a pretty strict regime – you get 7 days for $100 entry / exit – and if you want to stay longer then the cruising permit is $300 so we might have to bite the bullet and pay that.   But we have a couple of days yet to work it all out. Right now we just want to relax and take a deep breath!

Bye for now


Exploring Puerto Plata

Saturday lunchtime we walked….and walked….uphill….until we reached the main road beyond the numerous Lifestyle Resorts that take up much of this area.   We found a bus straight away to take us into the town of Puerto Plata with the other passengers seeming a bit surprised to see tourists using the local transport. The driver dropped us off with vague instructions on how to get to the market – a five minute walk away – and left us in the middle of a busy street teeming with people and motorbikes.   We were unsure whether we were in a safe area or not so looked around to get our bearings and decided to head down towards the ocean.   As we wandered around we were approached a few times by people wanting to be our local / paid guides but we managed to keep them at bay….. We finally reached the central plaza – got some more drinking vouchers from the enclosed bank ATM – and carried on towards the ocean. The ATM was guarded by a security guy with a pump action shotgun – hmmmmm…. obviously not quite so safe then???   The streets were pretty quiet now, apparently all the people were congregating elsewhere for a drive through of some presidential candidates for the next election.

Quiet streets

The beach here is pretty nice looking and is framed by a boardwalk which appears to be very popular with the locals just chilling out. We admired the fire station and some old houses before heading back towards the centre of town. We didn’t fancy visiting the jewellery shops, the gift shops, nor the cigar factory….. so carried on whilst fending off more potential tour guides.

Puerto Plata beach Puerto Plata fire station Old housesWe did manage to get some good information though which is that there is a cable car up the mountain – so we headed in that general direction.   We ended up in a market selling fruit and veg – so we picked up some fresh produce – and carried on. We were getting tired as well as hot and bothered and had still failed to find the cable car.   We were then approached by a couple of moto-taxis…. These are motorbikes that do a taxi service. Of course, they are pretty dangerous…. but we thought hey, when in Rome and all that!   So we took one each – and I told my driver not to lose Richard as he had the money not me LOL – and we weaved in and out of traffic, trucks, down main roads and eventually ended up at the cable car entrance. We really enjoyed it although pleased to have arrived at our destination unscathed!

Motorcycle madness Motorcycle madness 2

The drivers were keen to pose for pictures and kept calling us ‘momma’ and ‘poppa’ – allegedly a friendly term for older people. Not sure I want to be that old!!!!

Motorcycle madness 3

We paid our entrance fees, grabbed some water, and then waited for the cable car. One coming down the mountain was a pretty impressive sight.

Cable car arriving

We all piled in….about 20 of us…..with only two other tourists, the rest being Dominicans….   Then we started on the journey – wow the scenery – and enjoyed looking down on to the town.

Looking down to Puerto Plata Half way up Into the clouds

Almost there

When we ended up at the top we realised that we were in the clouds – refreshingly cool and stunning.

In the clouds

There is a statue of Jesus Christ on the mountain top which is just like the one standing over Rio de Janeiro – wasn’t expecting that.

Jesus at the top of the mountain Back of Jesus

We wandered around – down paths and over bridges – enjoyed the spectacular views and the abundance of trees and flowers before heading to the restaurant and had some snacks – well, we ordered snacks, but they were huge!   After this late lunch we admired the views again – got a local guy to take some artistic shots of us with Jesus – and then waited for our return trip down the mountain….

Stunning scenery Stunning scenery 2 Flowers everywhere Up in the clouds 2 Up in the clouds Over the bridge On top of the world Flowers everywhere 2

Holding Jesus

Richard with baby Jesus

We certainly went down quicker than we went up LOL.

Waiting to go back down Wow Wow 3 Wow 2

Anyway we decided that was enough excitement for one day so got a proper minibus taxi this time back to the marina.   We didn’t fancy any dinner so had a quiet night on board having enjoyed the spectacular sunset.


Sunday morning after a lazy start we decided to hit the local beach…..   Most of the resorts here have private beaches – and Ocean World has its own too, but not for marina residents and we really didn’t fancy paying and entrance fee to sit in a manufactured environment and watch dolphins in captivity – so we knew this was going to be a ‘local day’. We went bobbing and people were waving and talking to us….. We even tried out our new Puerto Rican hats too – baseball caps are all well and good but we do not get enough shade with them on our backs. Fancy eh???

Bobbing! Bobbing 2

Check out the hats!

Copresi beach

We had a fantastic bobbing time and were amazed to realise that we had started a trend when the locals started bobbing with huge bottles of rum and were shouting “Salut, Salut” at us all the time…   Oh yes, and Presidente comes in three sizes here – regular, grande and jumbo.   Please note that we were drinking regular ones, although do own up to a number of grande and jumbo bottles currently chilling in the fridge….


We went back to Morphie and got cleaned up before heading out towards the local Mexican restaurant that we fancied trying. On the way we checked out the fancy artwork on one of the villa walls – looks like riding dolphins might be a bit dangerous too – check out the boy’s arm LOL.

Wall art 1 Wall art Wall art 2

Oh yes, remember Bob the dummy that lived in the garage in Wisconsin???   Well, he is clearly moonlighting because he was modelling outside the restaurant here in the DR!!   We had fantastic food – nothing fancy – but was really very very good…

Bob's got a new job Mexican

We then wandered back to the Ocean World complex and decided to have a pontoonie on the Terrace.  Well, Sunday night is party night!   The DJ was playing music and videos and the locals were having a great time – we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves watching them dancing. Wow these people can move…..   It ended up a pretty late night….

Locals having fun

Monday morning and we were going to do laundry – but the laundry was shut. Oh well….. And it is really quiet from Ocean World next door – no loud pink panther music or applause – and we realised that the performing seals get the day off on Mondays too LOL.  So we ended up getting the complimentary shopping bus to the surprisingly well-stocked local supermarket to get more supplies…… Back on board we had brunch – did some passage planning – and then went to the small pool. This is open to marina guests only on Mondays to Fridays and has a swim up bar, although it is shut….. But that didn’t stop us buying a bucket of beers from the Terrace café and taking them with us….   Had a lovely time in the pool….it was our own private oasis for the afternoon.   Monday night was another quiet one on board.

Tuesday morning and we were going out for the day on an organised trip, rather than rent another car.   The truck picked us up on time at 9.00 am and we headed off with some other tourists – US predominantly apart from one French Canadian couple and another couple from Liverpool.   First stop was a local village – and to visit Pappo and Momma at their family plantation home.   We enjoyed walking through their gardens admiring the coffee, chocolate, bananas, pineapples, avocados, herbs and spices etc all growing in abundance.   The flowers here were spectacular too….. We visited their traditionally-built wooden house – and we were surprised that they still cooked on open hearths using wood as fuel – with an outhouse for washing and another for the bathroom.   They had very little but it was absolutely spotlessly clean – very humbling to think of all the ‘essentials’ we can’t live without at home or onboard. They have to buy drinking water too….. They let us try their fruit, they made us hot chocolate and coffee from their own produce which was delicious…. so I bought some chocolate to use myself on board, now that I have the special recipe!   We said our farewells having had our first beer of the day from the all-inclusive bar tended by Juan the driver.

Eddy and Papa Family compound Bananas Coffee Mama doing the washing Interesting flowers Making coffee and chocolate for tasting Traditional house

Next stop was a village school…..   This caters for poor village kids and in one class they have three different age groups. They only attend four hours a day as the classroom is used for another group in the afternoon for four hours and then another group in the evenings….. Clearly the population is larger than they can cope with and we were pleased to see the foundations of a new school being built by the current President as part of a big infrastructure project – 800 schools planned so that every child can get an education..

School building project

We donated some clothes and some maps to the school and ended up with our pictures being taken with the principal who was very happy with our donations…..

With the school principal Village school Village school children

Schooling here in the DR is not mandatory but the wearing of uniform is – and often there is only one uniform per family that all the children share and many of them don’t have shoes either and have to walk miles to school.   It is a simple but tough life for these kids.   We were delighted that they were being taught English, Spanish, French, History, Geography and Maths even at this early age and potentially can be their doorway out of poverty.   This was also our first exposure to illegal Haitian children who were attending the school as this gave them access to free food, and their learning curve was even sharper as Spanish is not their mother tongue.

On our way through the lush countryside we came across a very poor Haitian village and the local stores seem to have little provisions in them….

Village store Beautiful countryside Village for Haitians Country wash day

After the school we drove through more lush countryside and went swimming in a local river – was very refreshing despite being a little chilly!!!!

River Chilly in the river Down to the river River pool

After our swim we moved on to a local restaurant run by the Outback company where we had very tasty (unlimited) chicken and rice with beans.   We also got to see some Salty crocodiles which do actually live on a brackish river near the border with Haiti.   I think it freaked out some of the tourists knowing that they had just been playing in the river LOL – wasn’t going to tell them that there were only specific areas these crocodiles lived and this wasn’t one of them!


After lunch we carried on driving through the countryside and ended up in a sugar cane area – so Juan stopped the truck and wielding his machete chopped us some sugar cane to try.   Very tasty!

So lush

Beautiful countryside

Then we arrived at the beach – having to walk over a very crotchety elevated pathway made out of palms – to go body boarding in the surf and between that, bobbing, and a back and neck massage, we were pretty chilled……

Off to the beach Body surfing Surfing afternoon

And that was the end of our day – what an amazing adventure – so thank you to Eddy our tour guide, comedian and singer plus Juan our driver, bar-tender and machete wielder – for a wonderful fun and informative day.   We returned to Morphie and had a lazy evening on board.

Eddy and Juan

This morning – Wednesday – and we have checked that the weather still holds for our passage tomorrow to Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Yes, it does. So I’m in the marina laundry while Richard is on board doing engine checks etc….   The rest of the day will be preparing Morphie for sea and organising the formal and rigorous check-out process here in the marina so that we can leave at the time we want to….

We have really enjoyed ourselves here in the Dominican Republic – we have had an amazing adventure and way beyond our expectations.   Richard even said it was a place he could envisage living – not something he says every day!   We are sad to say farewell but excited about the next stage of our travels this season.

Bye for now


Exploring Samana

Tuesday morning we took delivery of our hire car and headed off to Las Terrenas which is where there are a couple of large supermarkets – and we need to stock up on beer. We waited until we got to the Dominican Republic for this as we prefer the local Presidente to the Puerto Rican brews…. We drove through mountains on one of the only main roads on this part of the island – admiring the lush scenery whilst taking care on the hair pin bends.   The housing got poorer with people living in basic shacks without running water – there were large blue containers dotted around on the roadside which people were filling water containers from and carrying back to their houses.  And the crash barriers were useful places to hang washing out to dry…..

Hair pin bends everywhere So lush Poor housing Wash day

The motorbikes faded away to the towns and the only traffic jam we saw in the countryside was a few farmers on their horses – which appeared to be the main mode of transport.   These horses trot in the most spectacular way – with high knees and small steps – like they had been trained for dressage and reminded us of the Lipizzan horses at the Spanish school in Vienna.

Traffic jam

At the supermarket we found Presidente in cans – hurrah – but definitely did not like the price!   Outrageous when we know how much the large bottles cost in Semana – so got some bits and pieces and left the beer behind.   On the way back from the supermarket we drove along the beach which was dotted with lots of small hotels and restaurants – hoping to make a stop to take in the air.   As we were driving along on this narrow road, however, we spotted lots of palm fronds sticking out of the regular mainholes…… and, to our horror, we realised that this was a warning that there was no cover at all…… and these death traps occurred every 50 metres or so.   Picking our way through carefully we abandoned our idea of stopping and just got out of there!

Relieved to be off that road we drove down a tree covered avenue and then back into the mountains……. We admired the view of Cayo Levantado in the distance and the manicured grounds of the marina as we returned.

Tree canopy View out to Cayo Levantado Manicured marina - hotel grounds Manicured marina - hotel grounds 2

Having unpacked our shopping we headed back out into Samana Town – again it was very busy – and went to a local warehouse and picked up a couple of crates of large bottles of Presidente for 90 pesos each (67 pesos to the pound)…   These are incredibly good value as they hold over a pint!

Samana Town

Back to Morphie and we got ourselves cleaned up and ready to receive John and Nina for sundowners. This couple had come into the marina yesterday on an Island Packet 40 and we had helped them dock in the absence of any marina staff – so they are our next door neighbours.   We had a really nice evening together.

Morpheus and Sunkissed getting to know each other

Wednesday morning and back out in the car – this time our plan is to go to El Limon waterfalls.   We drove back into the mountains and stopped at one of the small restaurants that offer tours.   The horses looked quite stout and well looked after – compared to some of the skinny ones we had seen – and we agreed a price. The guy said it was about a 25 minute ride to the falls – so money exchanged hands and Richard and I were introduced to our trusty steeds – Paloma and Blanky – and we left with our two female guides….. through the plantation as our guides pointed out coffee, bananas, advocados, bread fruit just growing willy nilly about the place.

Our trusty nags Following the path

Of course, Richard gets the good horse which just trots along steady on her feet. Mine, meanwhile, was a stubborn mule who stopped, ate, pooped, refused to move, ran to catch up and stumbled on the rocks.   Not much fun when she stumbled on the path alongside a sheer drop!   After stopping for the horses to get a drink at a feeder to the falls we arrived at the National Park.

River running towards the waterfall Through the plantation Time for a drink

We got off and paid our entrance fee and then went down the path – and down and down and down the steps….   And this continued for 15 plus minutes. Phew that was a challenge with my dodgy legs!   We arrived at the bottom – took some shade in a little cave – and then went to the falls…. They were really spectacular and well worth the trip…. We even made friends with a parrot while there…..

River running towards the waterfall

Time to trek El Limon Waterfall 2 El Limon Waterfall 3 El Limon Waterfall Richard's new friend

El Limon Waterfall 4

Then it was time to turn around and go back up – wow that was very hard work and we had to stop to take our breath a few times….   We were very pleased to be reunited with our horses for the return trip through the plantation. Blanky seemed in a better mood on the way back thankfully LOL.

Trek back up Horse stop Reunited with Paloma Reunited with Blanky

Back at the roadside we enjoyed soursop and bananas with the guides and their families before returning to the car.   Had been quite an adventure…

Our guides

Back in the car and we abandoned ideas of continuing on to the beach and decided to return to the marina and that beautiful pool…..   Had a lovely bobbing time……. We enjoyed the final views out to sea and watching the fisherman beating into the waves home.

Busy at the pool again Cafe del Mar View across to Los Haitises from the pool Fisherman returning

Wednesday evening and there was a cocktail party for cruisers in the marina – so we cleaned up and wandered along. It was a good social end to the day.

Thursday morning and we were up very early as we were heading out to sail up to Ocean World Marina on the north coast near Puerto Plata an overnight 120 mile sail away.   We started on pink and blue jobs – Richard did an engine check and spotted a dodgy fan belt so changed that out – I went shopping for fresh produce and paid our marina bill. In the meantime we returned the car keys and the Commandante, the Naval Intelligence and the Drug Enforcement guys all came on board to give us our despacho (permission) to leave port.  All done and we slipped out at 11 am enjoying the views of Puerto Bahia as we left……

Goodbye Puerto Bahia Marina

We motored straight into wind and waves out of Samana Bay and were treated to a couple of huge humpback whales broaching on the way – but didn’t get close enough or stay long enough for us to get photos – but wow nevertheless!!!   We turned the corner, pulled out the sails, and enjoyed the views of the lush coastline….. Then it was time to go into our shift pattern and I was alone sailing downwind with full genoa to watch the sunset.

Admiring the coast Sailing into the sunset

Sunset at sea

Nothing much happened after that – then Richard came on watch at 9pm.   At midnight we swapped again and there was a ship going across our bow – so I stood watch and had a very exciting three hours!   After the tanker crossed our bow I had two coming from behind – one was a large cargo ship and the other was the Independence of the Seas.  And the cruise ship was heading straight at our stern.   The cargo ship started to pass us to starboard and I radioed the cruise ship to check they could see us – he confirmed he could and he changed direction slightly to pass about a quarter of a mile on our port side.   Was a pretty spectacular sight as he passed!   Phew….all done….oh, hang on, another one coming at us.   This large container ship passed us to starboard going in the opposite direction so all that was left were stern lights as Richard came up for his 3am watch.   Was pretty tired by now so fell into my bunk gratefully!  And, guess what, Richard never saw another ship all night…… but really enjoyed watching the sun come up.

Sunrise at sea

Beautiful sailing day, the skies were blue and the sea was bluer….. and we spotted Puerto Plata in the distance.   Then the wind died too low to push us along at any reasonable speed so we motor sailed the last few miles….

Sailing towards Puerto Plata

We entered the marina after a 26 hour passage and pulled into the fuel dock – have never seen docks this high in our lives!!!

On the fuel dock

We were met by the Commandante, the marina manager and the drugs people who did not come on board – instead I went with them to the office while Richard stayed with Morphie to ensure that the lines didn’t chafe through on the dock.   Formalities done and we were given information on our slip and we moved off.   We got docked in our allocated slip and, again, the fixed concrete docks are very high so Richard made some quick chafe protection gear out of flexible conduit he had purchased at a builders yard near El Limon for this exact purpose.  We had been warned by other cruisers that it can be rolly in this marina and they had ropes sawn through by the concrete docks – in fact, they all had renamed the place Motion World LOL.

Chafe protection

All secure, we washed down Morphie and then went ashore…..wearing our compulsory wristbands to identify us to the security staff.   Ocean World Marina is part of the Ocean World Park complex and it has a pretty tacky building fronting it….and we were served restorative beers in paper bags at the terrace. Whatever next?!?!   After a little wander around outside the complex we returned to Morphie for an early dinner and to bed – pretty tired.

Ocean World Restorative beer

This morning – Saturday – and we are planning to wander to the main road and see if we can get a bus into town…..   Richard has just checked the lines and spotted this….. would have lost this rope for sure during the night without his preventative measures!


We will be here for a little while waiting for passage weather – lovely and settled right now but not enough wind!

Bye for now


Morpheus up the jungle….

Thursday morning we were up early – I sorted out the marina formalities and eventually we slipped from our dock by about 9.45…. and headed the ten miles over to Los Haitises National Park.   Haitises means ‘highlands’ or ‘mountain range’ in the Taino Indian language which are the Dominican Republic’s original inhabitants and the national park covers 1,600 square kilometres with only a small portion of the park being open to the public.   The national park is home to untouched mangrove forests, Taino cave drawings, secluded beaches, pirate hideouts and a grand diversity of endemic flora and fauna.

We had a very brisk and enjoyable downwind 10 mile sail with up to 30 knots and big waves pushing us along.

Sailing across Samana Bay 2 Sailing across Samana Bay

As we approached the mangroves we were amazed by the scenery beyond. We felt our way inside and got a spot anchored behind a Canadian cruising boat At Last in 15 feet of water.     This is an amazing anchorage – limestone cliffs covered in abundance of lush growth extending below into the sea with small islands and deep hollows all in the shelter of mangrove swamps which kept the sea flat even though it was running really fast outside…..   Check out this panoramic shot.

Panorama of the anchorage

We quickly took the outboard off the rail, got dink back in the water and reassembled, and headed off to explore. We went by At Last on the way and organised sundowners for later back on Morphie. We went up and down little mangrove swamps and rivers; found the entrances to the caves; and just generally got blown away by the beauty of this natural oasis. The sea was green and full of nutrients but still looked majestic somehow….

Los Haitises 1 Los Haitises 2 Los Haitises 3 Los Haitises 4 Los Haitises 5 Los Haitises 6 Los Haitises 7 Los Haitises 8 Los Haitises 9 Los Haitises 10 Los Haitises 11 Los Haitises 12 Los Haitises 13

Back on board we entertained Dave, Corrine and their dog Libby for sundowners – a few dark and stormies were imbibed along with a fair amount of cheese. Including Libby who has a fondness for it….   She is so cute we could certainly have let her stay!

Sundowners Libby the boat dog

Friday morning and up at a reasonable time – today we are going to explore the two caves which were once used by Taino Indians for more than a millennium before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.   We said goodbye to At Last who were heading back to the marina and dinked around to the entrance near the rangers lodge.   The first cave Cueva de la Arena is located on a secluded beach and we enjoyed our visit to them, completely on our own before the first set of tourists arrived for the day.

Los Haitises Caves 2 Los Haitises Caves 3 Los Haitises CAves 4 Los Haitises Caves 5 Los Haitises Caves 6 Los Haitises Caves 7

Having got our fill of these we then dinked around to the second cave Cueva de la Linea which is located deeper in the forest and is filled with Taino pictoglyphs.      This cave was really dark and of course we didn’t have a guide nor a torch with us – but we managed to get some natural light through some of the holes in the caverns and see some pictoglyphs. Unfortunately no flash photography was allowed… only a few photos.   Was an enjoyable experience.

Los Haitises Caves Los Haitises Caves 1 Los Haitises Caves 1.1 Los Haitises Caves 8 Los Haitises Caves 9

On the way back we dinked by a broken down old pier where the pelicans and the gulls hang out – all the time being circled by buzzards and frigate birds…..

Bird stop 1 Bird stop 2 Bird stop 3 Bird stop 4 Bird stop 5 Bird stop 6

We then went exploring further into the mangroves looking for a river which leads to an eco lodge. We found it – took the right hand turn – and carried on inland for about a mile while herons kept flying around ahead of us being startled by our arrival….   We found an area where boats tie up – so locked up dink – and went exploring. Well it was hot – and the track went on for a while – but we said hello to a few horses wandering around – and then came to a junction.

Trek to the eco lodge Horses

We had now spotted a rooftop peeking through so turned right and ended up at the Paraiso Cano Hondo eco resort. An amazing place – buildings created out of stones and natural waterfalls cascading into loads of pools…..     We had a couple of beers, wandered around, enjoyed the views, took some photos vowing to return the following day before departing for Morphie.

Eco 1 Eco 2 Eco 3 Eco 4 Eco 5 Eco 6 Eco 7 Eco 8 Eco 9 Eco 10 View from ecolodge

When we got back to the anchorage we had been joined by a large motoryacht so we had company for the night – which was a good thing. This is a pretty isolated place after the tourist day trip boats have left for the day! We had a quiet night in the cockpit – enjoyed a stormy sunset – and so to bed.

Sunset over Los Haitises

Saturday morning and we waited for the rain to stop before heading off out with a trip to the eco lodge planned. We had to go up and down for a little while before we could find the correct river again – and eventually we found it.   The trip up the river was amazing – this time we saw loads of eagles circling…..   Locked up dink, did the trek and came across this cow playing in the swings LOL.

Richard the explorerCow in the swings

We entered the resort – this time we had to pay $2.50 each to use the facilities – oh well, never mind.   We had a wonderful fresh grilled fish lunch with sticky rice and steamed vegetables and then wandered down to the pool and lazed around. We did go bobbing for a short while but wow the water was way too cold to stay in long.   But, of course, we did have to do the obligatory under the waterfall shots – brrrrrrr……

Richard in the waterfall Jan in the waterfal

We had had a very special day….and had big grins on our faces as we left the resort.   Back to dink – and I managed to catch my bum on a nail on the dock so another swimsuit bites the dust! – then meandered back through the mangroves to Morphie.   She was completely alone this time so looks like we are the only ones here tonight.

Morphie up the jungle

We had dinner and a quiet night – we were sitting in the cockpit in the dark when we heard two pirogues very near to us – and they circled us but Richard quickly put lights on down below and they headed off.   Phew…. And so to bed.

Sunday morning and we were up really early. The earlier rain had really flattened the sea so we made the most of it – motored out accompanied by two large dolphins briefly – and went all the way back out to the entrance of Samana Bay to whale watch…

Flat calm after the rain Goodbye Los Haitises

By this time loads of tourist whale watching boats were out and about and we watched then keenly through binoculars to see if there were any sightings.   Sadly there were none so we turned about and sailed back to the marina in very light airs…..   Never mind.   Back into a slip we sorted out the paperwork and I spoke to Mum to wish her Happy Mother’s Day and check our flowers had arrived before heading off to do laundry while Richard cleaned all the salt off Morphie’s topsides.   Later on we went over to At Last for sundowners – they are leaving for Puerto Rico tomorrow – and met their buddy boats…. We had a really nice evening.

This morning – Monday – I’m catching up with the blog while Richard is out in dink going around the hull to clean off all the salt and then we’re planning a pool afternoon. Tomorrow we are going to hire a car for a couple of days to continue exploring.

Bye for now


Crossing the Mona Passage to the Dominican Republic

By the time we had published the blog it was Friday afternoon so we decided to have lunch ashore….   We ordered a single portion of ribs to share between us and this slab of meat turned up!!! OMG – absolutely huge….   Very very tasty though so it we took about half back in a doggy bag.

Huge ribs

We popped into the chandlery – as we needed some more polish – and bumped into Pat and Eric. Wandered back down to the town dock with them and said our farewells….   We have really enjoyed their company over the last few days.

Back on board Morphie and we take the outboard off the dinghy…and stow on the rail. We then lift dink onto his davits for the trip.   I go below making food for the passage while Richard does final engine and other maintenance checks. We finalise our passage planning – insert the waypoints – and enable the chart plotter to follow the route. Then it is time for our final Boqueron sunset – followed by an amazing full moon – and then an early night.

Last sunset in Puerto Rico Full moon

We are up before the sun on Saturday morning and slip away quietly from the anchorage and say our final farewells to Puerto Rico.   The sun comes up to say goodbye as we go out through the reef under motor….

Sunrise over Boqueron Sunrise over Boqueron 2

Having cleared the shallows we then hoist our sails – on a broad reach passing Isla Desecheo to starboard. Then we changed direction slightly – now with the wind more or less behind us – so we ran on genoa alone. The seas picked up as we got deeper into the Mona Passage and were about 7 feet with gusts of wind up to 24 knots.   Going very smoothly – enjoying ourselves a lot – and we had a few ships crossing our path.   Gassa – a new crew member – was also enjoying himself.  No seriously, he is just a jerry jug of petrol in disguise LOL.

Into the Mona Passage


New crew member

One tanker, named the Casa Palma, was visible on the AIS but we could not eyeball him.   So we radioed him to ensure that he had seen us – and all we got back was ‘Get out of my way’!!!   Not very friendly to say the least….   Certainly not an officer and a gentleman….   We then went into our shift pattern and I took the first 6-9pm slot.   Richard went down below to get some sleep. However, the movement was pretty rolly as we had following winds and seas and sleeping was quite difficult.   I watched the sun go down and enjoyed the peace and quiet as the darkness descended.

Sunset at sea

At 9pm we swapped over and I went below…. Sleep was elusive but I enjoyed relaxing a bit….   Then we swapped again….and Richard saw the sun rise…..and let me have an extra hour in my bunk! Thank you – much appreciated…

Sunrise at sea

Coming up at 7am Richard told me that a 900 feet tanker had just changed course to avoid us – so he radioed to say thank you. Complete contrast to the other guy or what?!?   We got a picture of Iron Fritz as he passed us eventually.   He was a big chap!

Iron Fritz

After a good passage and a pretty uneventful night we started our approach into Samana and Richard saw a whale breach….then we saw two other water spouts as they exhaled….but sorry no pictures!  Very excited….   We ended up having to motor the last couple of miles because of the changing wind direction so we enjoyed the sights of the whale watching boats out and about and our first visual of Samana town.

Heading into Samana Bay

Samana town from the sea Whale watching trips

We approached where we though the marina was because, although in our pilot guide and on google earth, it didn’t appear on our latest chartplotter chip!   Finding the entrance a rib came out to tell us which side to tie our fenders on – so all prepared we turned sideways to the waves and ran into the entrance of the marina.  Followed the rib to find the slip they were pointing at to find it was on the opposite side of what they had told us – so Richard had to do some quick (difficult) manoeuvring in close quarters and strong winds while I ran around like a looney changing everything over. Finally we entered the slip – and one guy came on board to help us with the three pilings that we need to tie up to as well as those on the concrete dock.   Phew – all done.   We filled in the marina papers that we were given almost immediately – fending off dock workers who want to clean our boat – and then were escorted to the immigration / navy commandante to complete our clearance procedures.   We were expecting a range of officials to board our boat but we were spared this – perhaps coming in on a Sunday was a good idea!!!   Although we did get stung for overtime fees – having to pay $94 for the pleasure of checking into the Dominican Republic.   But hey, we’ve done it!    A passage of 158 miles in 30 hours from anchor up to docked in the marina.   We’ve crossed the Mona Passage…. woohoo…..another cruising milestone checked off.   Very pleased with ourselves.

We enjoyed the sight of the marina buildings before we got ourselves cleaned up and had a couple of hours sleep.

Puerto Bahia marina

We then went exploring…..   We didn’t realise that this marina was part of The Bannister Hotel which is listed as one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Wow is the only word to describe this place…..   And very good value as we get to use all the facilities of the hotel for only $1 a foot in the marina – bargain!

Puerto Bahia 1 Puerto Bahia 2 Puerto Bahia 3 Puerto Bahia 4 Puerto Bahia 5 Puerto Bahia 6 Puerto Bahia 7 Puerto Bahia 8 Puerto Bahia 9

We settled into the bar overlooking the marina and had a couple of Presidentes – the local brew – before turning in for the night.

Time for Presidente Chilling

Monday morning we explored a bit more around the marina – and spoke to the on-site tour people to see what is available. We had hoped to visit Santo Domingo while here – which has an ancient area a bit along the lines of old San Juan – but were told it was not safe to go on our own.   Shame we were really looking forward to that but hey, if these people live here and don’t recommend it, then who are we to ignore that type of advice????   With loads of information to consider we take ourselves off to do more domestic stuff – like laundry – while we left two local guys washing and waxing the topsides and cleaning the stainless steel…   We were going to do this ourselves but the price they wanted for the whole job was so reasonable we thought, why not???   We returned later to find Morphie sparkling….they had even climbed up the arch to clean the stainless steel, which is an area I always struggle to do…. So fantastic job!  Thanks guys.

Morphie enjoying her rest

In the afternoon we decided to take ourselves off to the pool – with waiter service even supplying towels and pillows – and went bobbing for the first time since we left the BVIs.   Was pure bliss – and the view out into the bay is just spectacular….   Had a wonderful time before having a quiet night back on board.

Bobbing again! Bobbing again 2

Tuesday morning we organised a taxi to take us into Santa Barbara Samana – the local town.   We need to get to the bank to pick up some drinking vouchers in pesos …   Leaving our manicured surroundings behind us we went first to the local fruit and veg market.   The place is absolutely manic – people everywhere, motorised rickshaws vying for trade, motorbikes with four people up, large drains running with more than water, and just completely crazy. Reminded us a little of India….   Anyway, we wandered around – purchased our fresh produce from a very helpful lady – and then spotted the butcher stands!   We always like to try local street food whilst out and about but chicken and pork parts laying in the full sun open to flies meant we quickly changed our minds about this….

Fruit and veg market

Samana 1 Butchers 2 Butchers Fruit and veg market 2

We then went downtown – got some local currency – and wandered around the seafront area. We came across a really pretty Methodist church called La Churcha which was shipped to Samana from England in pieces back in 1823 before being reconstructed. Amazing…

Samana 4 Samana 2 Samana 3 Samana 5

The town is really quite small – and a bit manic – and we enjoyed wandering around. We came across a large development of small shops with most of them empty. There was security though – and the guy really is leaning on his pump action shotgun as a seat!   Gave him a wide berth….

Samana 6 Samana 7

After exploring we went into a French restaurant that had been recommended by the tour office – and had a wonderful lunch.   Beef in green pepper sauce, chicken in mushroom sauce, followed by semifreddo and a deconstructed tarte tatin.   Really enjoyed it – it has been a long time since we have actually sat down and had a meal in a restaurant…..

Lunch stop Lunch 1 Lunch 2 Lunch 3 Lunch 4

Heading back to the marina we went to the pool…..had a couple more beers….and then went back to Morphie. After showering we decided to have a snooze and nothing else to eat for the day.   Of course we ended up waking up at 9pm so decided to stay put and that’s what we did LOL.

This morning – Wednesday – and we have just been to see the commandante and the marina office to secure permission to go over to Los Haitieses national park with Morphie for a couple of nights.   There are caves, mangroves, an eco lodge and beaches to explore so very pleased to have secured permission…and will head over there tomorrow. The rest of today will be spent chilling – and probably another visit to that fantastic pool providing the rain holds off….  Wind very strong right now with grey skies….

Bye for now


La Paguera to Boqueron, Puerto Rico

Friday afternoon – after I published the blog and before we left the restaurant – we checked our credit cards on line. We were horrified to find that they had been suspended again – and this time because they had been compromised with over £5k worth of expenditure from places as diverse as Vancouver, Delhi and Agra.   Quick telephone call to alert the company and, phew, we are not liable. But of course now the cards have to be destroyed and we lose access. Very frustrating as we are very careful with them and have only used them in reputable stores…and never let them out of our sight.   The bank reckons we got cloned at a checkout with a card reader…   There really is no defence against this happening.   The bank are willing to post new ones out to us but it will take as long as it takes – and we need to stay in one place to receive them.   We have heard horror stories of people being stuck for as long as seven weeks during this process so we ask them not to send new cards – we’ll be in touch when we get somewhere we intend to stay for a while…..   So we had two more beers and a late lunch while we talked through our strategy for coping without them!

When we had recovered from the news – and had devised a plan – we talked to the restaurant owner about the spy blimp and we were told that the locals are very suspicious as the area is heavily guarded and not accessible to anyone – leading to views that there are aliens being held there…. Is this another Roswell LOL????   A local guy had even painted their idea of the secret installation.


Back on board we were buzzed by a spy helicopter – the authorities here appear very nervous about who is in this area as there are only two occupied boats in the anchorage – conspiracy theorists would love it here!

Being buzzed 1 Being buzzed

Saturday morning we were up very early and bade farewell to La Paguera as the sun was coming up.   We headed out along the coast and had to motor as the wind hadn’t picked up yet.   And that remained the case – the seas were still rolling along behind us – but the wind didn’t reach 10 knots so we ended up motoring all of the 20 miles around the bottom of the coast, past Cabo Rojo’s cliffs, and made our way into Boquerón.

Leaving La Paguera Leaving La Paguera 2 Downwind sailing Cabo Rojo

We recognised Cutter Loose in the anchorage straight away so anchored not too far behind them.   We were still getting ourselves organised when they swung by – they had hired a car so were on their way out for the day.     Boqueron has a large anchorage all sheltered behind reefs with a long beach at the head of it.   Flat calm too – nice.

Flat calm Boqueron anchorage

Having got ourselves and Morphie all cleaned up we dinked in – to a proper dinghy dock, hurrah! – to wander the town.   Well the town is really small with a number of bars, restaurants, residential and business properties littered up and down the narrow streets.   We found a little supermarket and got some fresh produce and then I found a beauty parlour.   Yay – am long overdue for a haircut!  So popped in and booked for Tuesday – looking forward to that..   As we wandered back down towards the waterfront we were given a lift back by Eric and Pat in their car and so we sat on the waterfront together, had a couple of beers, and enjoyed people watching as the Puerto Ricans started partying.   After a few hours we headed back to Morphie for a lovely sunset.

Main street Pat and Eric Boqueron sunset 1

Sunday morning and we did boat jobs. Richard got into the water – which, while a pretty colour, is full of nutrients and has no visibility whatsoever – and cleaned the waterline while I did the laundry.   We then wandered ashore and looked around a bit more.   We enjoyed the sight of the local oyster / clam sellers although definitely did not fancy trying them.   We loved the gulls who sit on the pilings of a broken down pier – one each and no squabbling.   We went in a few shops – all selling the same tourist tut – and then the skies turned black.   We dashed for cover and ended up in a bar – oh well – worse ways to spend an afternoon.

Selling local oysters and clams One gull per piling Menacing clouds Rain rain go away

Back on board – in a gap in the weather – and we were sitting in the cockpit and realised that we were in the middle of a race track!  Did we tell you that Puerto Ricans are petrol heads????!!!!   Finally the boat left us alone, we enjoyed a spectacular sunset, and had an early night.  The party ashore was just getting going at this point but we didn’t fancy it…..

Anchored in a race track! Boqueron sunset 2

Monday morning and we had a lazy start.   It is so still out here in the anchorage it is hard to believe the forecasts that say that the Mona Passage currently has 10 foot seas and 35 knots!   We can’t even determine where the sky ends and the sea begins today….   We had a busy cleaning and tidying day as Eric and Pat are coming over for dinner and I do like to make sure Morphie looks her best when we have company.   We are cooking them a curry as they like to eat it and don’t know how to make it.     Well it was a success – they loved the food – and very kindly supplied the wine to go with it. We had a lovely evening.

Boqueron anchorage Difficult to tell sky and sea apart

Tuesday morning and I go to get my hair cut while Richard goes off to the petrol station – called Doggy Gas would you believe LOL – to fill up our diesel and petrol jerry cans.

Petrol station

He then went to the bar with the best internet we could find and I joined him there later, suitably shorn, having dodged the rain again…..   We caught up with the news and spoke again to the credit card company as online it was saying we had to pay £4k by 13 March… Errrrr, don’t think so!   Got that sorted – headed back to the dock – and bumped into Eric and Pat again.   We arranged to meet the following day and went our separate ways. The whole town appears only to be awake and open at weekends!  We had a lazy – rainy – afternoon and evening back on board.

Boqueron sunset 3

Wednesday morning and we got up early – did a few boat jobs – and then met Eric and Pat who took us in the car to the large Pueblo supermarket. I am amazed at how industrial this area is inland with the four lane highways and the endless parade of restaurants, fast food outlets and malls etc.  It is all a bit run down too….  We had a great shopping trip and came back laden with some lovely fruits and fresh vegetables.   Back on board we stowed all the stuff – and then Richard and I went for a walk along the beach and had a glimpse at the marina.   The water is really cloudy with lots of sea grass so you can’t see the bottom – so we didn’t fancy bobbing here. It is a manatee area but no chance of seeing them in this water.

Boqueron beach 1 Boqueron beach 2Boqueron beach 4 Marina complex Manatee area

We enjoyed the beach although was a bit surprised by the ramp for wheelchair users to access the sea – which was clearly no longer in use – and perhaps it might be something to do with the 12 inch step to get onto it in the first place? Duh!   Pretty palm trees and lifeguard huts with very few people around – and then we come across a huge recycling centre. What???   Strange place to have it…

Wheelchair access

Boqueron beach 3

Anyway…. we wandered behind the beach back towards the town…. And we came across a lovely bar with a really nice swimming pool. Hmmm…. wouldn’t mind spending time here. So we asked the barmaid Claudia whether we could use the pool and the answer was yes – for $18 per person per day. Er…. don’t think so – thanks.   Obviously that’s why the place is empty!   We had a nice time chatting and watching the iguanas in the tree near the pool. They bathe in the pool as well apparently….

Nice pool Claudia Iguana tree

Back later to Morphie and we spot an iguana in the sea – this isn’t the first time since we had been here – and very strange to have one of these turning up around the boat as we are a good 500 yards off shore.   We have another early night after a spectacular sunset.

Swimming iguana

Boqueron sunset 5Thursday morning and went off out with Eric and Pat again.    We stop by Puerto Real on the way – definitely a one horse town but Richard was at least able to replace his lost fishing lure that got eaten by a (huge?) fish on the trip round here.   Then onto Mayaguez and we went into the old colonial style customs house. Through security and to the customs window – and the guy just gave us a stamped and signed piece of paper for us to fill in at our leisure…. Took all of five minutes – so we can leave whenever we want – excellent!   Although seems slightly at odds with the requirement to make telephone calls every time we move port.

Puerto Real One horse town

Back to the car and we went to an artisan baker / café for lunch – soup and speciality sandwiches.   What a find….delicious food.   And we came away with some ciabatta for later.   After dropping off the car we headed back to Boqueron by taxi and had a couple of beers before heading back to Morphie for another quiet night on board.

Local brew

This morning – Friday – and we are making preparations to go to sea early Saturday morning.   So a busy day ahead but we are looking forward to being on the move again – having been frustrated whilst waiting for decent passage weather.   We have enjoyed our time in Puerto Rico, particularly the splendid architecture of old San Juan and Ponce.  However, as a cruising area, we have been a bit disappointed….  But the people are really friendly and helpful and we have felt very safe here…..

Our next destination is Samana in the Dominican Republic – across the notorious stretch of water called the Mona Passage.   There is a huge trench running down this channel with areas that shallow up from 3,300 to 120 feet – creating a washing machine / whirlpool effect.   There is also seismic activity with the last underwater eruption last month.   On top of that the coast of the DR will be a lee shore – so we need to stay a good distance offshore to remain safe.   Nothing to worry about though so long as we take a longer route to avoid all this – making a 150 mile plus passage.     We should arrive sometime Sunday afternoon…..   and hoping for whales along the way as it is breeding season right now – fingers crossed.

Bye for now