Posted by: rosyroadsadventures | June 3, 2011

Samaná, Dominican Republic

N 19° 11.66′   W 69° 21.31′

We arrived in lovely Samaná (pronounced “sah-mah-NAH”) on Thursday morning. The weather forecast was acceptable for the 25 hour, 130 mile run: winds 10 – 15 knots from the east-southeast, seas less than 5 feet. We decided to leave rather than spend what was predicted to be a very rainy week in Luperón.

Bob checked out with the Comandante, who came aboard again to inspect the boat, and re-visited all the various customs officials he saw on arrival. Then the requested “despacho” to Samaná was issued. Any port visited in the DR requires the same process, although the fees are less after initial check-in. Anchor duty was messy, with evidence of high barnacle growth on the first 25 feet of anchor chain that was not buried in the mud.

Under way, the weather and seas were mostly as predicted and I didn’t feel well until the winds settled down at night. Dining under way consisted of pre-made sandwiches and easy to grab snacks.

Some of the north DR rugged coastline


Bob took most of the watches during the day, and I relieved him for a couple of short naps, then took a longer watch at night when I felt better. Watch requires checking the navigation instruments and charts to be sure we are on course, looking out for boat traffic, and being alert for any malfunctioning equipment. At night the visibility is minimal and you are pretty dependent on the instrumentation. Occasional rain showers showed up on the radar, and that took extra scrutiny to be there was no boat traffic obscured by the clutter on the screen. We didn’t see any boats between Puerto Plata and Samana, over a one hundred mile stretch. I set a kitchen timer at 15 minute intervals to wake me up in case I accidentally dozed. Staying close to shore to catch the calmer seas at night, part of Bruce Van Sant’s formula, requires paying close attention. If you fall asleep during a watch you could quickly run the boat aground.

Lady has been disappointed that she has seen no dolphins since leaving Florida, but continues to stand watch, just in case

She was thrilled to find this bottle-nose dolphin as we rounded Cabo Samaná in the calm morning seas


This little guy stayed with us for about 45 minutes, getting a push from our wake. The bow is reflected in the background.

We arrived at Puerto Bahia marina around 10 am. Docking in a new place is always a bit exciting. We couldn’t reach the dock master on the radio for arrival instructions. It turned out their marine radio was broken, and they could hear us hailing them, but were unable to transmit. We were greeted by several dock staff who waved directions to our assigned slip. As line handler, I have learned that no matter the plan, it is best to prepare lines on both sides of the boat in case the plan changes at the last minute. That was useful here, since our “port tie” suddenly became a “starboard tie”. The dock staff spoke very little English, and there was lots of yelling and gesturing to get the job done. I made note to look up the Spanish phrases that would have been useful: “we would like a port tie, stern in”, “loosen that line please”, “take this line to that cleat”, etc.  In the middle of the commotion Lady decided to demonstrate to all that she had fully mastered the doggie pottie on the bow for both #1 and #2; not the best timing with all of our lines on deck. In any case, we arrived safely, and after a little clean-up, all was well.

The crew ready for arrival in Samaná

It has been overcast since our arrival. Even so, the scenery is breathtaking and I am anxiously awaiting sunshine to capture the beauty on film. We hope to see more of the area, and will watch the weather for a good opportunity to cross the Mona Passage.




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