Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Arrived Dominican Republic

February 28, 2009.
We had too much fantastic wind, squalls complete with a lightning show, big waves, and too much speed on our trip to Luperon. We could have sailed the whole way, but with deeply reefed main and headsail, we had too much speed to arrive at dawn here, so we had to take in the genoa and motorsail with the double reefed main. It was a sloppy trip, noisy and uncomfortable. But we are here.
As you approach the DR you can see the lushness, so very different from the Turks and Caicos, only 100 miles away. You need to get pretty far in before you see channel markers (unheard of in the other islands). The harbor is packed with anchored boats, with several shoals calling for you to settle upon them but friendly cruisers cautioning otherwise.
Upon our arrival, Handy Andy and Poppo motored up to our boat in their skiff to introduce themselves. We gather that they do just about anything and everything: bottom clean boats, deliver water or fuel, arrange for whatever. About a half hour later, they delivered the representative from the Navy (in the camo and black boots), who reviewed our paperwork and took away our exit papers from the Turks and Caicos. We were then told to report to Immigration ashore. Handy Andy explained that there was no fee, but they did accept gifts. What in the heck this really meant we have no idea, although he did say “you understand, there is no fee, but you may give gifts if you’d like”. Peter gave them $10, just in case. At Immigration, he paid $63 plus $10 for something else that was not clear to him. Agriculture visited the boat and inspected our fruits and vegetables, milk, and cheese; $20 for this service. We were now cleared in.
We walked into town. There is not a lot of money here, but it did not feel that way. The streets were crowded with few cars but many motor scooters (motoconchos) which are for hire for a lift to get where you need to go. All of these drivers are reckless and fast. Our friends Nancy and Dick rode these guys, I think I will pass.
We exchanged some dollars for some pesos at the gift shop, 35 pesos to the dollar, then bought some fruit and veggies at a stand: 4 bananas, one pineapple, 3 red peppers, and a Chinese eggplant, all for the equivalent of $3. We bought ice cold Presidentes, the local beer, for about $1 a piece at a supermercado, nothing at all like a grocery store. Christine was able to communicate for us with her high school Spanish but a lot of people seem to speak or at least understand English.
We had dinner (chicken quesadilla and BBQ chicken dinner, which we shared )rum drinks and more Presidentes at Steve’s, which was a recommended restaurant. Dinner and drinks for 4 of us: $48. We may never leave.

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