Saturday, May 4, 2013

Punta Cana

Instead of doing an overnight trip across to Dominican Republic and along the north coast we opted to head for Cap Cana Marina in Punta Cana on the east coast. The marina is reportedly a high end destination with plenty of slips, restaurants, good service and a cruiser friendly price tag. As we approached we called in to reserve a slip for the night. They would send out a pilot boat to guide us in through the markers and to the marina.
We followed the pilot boat along and passed a few local fishermen stringing nets out beside us. Being friendly I waved, and then noticed that the man driving the boat was completely naked. He did wave back. I guess it saves on laundry.
We found our way into the marina and we told to go to the fuel dock to await customs and immigration. Nothing that we could see even slightly resembled a fuel dock. It was actually a concrete sea wall in the area of new construction condos. If you needed fuel, they would bring out a tanker.

So we sat and waited for the officials to arrive. It was hot with not a breeze to be had. Brian offered Pasquale (the pilot boat driver) something cold to drink. He readily accepted a Coke with ice and proceeded to share it with a couple of others. He told us that we were required to buy a Dominican courtesy flag and it would cost $15. We agreed, paid him $20 because he didn't have change and he told us we could get it first thing in the morning before we left.
I filled out all our paperwork. Paid $63 to enter the country and $20 for the Navy while Brian rounded up 6 more cups of ice and Coke to hand out. As we were about to head to our slip I heard a call of "Lady! Coca-Cola...Please? Since we had no more disposable cups he made do with an empty sour cream container.
Once we were in our slips we were given a ride to the marina office on a kind of flat bed golf cart. Don let me sit in front while he sat backwards on the flatbed part. Thank goodness he had his elbows well inside because our driver was texting and driving and nearly sideswiped an electrical hookup. We twisted and turned our way on and on and finally arrived at the office. Don and I both wondered if we would have to walk back to the boats and if so, would we remember how to get there.
The paperwork took a little time. Multiple copies of our passports, boat documents and credit cards were taken. I'm not sure what the reason for this was. Surely one copy would be enough. We confirmed that we would be leaving early the next morning and were assured that everything was in order and we didn't need to do anything else.
On the ride back to the boats we were shown the beach, pools and restaurants. All very nice and mostly deserted.
We were all looking forward to dinner in a restaurant so asked for some suggestions. There were a few, even a few that had good food for "no mucho doneros". Unfortunately none of them looked close enough to walk to so we settled for a quick bite on the boat accompanied by plenty of Mosquitos and the sounds of the still hammering (well after dark) construction crew. Our slips were a long way out so we couldn't access the Internet either. It was an early bedtime with a planned 6:30ish departure for Samana.
Our Dominican flags had been promised by 6 am, but by 6:30 there was still no sign of them. With a long way to travel today we decided that we couldn't wait any longer. We quietly left our slips as the sun was coming up. A call into the marina halted our plans because now we again had to wait for the Navy and our dispatchio papers. We found and empty spot on a sea wall and proceeded to wait again. By the time we were inspected, yet again, and paid $20 to leave, yet again it was seriously messing up our plans for reaching Samana before dark.
The problem with the north coast of Dominican Republic is that there are not that many accessible places to stop. We did find one. Ensenada de la Finca, on the south side of Samana Bay, 62 miles away.
The only other boats to be seen here were the local fishermen. Shortly after dropping the hook we saw a fishing boat approaching Que Sera Sera. We assumed they were offering to sell us some fresh fish. No, it was the Dominican Navy. Who would have thought we would be inspected again, here of all places.
They came aboard and were all very polite. They spoke no English and we spoke no Spanish but we made do. We sent the boys on their way with a cold cerveza each and this time, no $20.
Next stop? An overnight run to Puerto Plata.
Interesting clouds over the Samana peninsula
Interesting cloud formation over the Samana peninsula

Another Mahi! Check out those colours!

A beautiful clear night and we approached Ocean World Marina just before sunrise.

We filled the fuel tank at $5 a gallon (the most expensive we have seen) and rested up for the next leg tomorrow. The staff at Ocean World are really good. There was always someone there to grab our lines and an offer of a ride wherever you needed. They actually even gave all of us a golf cart ride to a restaurant down the road for dinner.
Upon checkout however we had to pay another $20 to leave. Each time you leave a port (not just the country) We really like the Dominican Republic but it's easy to see why so many cruisers avoid it. The time and money spent on legalities makes you think twice.


  1. Should've gone to Bayahibe...I'm telling you...You'd love it... :-)

  2. Don't suppose you noticed a couple of boats run by an outfit called "Mikes Marina".. Run by a crazy German guy...


About Us

Brian, Sally and Cricket the cat sailing on our 41 foot Morgan Classic sailboat. In October 2011 we sold our house, quit our jobs and set out for Florida in search of a sailboat. We found her in Madeira Beach Florida. A 1987 41 foot Morgan Classic. Our plan is to sail for a couple of years. First to the Bahamas, after that...who knows.