Sunday, January 07, 2007

Saturday 6th January

Dominican Republic

19 54.4 N
70 56.5 W

We arrived at the entrance to Luperon at sunrise. After the low lying islands of the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos it was nice to see some hilly landscape, which appears to be quite lush. Gerry went below to guide me through the channel into the harbour (more reef) using our secondary charts rather than the less detailed chart plotter one. Once we were in the harbour I had to get him to come back out into the cockpit as he kept trying to direct me to anchoring spots – what he hadn’t seen was the vast fleet of boats already anchored here. We found a spot to drop the anchor and donned our headsets, Gerry set off to the bow whilst I awaited his directions at the wheel. Before giving a single direction he returned to the cockpit and said those famous words –“Houston we have a problem”. Tired and cranky I asked what the problem was – “we have no anchor, it’s gone”. Now any other time it might seem funny but all we wanted to do was to stop, luckily we have 2 spare anchors (don’t leave home without the spares!) - a Bruce and the Fortress that I wrote about a couple of blogs back. Gerry grabbed the Fortress, a couple of shackles and headed back to the bow where he proceeded to attach and then drop the anchor. We flew our Q flag, tidied up the cockpit mess and were almost immediately accosted by “Handy Andy” – the local “fix everything guy” – Coke, water, ice, boat cleaning, laundry, fuel, tours and anything else you may desire he can get or supply. We asked for some water to wash the boat down with and for the customs officers to check us in. Andy returned with Customs first and we jumped the hoops to make them happy, they were polite and efficient required no money but were open to “Gifts” – beer, rum, cigars etc. We found out that we had to then go to immigration to clear there as well. Gerry did this whilst I waited for Andy to return with the water – there are 2 types of water – one suitable for drinking and one for washing boat / clothing etc. we got the right stuff for cleaning the boat. Immigration cost $45 which wasn’t too bad and the visas are for 90 days – not that we plan on being here that long. We cracked open a couple of cans of coke and had just taken the first sip when Gerry said he saw a boat moving out behind our boat, Oh no he didn’t – what he saw was us drifting as the wind had changed direction and clocked the boat around, lifting the anchor. In our “anchor confusion” we had done what the cruising guide Guru clearly states not to do – we had anchored in the direction that all the boats were pointing when we arrived instead of anchoring into the prevailing Easterly winds. The funny thing was we had talked about the anchoring direction just prior to our arrival so it was a stupid mistake, luckily it was one that was quickly and easily remedied. Once the anchor was reset Gerry headed off for a sleep whilst I made sure we didn’t drift again and played open and close the hatches as several rain showers went through. We have speculated what happened to the missing anchor and we think that the pin holding the swivel to which the anchor is attached came loose and the swivel and anchor just dropped off the bow into the water somewhere en route. We found the offending pin in the anchor locker. A second option is that we have caused the wrath of the weather gods to explode by facing down and progressing in all these rotten weather systems that keep being thrown our way and the Gods have exacted their price – 1 anchor! The third option is that Davey Jones needed it for his locker – we feel certain that it won’t be recovered from there as the depth of the water we were crossing was into the thousands of feet, Davey’s need is obviously greater than ours! When all is said and done we are going to have to buy a new anchor when we get somewhere that sells them because at the rate of 1 lost anchor every 2 months we are going to be anchorless by the time we get to Panama.We took the dink into shore in the evening, having a quick ride around the harbour to find where we could tie up, eventually finding the dinghy dock at the “marina”. We then walked the 100 feet to the closest bar/ restaurant, which happened to be be at the “marina” and enjoyed a couple of drinks and a fish meal there, it was a very pleasant end to the otherwise trial some day. We managed to have a chat with a couple of expats who seem to have made Luperon their home ( barflies!) and found out a few gems of important local knowledge about places to go and ones to avoid so tomorrow we will go off exploring and hopefully we will find the internet café and I can up load this blog..



Post a Comment

<< Home