Thursday, April 5, 2012

Turks & Caicos to Dominican Republic

After six day of exploring Providenciales, Caicos, or Provo (“just say Provo mon, don’t hurt your tongue.”), and a thorough boat cleaning, it was time to depart T&C. 

We made an early morning exit on high tide to clear the sand bar and other skinny water near the marina entrance.

The water did not get deep for several hours as we crossed the Caicos Bank.  In several spots we had less than 4’ under the keel, and several times we had to change course to dodge coral heads.  You definitely want to cross the Caicos Banks when the visibility is good.

That afternoon, we were in deep water again and headed for Big Sand Cay.

Ensuring the anchor set was easy in the beautiful clear water.  We didn’t need to dive on the anchor, but we didn’t pass up the opportunity for a great swim.

Eight hours later, at 12:30 AM, we departed for the 12 hour crossing to the Dominican Republic.  After seeing the low lying limestone Bahamian Islands for months, the green hills and mountains of the DR were a welcome sight.

On the north coast of the DR you only have two real options.  You go into Luperon’s well protected harbor that is known for its tricky entrance, garbage strewn water and corrupt officials, or you can go into the Ocean World Marina a few miles to the east near Puerto Plata.  We chose the well marked entrance, clean water and marina oversight of officials at Ocean World.

Four line handlers met the boat and tied us off near the bird show in progress.  Soon, customs, immigration, PR Navy, navy intelligence, and a drug enforcement agent accompanied by a marina official asked to come aboard.  All remained on the back deck as we completed the necessary paper work.  We were told that each, accompanied by one of us had the authority to inspect the boat.  After I stated that we had no weapons, all declined the inspection, except the navy intelligence gentleman that asked to see the engine room.  They all were very amused by Pollie’s herb garden.

We had been warned that the Dominicans like their music loud and late into the night.  I think we may get a taste of it from the nearby casino and nightclub this Easter weekend.

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