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Provo to Luperon

PROVO TO LUPERON

Tuesday - May 29 20012

Left Provo out through the reef into the bay and had a pod of dolphins swimming with our boat.
Overnight-ed on the west end

Wednesday
Sailed in 16 knots at 7.5 knots to the south side of provo.
Overnight-ed in Sapodillia Bay.

Thursday
Motored across the Caicos Bank to South Caicos which is actually just South of East Caicos.
About a 35 mile trip.

Friday
Wanted to leave South Caicos first thing in the morning but it was blowing pretty hard right out of the east.
It settled down a bit by noon so we decided to make a run for it.
Grand Turk is only 20 miles but the wind was still in our face so we had to motor all the way.

Saturday – Grand Turk
Poked around Grand Turk, the capitol of the Turks and Caicos.
It's a beautiful little island full of history and old houses and public buildings.

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Met a Canadian couple, Dennis & Peggy, who moved here and started a business making and marketing Grand Turk, Islander, Hard Ginger Beer. Met them on the street when we asked directions and he offered us a couple of his Ginger Beers. Hit the spot on a hot day.

Sunday
The Island is shut down so we decided to go diving. We're anchored about 500 yards off the beach and we can see some dive/mooring balls a few hundred yards further out. So off we go in the dinghy. When we get out to the ball I put on my mask and stick my head in the water to see what's down there. Pull my head out, look at Penny and all I can say is “Holy Crap”. She says “What?” Again I say “Holy Crap. Wait till you see this”.

We're in about 25 feet of water but just off to the right is a ledge/cliff that drops straight down to forever. It's the WALL.

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After the dive I use up the rest of our air to clean the bottom of the boat. Small barnacles are starting to take root and must be scraped off. I use a stainless steel drywall blade. It takes a little over an hour.

We go to shore looking for a bag of ice and maybe some sugar. Everything is closed, Sunday, except the gas station and they have the sugar but no ice. So we walk around some more looking for another store when we run into Dennis and Peggy again. They invite to stop by for some more Ginger Beer and even give us a bag of ice. They tell us we can see a rip-saw band at the Osprey Hotel tonight. So we're getting ready to go and have the generator and AC running, when the generator stops. That's not supposed to happen especially since we just spent $1500 on it in Provo. Dam. Nothing to do but deal with it in the morning. So we hop in the dinghy and head over to the Osprey. We have to land on the beach as there is no dock. Wet sandy feet get rinsed off in their pool, we find a table and consider what flavor of beverage we shall enjoy, when the band stops. It's 9:15 and they are done. Dam.

I tell Penny “Screw it. Let's just go back to the boat and make our own drinks.

Monday

After some poking around I find the problem with the generator. The salt water through hull fitting has a 90 degree elbow that is clamped to a hose that leads to a strainer filter then to the generator. It is a weekly practice to clean all the through hull filters, which we always do. But I wasn't getting water to the filter, so I took the hose off the 90 elbow and found it packed with weeds. Also the elbow was brittle and basically fell apart in my hands. Luckily I found a plastic fitting that worked but we really need to check all the brass fitting on all the through hulls. Or else we could sink.

Squared away we headed down to Salk Cay. Our last stop before the Dominican Republic.

Salt Cay
It's small. About 1.5 x 3 miles.
We pulled in and got anchoring instructions from the local bar over the radio.
We get settled and dinghy over to a small protected cove where the bar/restaurant/dive shop is.
We meet Gary, who's wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers shirt, and his wife. After getting some ribbing for being a Cleveland native he buys us a couple beers. We meet the owner and she's from Dayto, Ohio and I get razzed by her too. All in good fun.

The next morning we go back to the dive shop to get our scuba tanks filled, say goodby and motor off to head south. The seas are calm with about 6 – 8 knots of wind. Penny suggests that we load the dinghy on the davits for the 90 mile trip to the Dominican Republic. I agree but we plan to stop and fish on the way and may want to toke a quick swim. We can flip the dinghy later.

We motor South, around the Salt Cay and across a 4 mile bank. Other side looks like a good place to fish. We get 3 nice sized trigger fish and 3 medium sized grouper. Godd enough. That's all we need. We're kind of excited about the fish and thinking cleaning them and getting underway. I neglect to load the dinghy. But I do check the tow line and cable. It's double tied and the seas are calm so it's ok.

We motor south east till we get north of our destination. Now we can set sail and head straight to Luperon, D.R. It's a good set and we're making good headway. The sun sets, the stars are out. We're waiting for the full moon to rise and the winds is starting to pick up.

It's about 2:00 or 3:00 am and the wind is now about 16 – 17 knots. The seas are building to 7 – 8 feet. We ease our sails to spill some wind a bit. This helps the boat sail flatter and we're doing about 6.5 knots. All is good till I look back and see the dinghy about 100 feet behind the boat. It broke loose.

“Penny. Drop the main NOW.” I turn into the wind. “Furl the gib.” I grab the gib furler, she keeps tension on the gib sheets we git the gib in. But it's sloopy and has wrapped back on itself. No time to fix that now. Gotta find the dinghy. “Get me the searchlight.”

I go back on our track, slightly downwind to where I think we lost the dinghy. I should had hit the “man overboard” button on the GPS but didn't think of it. We motor back, circle around, intencely looking for something in the water. The seas are now a good 8 – 10 feet high and all we see is whitecaps all around us. It's no use. The dinghy is gone. So are our oars, boat gas can and fill hose. S.O.A.B.

We turn back to the wind and set the mainsail. Get ourselves on course and try to set the gib. But it's all messed up and back on itself. I turn back into the wind to drop the main and ease the wind on the gib. But it won't shake free. I turn downwind to go with the waves and settled the boat down. I have to go forward to straighten out the gib. Somehow it backed itself over one of the sheets (lines). Penny loosened the straboard sheet so I could get it free. The wind caught the sail and ripped the sheet from the cockpit and out the fairlead. I got it back but somehow it was more of a mess. I had to untangle both sheets now and get them back to the cockpit. In 10 foot seas now.

Finally get the gib sorted out. It's way to rough and windy to set sail so we decide to motor back on course and get settled down. We're both pretty shaken. A shot of Cointreau might help right now. We are REALLY rocking and pitching as I go down into the cabin, pour a small cup when all the DC power goes out. No lights, no navigation, no auto pilot, no nuthin. I feel the turn abruptly. The Cointreau bottle flys off the counter, I drop the cup in the sink and climb up the companionway to the cockpit. Grab the helm to steady the boat and tell Penny to go below to find the power problem. A couple of minutes later the power is back. She found the 2 power feed switches at the inverter/charger panel that I bumped while getting the Cointreau. We rescue the Cointreau and take a couple of hits. We aren't saying much.

It's now a solid 20 knots with 10 – 12 foot seas. I look out into the seas to port and I'm looking UP at the top of swells right next to the boat. We ride up the front and down the backside of each one. And we have 6 hours to go.

Exhausted we make Luperon about 9:00am.

Luperon is a town with a fairly large, protected bay, (hurricane hole), kinda like a big lake. A lot of cruising boats here either anchored out or on a ball.
We find a small marina that can take us and tie up dockside.
Penny grabs a shower while I wash up and shave, We need to look presentable for customs and immigration. They show up while Pen is still in the shower.

Two guys. One in street clothes and one military dude. I get all the papers out. Passports, boat papers etc.. They search the boat politely. I offer our 45 pistol. Now we have to take all of that to town to check in, A local guy, Eddie, on the next boat offers to take us in his dinghy over to the government dock. Penny has to stay with the boat. We get to the dock but it's still about a 10 minute walk to town. I have to go to the Department of Tourism, Immigration, the Navy, and some other office. All in a small trailer at the end of the road. It's hot, about mid 90's and no AC. Eddie is my translator. Each office want's their share of “thee monee”. But no one has change. So we just keep track, adding it up as we go. Eddie says, “ You only been here a couple of hours and you got credit”. Keeps the mood light.Last stop we have to go to the local police station to surrender the gun. It's up a hill about a million or so steps. We get there but the officer is not. I make sure I get something in writing so I can get the gun back when we check out. My bill comes to $137.00 for everything. I had $150 so they can now make change.

Eddie and I head back to the boat. I ask him what I owed him for his trouble. He said don't worry about it. He knows what a hassle it is for people to go through the system and he was glad to help. I thank him. He says he could use a little gas if I had any. I gave him what gas I had. We don't need it with no dinghy.

One good thing is they have a bar at the marina, right at the end of the dock.

Posted by Heart of Gold 15:37

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Comments

Sorry to hear about the dingy we hope you find one on your travels. That night must have been nerve reaching but sounds like you handled it.
Our prayers and safe voyage gordon

by Gordon

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