A Travellerspoint blog

Samana & Puerto Bahia Marina

Luperon
June 6th - 15th
Luperon 016

Luperon 016


Luperon_029.jpg

Luperon is a small town at the end of a mangrove harbor. The harbor is kinda like a big lake.
Many cruisers stage out of here. Many stay for months or years.
There used to be a 1200 room Club Med type resort here but 5 years ago the local owner died, there was a family dispute and they ended up selling it to some bad people who used it to launder drug money. So we hear. Now it's abandoned and the town should be but it's not.

The GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY.

The GOOD
Cheap beer – 1 litre for about $1.75, in the bar.
Cheap food, at the bars and grocery store.
Cheap dock rent - $15 a day with electric when it's on.
Friendly people very willing to help you out.

The BAD
The customs and immigration.
They pretty much charge you what they think they can get away with.
The navy punk who checked us out, inspected our boat and stole our Cannon digital camera.
Free but unreliable internet.

The UGLY
Luperon rental cars. It was a beater Chevy Tracker that sounded like the rear end was falling out on every corner. The power steering reservoir had no cap and the master brake reservoir had bubble wrap cap with rubber bands holding it on. Brake peddle to the floor and wait for the car to stop.
The town itself. Run down, old buildings with trash on the streets and open gutters at the curbs, and dogs and chickens running around.

One highlight. The 27 falls of damajaqua cascades.
From Penny's facebookpage.
P1650109

P1650109

June 13 - Damajagua Falls
Was our first clue the helmets and the life jackets? We got off to a slow start this morning because we didn't know where we were going. We use the internet for everything so we looked until we found a website with very specific instructions about how to find the 27 Charcos, the Falls on the Damajagua River. We packed a lunch and cranked up the rattle trap and off we went.... The park is about 30 minutes from Luperon and heavily trafficked by the local tour companies. It really is an impressive operation. When we entered the main pavillion, we wemt to a desk to buy our tickets. Falls 13 - 27 were closed. That was OK by us because we had decided we were going to do the first 12 anyway. We were told to leave our glasses and hats in the car. Then we were outfitted with life vests and helmets and assigned to a guide. The guide told us we didn't need the helmets yet, we had a 35 minute walk to falls 12. What he didn't tell us was it was mostly up hill! PUFF PUFF PANT PANT. We walked through beautiful old forest with huge trees and ferns and flowers, across suspension bridges and up lots of steps. So..here we are above this narrow gorge with water rushing past about 20 feet below us and our guide tells us to put on our helmets....and jump. I'm thinking...ain't no way. I let Dan go first..and he's standing there looking at the water...and looking around but there's no way Mr. Guide is taking no for an answer...so we JUMPED. I didn't even think aout how cold the water would be. Actually after the hike, it felt GOOD. We proceeded to wade, walk, swim and slide our way down all 12 cascades. It was an amazing experience. It was a series of natural waterslides, very steep and each ending in a deep pool. After the first few slides and jumps, I stopped being afraid and just laughed. By the time we were done, we both said we would do it again. At the end of the falls, you have to walk back but that path is mostly level and ends at the bar. After a refreshing adult beverage, we climbed back in the rattletrap and headed back toward Luperon. I started to change out of my damp clothes in the car. That's when the police stopped us. We had our contract for the rattle trap but no proof of insurance except that contract. They threatened to take the car. It's really hard to be cool when you're talking to armed militia in a country where you don't speak the language and you're holding your clothes up in front of yourself because you're naked underneath. They let us go...bad politics to hassle the tourists I guess.

June 17 Santa Barbara de Samana
Sorry It's been a few days since the last post but we've been busy. On Thursday we realized our weather window was shorter than we thought. In order to get to Bahia Samana on the East coast of the DR we had to leave Luperon right away. We checked out with the local comdancia, $20 please for a dispacio to Ocean World. (we discovered later that the Navy guy who "inspe...cted" our boat, stole our camera.)
We got everything stowed and left at dawn Friday because our intention at that point was to sail only as far as the marina at Ocean World and stay for a day or two. It's about a 3 hour motorsail from Luperon and along the way we decided to take on fuel at Ocean World and keep going. We took on fuel but we had to check in and check out...again...and give the DR Navy guys another $20...hmmm this is getting old. We motorsailed as far as Sosoa and then anchored about 2 pm. The sea breeze was making it too rough. The sea breeze accelerates the trade winds along the shore so the 15 knot winds in the forecast end up being over 20 knots. We couldn't sail it because we were taking it right on the bow and we didn't want to tack all day in rough seas. We waited until almost sundown and sailed over night on what is called the night lee. Cool air comes down from the mountains and flattens out the ocean for miles around a big island like Hispaniola. It even creates a wind off the land that you can use to sail because it overcomes the tradewinds for a while. We used it but then it became so calm we had to use the motor again. In the morning we were right at the northeast corner of Hispaniola, looking at some of the most spectacular geography this side of the fjords of Norway. First it was steep green mountains coming right down to the sea then they gave way to the cliffs hundreds of feet high. I can't understand why this isn't a rock climbers mecca. It's just spectacular. As we turned south, we were able to turn off the engine and sailed down the east coast to Bahia Samana. By this time we had been sailing and traveling for over 24 hours so when we anchored in the harbor at Santa Barbara, the last thing we wanted was a visit from the local Navy representitive and half a dozen other local " officials" all with their hands out. They were knocking on our hull within half an hour of our arrival. We told them we didn't have any money. NAH-nah I had read about this scam at this port where they make up stuff to charge you for when you arrive and none of it is legal. They went away and didn't come back and we slept for about 12 hours.

We spent Sunday in Santa Barbara.
Samana 008

Samana 008


Samana 007

Samana 007


Samana 005

Samana 005

I have to say it is really a shame that so many people's (cruisers) first impression of the Dominican Republic is Luperon. Luperon is a DUMP. So is PuertoPlata for that matter. Santa Barbara is a beautiful little seaside town and doesn't feel anywhere near as "third world" as the Bahamas or Luperon. There was even a water taxi for us dinghy-less folks. We are moving to the marina tomorrow....that place is the most deluxe marina I've ever seen.
Samana 016

Samana 016


Samana 020

Samana 020


Samana 034

Samana 034


Samana 024

Samana 024

June 22 Samana

Time flies...our internet connection is intermittant on the boat...excuses, excuses.
Anyway we are still in this lovely Marina Puerto Bahia preparing to go to another lovely marina at Punta Cana called Cap Cana. We rented a car on Wednesday, nothing like the rattle trap and drove through the mountains to El Limon. I am developing a rule formyself....never have anything to do with t...he locals who approach you. We were trying to find a waterfall in the area but everytime we would slow down someone would aproach us and try to direct us somewhere..usually to their cousins backyard who had horses and 12 other cousins who, for prices that varied from $20 to $75 would load you on a horse and take you to the waterfall....and then all 12 cousins would hit on you for a tip. We gave up on the waterfall and drove on to Las Terranes on the north coast. It was a lovely little seaside town where we shared lunch with a couple from Wisconsin. It is fun just to see the people going about their daily business. We also went grocery shopping in Samana, where if you are in a hurry, you can go to a supermarket, but if you are not in a hurry you can go to the local market and buy absolutly fresh stuff for pennies on the dollar. I got a lot of produce there and chicken from the chicken vendor....which means the lady picks up a chicken out of a tub of clean chickens, flops it on a scale, cuts it up and puts it in a plastic bag for you, thoughtfully including the feet...i guess you can make soup with them or something.
Then you go to the pork store (identified by the pigs head nailed on the wall) an you buy pork chops and rib, etc, which are cut from the appropriate part of the carcass while you watch. A unique experience for me.
On Thursday, we had made plans with another couple to go to Los Haitises, the national park on the other side of the bay. We should have taken one of our big boats but instead, we took their Boston Whaler dinghy. It was about a 12 mile ride each way. Even though we ended up soaked on the way back, it was totally worth the ride. The pictures tell a thousand words but one of the neatest things we saw was in a cave we rode into in the dinghy. There was another boat in the cave collecting big bottles of water. The water in the cave that was connected directly to the salty Bay of Samana, was absolutly cold, fresh water. There were many spectacular caves in the park. The caves were the dwellings of the original Tainos people who inhabited this island over 1000 years ago. Their carvings and petroglyphs still decorate the caves.

Park 002

Park 002


Park 004

Park 004


Park 020

Park 020


Park 033

Park 033


Park 036

Park 036

June 22. Tomorrow morning, 6:00am,we head over to Punta Cana, or Cap Canna, to wait for our weather window to cross the Mona Passage and int Puerto Rico.

Posted by Heart of Gold 15:41

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login