Luperon, Dominican Republic

Posted by Tni Newhoff on Sunday, January 28th, 2007 at 5:50 pm
Position: 19.906666666666666 by -70.94166666666666 map

Four days at sea and we arrived in the wonderful Luperon, Dominican Republic. After becoming accustomed to the arid lowlands of the Bahamas for the past couple of months, the lush green mountains of DR were a feast for our eyes. The passage was a smooth (albeit long) one. It is truly amazing to be able to see the the land from the perspective of being out at sea. Like most cruisers we religiously follow Van Sants’ Gentleman’s Guide to Passages South in conjunction with our charts. Up until now, in return for our faithfulness, we have never been led astray. Well, there is a first for everything…for Van Sants it was telling us to hug the south shore on the approach to the anchorage when he should have said the north shore and for us it was running aground. Yikes! Yes, we ran aground…apparently we have now officially been initiated into the world of cruising. Luckily for our situation, we arrived on a rising tide and in soft mud. With a little patience and a lot of determination, David managed to shimmy us off within 15 minutes and we were once again on our way like the whole thing had never happened. Tucked snugly into this hurricane hole off of the town of Luperon, we were taken by both the stillness and quietness of the anchorage. Though there were many boats, there were no people and there lacked even the remotest suggestion of a breeze. It was initially an eerie feeling. Our perception changed quickly as we were visited by the Commandant (Customs) and Handy Andy, the local handyman. Andy has created a nice little niche for himself locally and can provide just about everything boatside that a cruiser could need from fuel and water, to trash service, and assistance with arranging tours and such. Being in Luperon, we were immediately struck by the friendliness of the people. Everyone hangs out on the sidewalks listening to music, cooking, laughing, and doing hair (something we witnessed often). There were naked babies running around along with chickens and pigs who roamed the streets like domestic pets. The spirit of happiness was infectious and we immediately felt at home here. I should also note that the people of DR and some of the most beautiful that I have seen. They are all beautifully different mixtures of their African, Indian, and European heritage.

Initially us along with our cruising companions, Crux, Aurora, and Kaleidoscope had hoped to get comfortable for at least 5 days of exploration and relaxation, however, after listening to Saturday morning’s weather report, it became clear that we would either need to head out for our next 3 day passage (part of which included the Mona Passage between DR and PR and requires just the right conditions) or wait for our next weather window which was not in sight. As much as we all really wanted to stay and spend more time in this lovely country, we could all agree that given the narrow windows of the winter we could not ignore this opportunity to have a safe and easy passage en route to PR. With this in mind, we basically had all day Saturday and Sunday to experience whatever we could with plans to head out on Monday afternoon. A big part of cruising life is provisioning. The Dominican Republic is known for its great prices and selections so we knew that we should not miss out on an opportunity to restock our boats, which was our plan for Saturday. We hired a van and 8 of the 9 of us headed to Puerto Plata. The trip took us through the Dominican countryside and our driver Jaime was an excellent guide. He took us by a cheese shop where they make local Luperon cheese, we had a delicious lunch in the oldest building in Puerto Plata, toured the amber (DRs national gem) museum, a cigar shop and of course, the supermercado. That evening Crux hosted everyone for a generous feast. Both Crux and Kaleidoscope had had incredible luck in catching lobsters, and we were the lucky recipients of their bounty. Sunday was to be one of the most fun days that I can remember. We had arranged for a tour to the waterfalls where there are natural water slides. You are required to have a guide to maneuver up the various levels of falls. Our itenerary included climbing 7 of the falls. We had two guides who were as agile and monkeys and who would help to pull us up through what sometimes felt like rapids. Other times you were just drifting on your back looking up at the cliff faces, surrounded by soap stone and floating in tranquility in fresh water (a cruisers dream…no salt!). Hiking up took about an hour and the trip back down was fantastic and utterly exhilarating! The rocks have been worn smooth and you get projected into the cool emerald pools, knowing that you get to do it again. Apparently, this is where they filmed a portion of the movie Anaconda. We decided to extend the fun and rented motorcycles when we got back. What a way to see the countryside! No, I did not have my own bike, but David was an excellent chauffeur. Again, we noticed just how friendly everyone was. Most people would wave as you passed through the little villages. We rode out to La Isabella the first city of the New World. The view from the edge of the cliff was awesome and you could see Haiti in the distance.

We got great photos, some of which I’ve shared here but I’ll post more once we get our waterproof camera shots developed.


One Response to “Luperon, Dominican Republic”

    You guys are really living the life!! Thanks for all the blogs and the pics so we can enjoy your trip as well!! We miss you tons!! Keep all the good stories coming!! Love you!!

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