Friday, February 4, 2011

Samana

The trip from Luperon to Samana was fairly straightforward but, after two weeks in one place it felt great to get back into the routine of life underway.

Luperon  was a very well protected harbor, completely shielded from the oceans swells by a narrow mouth making a 90 degree turn into a wide harbor.  The farther in you went, the less water circulation there was.  We were anchored pretty far in.  More than 100 other boats lay at anchor, scattered throughout the harbor while we were there.  Mark counted.

The Strolla's underside, back out in the ocean once more, was gray and mossy.  Nothing we could do about that at the moment.  The bottom of our dinghy was equally unpleasant.  There was something we could do about that.  With driver's licenses and credit cards, Mark and I spent half an hour scrapping the algae growth and barnacles off the dinghy's rubber bottom and then washing it down with bucket after bucket of clean, clear sea water.

The trip to Samana from Luperon was an overnight one.  We expected to arrive midmorning the next day.  About 2200 that night, I was at the helm.  Mark was up next.  I'd spent much of my shift steering towards a series of tiny lights along the horizon.  In the few minutes before Mark was to take over, I watched as those lights winked out one by one.  Squall coming, fast.  Reduced to steering by compass, I felt the first sporadic raindrops begin to fall.  I yelled to Mark, still down in the cabin.  He came up, still sleepy, sipping coffee.  I sent him back down for a raincoat.  As soon as he took the helm, I dove inside just as the raindrops began to quicken.  Within minutes, the deluge was upon us.

Mark later described it to me as the hardest rain he'd ever seen.  It certainly was the hardest rain I'd ever seen, but I watched it through the tinted Plexiglas of the companionway cover, snug and dry.  The rain fell so hard, Mark couldn't lift his head, couldn't even see the hand compass held in front of his face.  I had to shout directions to him over the roar of the rain.  Looking at our recorded route on the chartplotter the next morning, it was easy to see when the squall had hit.  It looked like someone had sneezed while drawing a straight line.

Samana wasn't much of a town.  The harbor has been discovered by the cruise ship lines in recent years.  Cheap, tourist stores line the streets filled with over priced knick knacks.  Taxi drivers and store vendors are much more aggressive in their attempts to win your business.  After an afternoon of walking around, we were tired of being hassled.  The weather still wasn't great to make the crossing to Puerto Rico so we crossed the bay visit Los Haitises National Park for a couple days of climbing and cliff diving.

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