We motor sailed out of South Side Marina, Turks and Caicos, southward to deep water running the 14 nm off the banks to French Key. There we turned SE to run outside the Caicos Banks to move the 75 nm around to Big Sand Key. This would be our staging point to make the 184 nm run to Samana, Dominican Republic. The challenge is getting across the 50 nm of Caicos Banks and not hitting a massive coral head.
A Bashing below the Banks
Well, the run south of the Caicos banks turned out to be one of the roughest passages we have had in many many years. Waves came up to 3-4 feet at 4-5 seconds, and the winds came up to 15-19 knots directly on the bow. We buried the bow light at least 50+ times. Now, that is really pretty at night when your bow light, that is 8 feet off the water, dives down into the coming wave, punches thru the wave and then illuminates the wave with red to port and green to starboard. WOW, that is beautiful, maybe once or twice, but when it happens from 7 pm to 5 am it is a real beating. It was not possible to sleep at all. We arrived at Big Sand Key at 6 am. What was to be a 14 hr passage turned into a 21-hour beating. Not fun. We dropped anchor, washed the boat, and crashed!
Big Sand to Samana, Dominican Republic
Now we were staged at Big Sand Key placing us 184 nm from Samana, DR. The forecast was holding, and that is good because there is no place to go from here except north to Grand Turk. The winds were to be calm, 10-15 from the SSE, of course, that is directly on the bow with a course of 130. So, we motor sailed again, a staysail and the engine on 2700 rpms making 5.5 to 6 knots. We ended up taking several tacks as we kept moving EAST. We knew the winds would shift and like clockwork, the EAST winds came in right on schedule and then we could tack back to port and run our 130-degree course directly to Cabo Cabron and then Cape Samana.
Docked at Bahia Puerto Marina, Samana
We sailed into here in 2017 on our first trip south with our fun “Team Six Knots” and we knew how lovely this place is. So, it was a joy to return to this five-star marina resort with infinity pools and cafes and pubs. This place is really amazing and at $1.00/foot, it is a real deal. Look at this clubhouse and condos!
The pool is a big bonus here for Radeen, as she loves to swim. It is an infinity pool where the water is level with the edge and it flows over the wall to a lower reservoir overlooking the Bay of Samana. This makes for great photos looking out to sea and at sunset.
Rental Car adventures and Touring Samana
We rented a car with our buddies John and Darcy of 45 Ft Jeanneau KINDRED SPIRIT and hit the road. Within the first ten minutes, I nearly wrecked as cars were cutting me off and motorcycles passing on both sides. Welcome to Samana, DR. Drive like you stole it, and hope and pray you don’t wreck.
Off to the Country Side
After a quick tour around Samana and a good 30-45 minutes to get a sim card for the cell phone ($2 sim and $5 for 5 GB) we now had coms to hit the countryside. We headed to a waterfall and hiked up into the hills only to not see any water as the riverbed was dry so we turned around and headed for the beach at Playa de Valle. This is where the real adventure began.
Did anyone put gas in the car??
Well, we tried, and at our first fuel stop due to none of us speaking Spanish and the attendant not speaking English, we eventually were able to put in 300 pesos. Great, we are good to go….WHAT? 300 pesos only gave us 1 gallon at best. Well, the next thing you know, we are in the middle of nowhere and nearly out of petrol. So, we stop in this village, horseman hauling bamboo, and locals having lunch, someone found us a gallon of gas! Really? Yes, the locals are so kind and so helpful. For $300 pesos, and of course, I bought some Brugal Rum off the little street vendor to help, and we tipped the local for helping us. By the end of this activity, we were drinking our Brugal with the locals and having a great time. WOW, how fun.
Gassed up, we can make the beach
With the car now fueled up, we can now push onward to the beach. By the way, this is all within a few miles from Samana. the rental car comes empty, you put gas in. Oh, thank you. We then found the Playa de Valle beach town with a beautiful scene, fishing boats and of course a great little pub. How about some Presidente on the beach?
Local Services, Schools and Health Care
On the drive home, we noticed the health care building and we also noticed the local school. These government buildings are well cared for and provide services to the locals. Here are two buildings, a health care building and a school.
Back at the Marina….ahhhh
You can see why this marina is so amazing as it is beyond anything you will see anywhere else in the area. Yes, there are many 5-star resorts in the Dominican Republic, but only a few marinas like this. We enjoyed our time here and we really admire the Dominican people as they are so kind and so polite and so helpful. They really want us all to visit this amazing island. I hope you can visit some day.
Onward to Puerto Rico….
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