From Dominican Republic to Jamaica
Written by Drew Sorrell, SY Dosia, www.lostonpurpose.net|
|Boca Chica - Food stands|
We didn't get out of Boca Chica until 4pm on Saturday afternoon but the wind was on our side so we were happy. We had an amazing night sail Saturday cruising downwind at 7 knots watching "Wedding Crashers" in the cockpit. We spent Sunday morning hugging the coast of the Dominican Republic sailing right next to towering mountains 5-7,000 ft above us.
Later in the day the landscape turned desert-like and remained that way till we lost sight of land past Cabo Beata.
One interesting thing did happen about an hour or two before we rounded the cape. We were sailing along in 10-12 ft seas only a hundred yards or so off a reef when I spotted a fish pot buoy and line only a few feet off to port. We just barely missed it and I thought we were in the clear when, not 10 seconds later, we hit another one.
|Zar Par Marina - Boca Chica|
Although we were sailing at the time it still caught itself around our prop and pulled tight. We were fumbling around (remember it's 10' seas) with the boathook trying to shake it loose when out of the blue, two guys in a small skiff came up. It was pretty funny at first considering we were wearing our traditional offshore sailing outfits, the same ones we were wearing at birth but these guys, obviously the owner's of the pots seemed more concerned with their livelihood. They tried for a few minutes to help free us but with no luck. They whipped out a huge machete and cut their line
|A pod of dolphins joins Dosia for part of her passage to Jamaica|
The next morning the wind died completely and we motored all the rest of the way to Jamaica. It was pretty boring although Hailey wants to make sure I mention we saw some more dolphins (a whole pod). We've also been fishing since we left Puerto Rico using a handline off the stern (just for you, Dad!), but we've only caught 3 barracuda so far. During this last passage we lost a nice size dorado (dolphin fish), probably a 30 pounder, but got a tuna about 20 miles east of Jamaica. Now we're in Port Antonio on the northeast coast.
Port Antonio - Jamaica
So far we just love Jamaica. Port Antonio is especially nice and a wonderful introduction to the island.
Just so you know, try to arrive in Jamaica earlier in the day or afternoon OR after 7pm. If you arrive around 5-6pm like we did you're likely to be seen by either customs, immigration, or quarantine who will stop whatever they're doing to come out to your boat to begin the check-in process. This is normally a good thing, but since they close at 5pm, it's likely their only motivation in coming out is to milk you for an overtime charge.
The quarantine officer got us for $20 dollars! He didn't mention we'd be paying overtime when he came out to the boat. Instead he waited till he had the one paper we needed from him in his hand (after 15-20 minutes of paperwork and inspection) to let us know we'd be charged. Jerk. During regular business hours, checking into Jamaica is free.
|Dosia - On the passage at night|
Ok, now that I've got that off my chest, we LOVE Jamaica. Many, many folks don't like it here. They can't stand the pushy beggars and souvenir peddlers, but we find it kinda amusing to play with these guys. A lot of them take up funny names that are easy for the tourists to remember like Captain Big Beard, Mr Quality, and Rock Bottom. I can see how it's intimidating for a lot of middle class white folks from the states, but hell, Hailey and I met in the ghetto of Charleston almost 9 years ago and that was WAY more dangerous a place than this (at least Port Antonio...Kingston is another story). If you never exposed yourself to this kind of stuff in the states, you'd never appreciate it here.
Port Antonio, itself, is absolutely beautiful. Even though this April/May has been the driest on record since the early 90's, everything is still so lush and green. We are on a $10/night mooring right in front of the new Waterfront Park and the docks for the Port Antonio Marina (just finished in 2002). George, the marina manager, is the most friendly and helpful we've seen since St Simon's Island, GA.
We've met some really cool folks from Denmark who've been just a few steps ahead of us since the Virgins and are on their way to Panama as well. We took a whole bunch of pork and fresh tuna (our first catch) over to their boat last night for dinner since we had run out of propane (refilled it today though).
This morning, we explored Errol Flynn's old island (Navy Island) which is actually closed now that the government owns...but what the cops don't see won't hurt 'em, right? Then we went on a 2 hour trip to get our LPG tank filled. Most of that time was spent chilling with Mrs Ching, an asian immigrant from Mauritius who married Mr Ching, an engineer for BP in England; very interesting couple. Then we took off in the dinghy headed from the Blue Lagoon. All that activity was fueled by a nice stack of cheese patties from Juici Patties in downtown Port Antonio. If that's not a great day, I don't know what is.
Drew and Hailey Sorrell are cruising in the Caribbean Sea on their sailboat "Dosia", a 1980 Pearson 365 Ketch. Their website is: www.lostonpurpose.net
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