Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving From Dominican Republic

Anchored Luperon Dominican Republic


As usual I have much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving. I won't go into all the minutia of my blessings, but you can check out where I was last Thanksgiving where I account for my good fortune. Click here. Don't forget to come back though.

What am I doing? Well the large cruising and expat community is putting on a full on Turkey dinner at the Luperon Yacht Club. The above picture was taken from the Yacht Club, and obviously it is a nice venue. In a day or two I hope to put together a blog entry about my observations of Luperon, where there really exists to communities that mingle comfortably. I have been no other place on earth that is quite like Luperon.

Now the sail to what I had hoped would be Mayaguana, but turned out to be the Dom Rep was fine. I now consider just about anything that is not to windward a "fine trip." First off the weather was thankfully squall free. However on the evening of the first night, I watched magnificient anvil like cumulonimbus clouds come off the northwest coast of Puerto Rico. I was 60 miles away, but the lightening and immensity of the storms were really impressive. As I noted before the wind stayed ESE at about 15 to 20 knots which made the sailing alot of work. So far off the wind it becomes difficult to keep air in the sails as it rocks back and forth back and forth. I poled out the jib with the whisker pole which mitigated some of the snapping of the sails, but not all. Sometimes Christa would roll heavily to one side and with a bang the jib would snap to with air and the whole rig would shake. I don't like putting that kind of shock load on the standing rigging, so I would pinch a little more to windward to keep air in the sails. Of course this points me in a direction I don't want to go. Over about 3 days I had sailed many more miles than I had intended. I was aware of a cold front coming off the east coast before I left and felt comfortable I could arrive in the Bahamas with plenty of time before it's arrival. But since I chewed up more water than intended and armed with the knowledge that these "tweener" seasons can produce strong gales in the Bahamas, I decided to hole up in Luperon.

In the middle of the night day two I was approached by a Canadian Navy Frigate. She never came up on AIS but I had been tracking the vessel for awhile and was becoming distressed at the constant bearing and decreasing range. Just as I was getting ready to call them on the radio, they called me. They asked a bunch of questions and went on their merry way.

 One other funny little story. Each day I would find flying fishing dead on deck. These suckers actually fly through the air, hit the top of a wave and like an Olympic Ski jumper launch. Over the passed 3 days I have been noticing an increasingly terrible smell originating somewhere up in the V- berth. Sometime a critter can cling the anchor chain and when the chain is aboard, in the anchor locker, it can stink a little. I pretty much chalked it up to that. But today was horrible. Upon further investigation I found a dead flying fish rotting between my mattress and the bulk head. Apparently he flew through the open hatch! That is crazy! I disposed of the carcas this morning.

Eat well!

Capt Chris

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Luperon Dominican Republic......What the Hell?

On the Hook, Luperon Dominican Republic

 I'll keep this short as my internet connection is choking. But, all is well and Christa and I diverted to Luperon due to a cold front that has come off Florida and is advancing on the Bahamas. A cold front will bring north winds, north swell and possible squalls.

 I'll write some more details on the sail from St Thomas to Luperon later. But generally it was fine, but the wind was east south east and my heading was west north west. I simply cannot sail straight down wind. So I had to gybe the boat back and forth. First I'd sail north north west, then gybe and sail south south east, and so on. This tacked on my more miles and was going to jack up my ETA to Mayaguana. I didn't want to stress about this as it was important that I arrive in Mayaguana with good sun light to thread the reef. So as I was mulling all this over looking at the charts, there was Luperon, only 35 miles south of me. A no brainer, only 35 miles out of the way, not to windward and when leaving Luperon, I'll have a great angle on the wind.

Believe me, no one is more surprised than I to be back in Luperon. Luperon holds many memories for me.

More Later!

Capt Chris

PS: The above shot was taken the morning I departed St. Thomas