Wednesday, March 18 to Thursday, March 19
Miles Traveled: 149.0 nm
Wednesday, March 18
We checked with Chris Parker on the best day to leave for our 48 hour, 248nm journery from Boqueron, PR to Luperon, DR. We checked with Walkabout and they agreed that today was the best time to leave. They would leave at 10am and we would leave about 11am as we typically are faster than they are.
First though, our new cruising friends Henry and Martha that we met yetsterday at Galloways, was to meet us at the dinghy dock at 840am to take us to the Econo Grocery store for a few last minute provisions. They arrived and drove us the 15 min to the grocery store, which has been the best we have visited in Puerto Rico. We were done shopping in 20 minutes but it took us probably 25 minutes to get through the line to pay for our groceries. When we arrived back, we saw Walkabout sailing away from the Anchorage about a mile away.
Back at the boat, I put away provisions then we got the outboard on the bracket and put the dinghy on the foredeck. Then I made sandwiches and pre cut up the rotisserie chicken I bought for the passage. This is the first time that Phil and I have switched places raising the anchor with the partially broken windlass. It took 8 minutes to raise the anchor which usually takes only a couple, but it worked with me powering forward to relieve the tension and Phil operating the windlass controls and then pulling up the last 30ft or so of chain and anchor by hand. By 1110am the Main sail was up and we were underway. Right away we noticed that the Alternator wasn’t working and Phil thought it was because the batteries were charged up. We exited the harbor at 1130am with winds 11.2Kt apparent and 1ft seas with white caps. We were on port tack with wind from the SW, not as predicted but that is how THAT goes. By 1215pm we changed couse for Hourglass Shoals with course 325 degrees. It wasn’t until 120pm that the wind direction changed to on the nose, but with mostly a 4-5ft north swell, we weren’t pounding into the waves as we were motor sailing. Most of the trip was a comfortable boat motion, which I really appreciate! For me now sailing is a way to get someplace and not because I really enjoy it so any good boat motion I can get, I really appreciate. Phil and I split the first 3 hr watch and then our every 3 hour watch system started with Phil on at 3pm. We had contact with Walkabout- they were almost to Isla Desecheo and we were 8.3nm away. At this time the wind was 9.8 Kt and still on the nose.
It wasn’t until 454pm that the wind clocked to 58 degrees from port 11 its with 6ft swell from the north that Phil set the jib and turned off the engine for sailing. What a relief not to have the engine noise! By 546pm we changed course 20 degree to port and saw Walkabout ahead of us. fixing supper was a challenge as the galley was up high so Phil started cooking rice and I put a sheet of aluminum foil on top to warm up leftover squash while the riced cooked. We added cold rotisserie chicken bought this morning for our meal eaten in the cockpit. Our last contact with Walkabout was at 657pm when we talked about WP’s we were heading towards and our course was 342degrees. We continued sailing turning to the DR Cape waypoint @ 910pm.
Thursday, March 19
All was quiet with the stars out and we didn’t encounter anyone until a frieghter crossed our bow 1 mi ahead at 120am Thursday 3/19. I noticed during by 12am – 3am watch that the batter indicator on the cockpit instruments was showing 11.8 to 11.9 and told Phil when it was his watch. He pulled out the stairs and looked with the flashlight and noticed that the bolt that held the cable that went to charge the batteries was broken. Immediate change of plans and course change. We diverted to Samana as our batteries would be dead if we went another night using the auto pilot going to Luperon. Unfortunately, we knew that Walkabout was too far away as they were going to a waypoint further north and east of where we were heading so was not able to reach them on VHF radio. We have been having problems with our SSB radio not being able to transmit on it to tell them that way. Of course I found out about this when my watch started at 6am. I started my watch listening to Chris Parker weather and thinking how can we contact Walkabout?? They were planning on waiting for us to lead them through the channel into the Luperon Harbor and the last thing we want after a 2 day passage is making it long waiting for us to arrive when we can’t. We hope that they will listen to Chris Parker weather Friday morning, so I will send an email to him once we arrive (will have wifi at the marina) and also use my resources through Women Who Sail to see if someone would be in the area of Luperon to make sure they heard.
At 355am the wind clocked to a broad reach from port and wind died to 7.8 kts, so Phil rolled up the jib and turned on the engine and we motor sailed the rest of the trip. By 1pm we were coming up to the north shore of the big Bay for Samana and saw a grass fire on the point. Even from over 1-2 miles away, we could see the flames on the leading edge of the fire. There were several fires going on the hills surrounding the bay both north and south of us. Over an hour more of traveling and it was time to take down the main in bouncy seas. We had contacted Marina de Puerto Bahiain Samana, but with them speaking only Spanish and us only English communication was a problem. Not to worry, as we entered the channel into the marina, they came out in a dinghy and guided us to the slip. It was a starboard tie up, which I wasn’t ready for, but as we got close they grabbed lines, and jumped on board to make sure we were tied up correctly and safely. They did a great job!!
Shortly Customs and Immigration came on board to process us. Shepherd from Customs spoke English and remembered us from our last visit (he recognized Phil’s face) so helped translate for the others. It is now much more expensive. Was $20 USD for Immigration and $94 USD for the boat which included $12 each for Phil and I. Last year it was $3 for the boat and $10 each for us. Then we had our cursory inspection and we were done. It turns out that we have arrived for the weekend regatta where if you participate, you get 3 days free dockage which for us is $40 USD/day. we haven’t decided if we’ll participate yet. Phil talked with Shepherd and they know somone who can help us repair the Alternator they think. By 430pm I was getting hungry and was tired, so made a quick super of sliced potatoes and carrots cooked inn one skillet with rotisserie chicken on top to warm up.
After supper we had wonderful showers the relaxed enjoying having internet again and reading. I took care of emails and posts to have Walkabout notified of what happend and will hope for the best. I went to bed about 10pm and Phil came sometime after that. We are tired from the passage and glad to be here even though this isn’t where we were suppose to end up. Maybe there is a reason that we don’t know of yet. We do love this marina!!