Friday, April 4, 2014

" The Mona" (continued)

.... OK, I've been challenged by poor Internet service which has prevented me from completing our last blog.... so I shall finish the previous blog here before starting the next blog....

Continuation of "The Mona" story:
....I was saying that while at anchor in Punta Macao, we had another issue to deal with. One of our sheets (for land lubbers, a sheet is a line/rope attached to a sail) had worn threw it's sheath or outer casing, baring only it's core. This caused it to jam in its' block and hindered us un/furling the sail. Fortunately, we realized then that we had extra sheets on board. We had thought all that extra line (which was on the boat when we acquired her) was spare rode for an extra anchor, until that moment. Thankfully we had it, and were able to replace the damaged one.

We went to Punta Macao to wait for the weather to settle, but by the time we finished dealing with our issues - 10pm - it was time to move again. No rest for the weary! Knowing that the greatest likelihood of squalls in the Mona happens overnight, we altered our planned route to hug the coast of the Dominican until Punta Cana before heading east. We chose to cross through the Hourglass Shoal vs. risk squalls. As expected, the seas were bigger there, but by tacking through the deeper 'trench' across the shoal, I think we got across this shoal as comfortably as possible. As our heading to Punta Cana put our nose into the wind, we chose to alter course again .... and the best point of sail took us to Mayaguez! Finally, a bit of luck. Mayaguez is a clearing in port for Puerto Rico.

sunrise on "the Mona"

..this is not a very good picture, but it's the only one I got of a pod of feeding whales!
'amazing sight ... their water spouts were like fireworks (to 'herd' fish?)

dolphins cavorting about Serenada's bow in "the Mona"

Anchored there were 3 of the 7 boats we left Samana with - Simplicity II, Lee Loo, and Nightwatch. We had arrived at 4pm (33 hr. passage for us). Greg from Simplicity and Mario from Lee Loo offered to come and get us in Greg's dinghy and take us to the Customs and Immigration building to Clear In. As our own dinghy was deflated and strapped to the deck, we readily accepted their offer. Another adventure ensued. They had docked at a pier to clear in at the "blue and white building" described in the guide book - it was no longer - so they took a cab to the Customs and Immigration building; and when that was all done, they moved to anchor in the bay where we had landed. I have to tell you this,
so you'll understand how it was that we all got lost!! By the time we found the Customs and Immigration building, it was closed :(. But we were safe, having been escorted out of the seedier area of town by a Good Samaritan.

We cleared ourselves in the following morning.

Puerto Rico's courtesy flag with HYC's burgee

Then began our next mission. We needed a new part for the broken davit system. Friends from home were coming to Puerto Rico at the end of the week. Would it be possible to order the part and have it shipped to Orillia in time to ask our friends to bring it down with them? In the islands, everything is easier said than done. Mayaguez alarms - the city is full of barred windows, fences, barbed wire, etc. - smacks of high crime rates. We no speaka spanish. We weren't comfortable leaving our dinghy and outboard unattended, so Gil stayed with them. To access WiFi, I had to cab it to a Burger King. Even there, the WiFi wasn't consistently available. I was unsuccessful in my attempts to email Atkins & Hoyle. In desperation I FaceTimed Nadrine, and was so happy to 'see' her! Everything worked out, all just in the nick of time.

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