Here’s a strange thought. SV Maggie May arrived in Luperon on the north coast of the Dominican Republic on May 17. Our almost three-month stay here constitutes the longest time either Bill or I have lived anywhere other than the Washington DC metro area since 1998.
A strange thought. Especially considering this is not a place we meant to come.
We came to the Dominican Republic because the trade winds had worn us down. Because a pandemic had created too many obstacles, and worn us down. Because transitioning to a life on fluid ground exacted and extracted so much more of us than we had imagined it would. Because the hurricane season was looming and we needed a hidey hole.
But in Luperon, quite unexpectedly we found rest, safety, time to learn, heal, acclimate, explore.
In a week or so, when the moon begins to wax gibbous, we will begin looking for a weather window to make our next passage.
This passage will not be easy. We are heading to Samana Bay, also in the DR, where we hope to wait out the rest of the hurricane season. This requires a trip of about 100 miles due east before we round the northeastern edge of Hispaniola. A hundred miles is not a long distance. But 100 miles in a boat whose max speed is 7.5 knots, directly against 15-20 knots of trade winds, which accelerate to 25-30 knots along this mountainous coast, is an infinity of hard time stuffed into a compactor and spit out as about 24 hours of shallow-breath, white-knuckle sailing. The consistency of the trade winds is a wondrous thing, a thing that has shaped the course of natural history and within it, the small but weighty mass of human history. These winds have been the delight of sailors for thousands of years. They have also been the bane of sailors who try to oppose them for just as long.
Luckily, there are islands and weather systems that disrupt the trades at times and these disruptions constitute narrow windows for making passage. And there are sailors who have studied how this works and passed their knowledge forward so that newbies like us can get east when prevailing wind patterns are dead set against it. I’ll go into the strategy in a future blog. It is enough to say that Bill and I will be better prepared for this next leg of the adventure than we have been for any passage since we began in May 2020. And we are excited to face the challenge ahead. That is saying a lot given how we felt when we limped into Luperon back in May.
So much life has happened here, and I have focused on living it, rather than writing about the experience of living it. I want to share some of what we have seen here, but there is too much to recount so I’m going to make this a photo blog. Hopefully each thousand-word photo will convey something important about our life in the Dominican Republic.
SCUBA! For the first time on this SV Maggie May voyage, which was supposed to be all about diving, we were able to scuba dive. We saw seahorses, rays, eels, so many fishes, turtles and superbly strange sea creatures. We saw coral reefs, thriving, dying and dead.
We got to spend time relaxing, learning about and enjoying Punta Cana with our friends Gabby and Rick.
Sometimes, perhaps even often, the thing unsought is the thing you need, an offering of time and space to stash away as an immortal treasure, ever impactful even if only rarely remembered. Such was our unplanned arrival in the Dominican Republic. And who knows what comes next.
Thanks very much for the update, Krista! Really glad to hear that your time in port was so rejuvenating–quite a happy accident, it seems. And I loved the photos, especially the diving shots; I’m really happy you were finally able to do that. Happy & safe travels on this next leg of your voyage!
Thank you Susan!
What a great update! Thanks for that. I felt like I was on a vaca reading it!!! I loved your 2nd to last sentence!!!!
“ Sometimes, perhaps even often, the thing unsought is the thing you need, an offering of time and space to stash away as an immortal treasure, ever impactful even if only rarely remembered.”
Hey Krista !
I Spent 8 years in the DR, and moored in the Luperon Bay. If I may, during the hurricane season, I’d stay put. Of course you can bet on much less tropical storms and hurricanes as you head way south to the Grenadines, but 1/ shit happens there too, and when it does, the shelters are seldom and very crowded, which is a danger in itself, and 2/ Luperon is the best hurricane hole in the Caribbean area, period.
Besides, look closely at the current weather as there are 3 tropical events brewing as I write this. You may want to see Mike’s Weather Page, Passage Weather, Windy.com etc… before you decide to cast off.
Nice pix, though. Have you been diving with Olivier and Nathalie (“P’tit Louis’) ?
Thank you Francis! Great to hear from someone who knows Luperon Bay, such a special place! We are planning on going to Los Haitises – Bahia de San Lorenzo – for the remainder of hurricane season. It appears to be almost as well protected as Luperon, but without all the vacant boats that could (and do, I’m told) go astray in a storm. And we’ll definitely wait for a passage window without any looming hurricanes!
The only word I can fathom is “AMAZING”. Susie