Monday, February 9, 2015

90 miles to Luperón

After our 10 hours of motoring to Cockburn Harbour we were determined to do some sailing. We sailed 85 of the 90 miles from Cockburn Harbour to Luperon. The trip started by sailing off of anchor out of the harbour. From there, in terms of sailing directions, it was pretty straightforward... I put a waypoint right off of Luperon harbor and we steered towards it for the next 24 hours. As soon as we left the protection of the harbor I had to put a reef in the main. Sarah was sailing at an uncomfortable (but fun!) 6+ knots with the jib staysail and reefed main with about 20-25kts of wind. The seas were giving us a rough ride. Before sunset I put a second reef in the main and took in the jib as the wind picked up. We slowed down to 5.5 kts but at least we were moving more comfortably with the waves. Once again fair dinkum proved indispensable and he didn't even flinch when he was being drenched by waves. The wind shifted more out of the southeast around sunrise and we had to motorsail the last 5 miles to the Luperon entrance. 

Once inside, we were swarmed by locals. Rafael, one of the boat boys, came by and we offered him some coffee and talked for a bit. Next up was the Commadante and his gang, along with Handy Andy, another boat boy, who brought them out on his boat. The Commadante just sat there, one guy wrote down our passport numbers and names and the other wrote down the info on our vessel documentation (do you really need 3 guys for that?). We ended up tipping them $15 (as I read was a customary tip) other cruisers stood their ground and didn't give them a cent, while others parted with a $10 bottle of rum.

Fortunately it was sunday, so customs/immigration, the port authority, tourist office and the ministry of agriculture were closed. We enjoyed some beers at Wendy's bar and exchanged some money. The next day our cruising permit cost us $90, tourist cards for two cost $20, and the port authority cost $10 just to enter the harbor. Later that afternoon the ministry of agriculture came out to our boat and charged us $20 to look at our vegetables and take our small bag of garbage. Right now we are at $155, but there are more fees and "tips" to come once we leave Luperon... Not the best welcome with everyone putting their palms out, we've learned it's probably best to drink a few Don't Worry About It's before engaging in any of this stuff...

 Handy Andy, the Commadante and his amigos
 Even while dealing with customs we were very excited to be in such a beautiful spot.
 This hill keeps showing up in every picture. Allyson took this while I was paying some officials.
You are now free to move about the country, but not by boat, you need a despacho first...

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