Well. We have been keeping busy in Luperon, Dominican Republic for nearly 5 weeks now. FIVE. Longest we have stayed in one place since casting off our docking lines.
When we first arrived in Luperon we were very excited to be in a place we could safely leave the boat and explore the country. This place fits the bill. Natural hurricane hole and a tremendous community of boaters and locals.
Honestly, on occasion this place drives us crazy. The whole machismo culture is very grating on my Independent-Feminist-American disposition. Yeah, I think I should be able to walk around town by myself safely without-- Guapa! Vaca! Mira! Gringa! whistles honks or whatever is thrown at me. It makes me so uncomfortable I end up asking Dan to accompany me. It is safe here. I just need thicker skin. It is also difficult to get fresh produce consistently here. It is too far from any major city and too poor for regular produce deliveries. The closest grocery store is over 30 minutes away. However, what you do get is locally grown. But, heaven forbid, you need anything from 11:30 am to 2:30pm. Siesta is still alive and well.
Despite those few drawbacks I think Luperon has great things to offer. Let me recap the highlights of the last 4 weeks as a way of explanation!
Feb 3rd we left Sarah on anchor with a few people to look after her. We knew she was in good hands. We took one "taxi" to Imbert, a gua-gua to Puerto Plata then switched to another gua-gua to Cabarete for surf camp! After those cramped quarters I was feeling more appreciative off how roomy and quiet Sarah is. Public transportation in the DR is very economical ($10 for two people to travel 30 miles). The car, truck, bus is never full-- always able to cram one more and his chicken. I was sitting on Dan's lap for half the ride.
Busy day at kite beach, I think we counted 100+ kites in the air
We arrived to surf camp a few days before our friends Jose and Andrea and got a little surfing in. Dan took to it like a natural. I did well, but of course after an hour my arms were jello and my hips brutally bruised.
Nothing like ridin' the foam
Just like body surfing. Jose would run the board right onto the beach
Andrea deciding whether or not to join the surf competition that was going on
Day 2 - before I got too tired to paddle with the waves
Some very strange bruises, indeed.
Cabarete is THE place to go for water sports in the DR. When the wind is right, there are hundreds of kite surfers and wind surfers dodging one-another. I don't know how they avoid tangling up.
Andrea and Jose joined us back on S/V Sarah for a few days. We had beach cook-outs, rented motor bikes, went to the deserted beach Playa Chaquita, ate seafood on the beach in El Castillo and drank far too many Presidentes and Cuba Libres.
Casa Mami's turned out to be a great find in Cabarete, Paella for four?
Bro-time under the mosquito net, trying not to get "chickenguagua"
Back in Luperon! Cuba Libres, Bohemias and rancid pineapples
Jose and Andrea got the JetPro Sport, far superior to the X1000 we were riding
Interesting afternoon at Playa Chiquita - don't ask, really....
On the trusty X1000... I already searched for one for sale in the states, apparently they are too small to be found in the USA
After those two crazy kids flew home we took a day to recover and clean before my good friend Allison joined us. We were able to rent a car (Thanks Rafael!) and drive to Santiago just two hours south of Luperon.
We picked Allison up from the airport on her birthday! Then ate the most delicious meal we have had in the DR, complete with birthday fireworks beneath the shadow of The Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración.
View from the hotel balcony
Happy Birthday Allison! This is birthday candle is probably illegal in the US
The following day we drove out to the 27 waterfalls. Very beautiful and possibly very dangerous. Some of the other girls didn't know how to swim which added a Fear-Factor entertainment to the day. We all survived.
Go Go Power Rangers
It's a miracle the GoPro didn't end up at the bottom of a pool
Off to the next waterfall!
We just took the trip to get a free shower... much needed
Waterfall #12? in the background
Dan and I had fallen in love with motor bikes and el Castillo so we decided to rent them again with Allison. This time I drove alone! WOO! Being cat-called while driving a motorbike is far more enjoyable then while walking around. I feel like I could run them all down!
Off to El Castillo Again - This picture was taken only a few seconds before Dan burned his leg on the exhaust pipe, the so-called "Dominican Tattoo"
Our only cloudy moment at El Castillo, it didn't last long
El Castillo is such a peaceful beach, with a simple, but delicious seafood restaurant. After lunch we sat on the beach in a hut with some fruity drinks and watched rain showers move in and out on the water. Then proceeded to get caught in showers on our drive home. Nothing like dodging cows, men with machetes, donkeys, chickens and dogs while driving a motor bike in the rain.
Laying next to my birthday spread on Playa Grande
Finally some fruity drinks at el Castillo
A typical afternoon on the boat
The cliff walk is already starting to wash away.
After 2.5 crazy weeks we were happy to sit back and relax. That lasted all of two days.
World, meet Isabela... Bela for short.
Named for the town where our beloved el Castillo resides. There are so many strays through the Dominican Republic. They are some of the coolest dogs you could ever meet. Bela has joined us for all our runs from the local marina to Playa Grande since we arrived to Luperon 5 weeks ago. I think she adopted us. There is so much for the three of us to learn. But more on boat-dog training next post...