Friday, March 11, 2011

Oh, Samana

Samana is a 150 nautical mile sail from Luperon (taking upwind tacks into account).  Seems doable but this  trip along a coast with several windy capes and high cliffs sailing directly into the strong and steady trade winds is a task that requires some planning and patience.  Going was slow requiring frequent short tacks along the coast to minimize the currents and play the lees along the shore.   We kept our eyes peeled for whales as we rounded the Cabo Cabron and sailed around into the Bahia Samana and were rewarded by some great breeching action in the distance.  This is their mating ground and apparently they are incredibly active and playful during their visit here.  
Feeling in need of a little extra comfort and some water and provisions we checked into newly opened Puerto Bahia marina with a gentle sigh of relief.   What fabulous luxury!  The marina is part of a huge (but very tasteful) resort with all of the amenities.  Six swimming pools, fast internet and a beautiful lobby with a bar right in front of our boat.   Fortunately the place had only been open for a month and their prices for boats were under  1$US per foot.   

The hotel has a very chic travel agency whom we approached to help us to rent a car.  On the first occasion we were told to meet in the lobby of the hotel at 0900 to pick up the car.  We showed up promptly at 0900 with our hair in a braid (well Emma’s anyway) only to be told that the car was no longer available.  And we had already paid! They offered to compensate us with a chauffeured taxi for the day (a much more expensive option which they offered for the same price) and couldn’t understand that we were not entirely happy.  The taxi chauffeur took us to the major sites in the areas and we found ourselves back on the beaten path.  This path involved (among other things) riding an emaciated donkey for 45 minutes to a beautiful waterfall.  Unfortunately, we were swimming in the waterfall with several hundred cruise ship passengers.  Aaaah, we have become spoiled.  

Our second car rental from Samana was also slightly ridiculous.  They brought us an extremely old jeep with no seatbelts in the back and no window coverings.  Fortunately, we had some big adjustable sail ties that we able to rig to fix Emma and Macsen’s car seats safely in place.  Having personal control of the car was more enjoyable as it gave us the opportunity to stop where we wanted and visit small villages along the way.  Once again we were visiting a country with extremely lavish luxurious possibilities on one side of the resort gates and extreme poverty and necessary self sufficiency on the other.  Once again, more than a little disturbing.  

 On February 3rd we took the boat 12 nautical miles across the bay to anchor in the Park de Los Haitises. Stunning! This park is said to rival Bora Bora in natural beauty and although I cannot tell from experience I can well imagine this to be so.  Gentle hills surround the anchorage and there are beautiful walks through the humid subtropical park  forest.  There is little road access and the number of tourists per year is strictly limited.  The hills are pocketed by caves created by water erosion and there are miles of dinghy exploration possible through the mangroves.  The Native American Taínos adorned several of these caves with pictographs and petro glyphs.  Pelicans, ibis, frigate birds among others are constantly soaring overhead.  And to top it off there is a beautiful ecolodge with a cascade of natural fresh water pools to swim through.  Ahhhh!  

After a few days of pure beautiful nature we returned to the Puerto Bahia resort to watch the US football Super Bowl  2011.  There were six other boats (s/v I Don’t Neaux, s/v Eclipse, s/v R Sea Cat, s/v Yolo, s/v Hajera, s/v At Last) with a lovely group of people and together we made up quite a lively party.  Emma and Macsen still sometimes shout a random “Go Packers!”  for the winning team so they obviously learned something from this experience as well. 

No comments:

Post a Comment