Saludo!

Trip Start Nov 06, 2010
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Dominican Republic  , El Seíbo,
Wednesday, February 9, 2011

We got a move on this morning just after sun up. It was a bit sad to be leaving the park that we have enjoyed so much, and it was a bit odd to be sailing away from our friends - but they intend to meet up with us in Punta Cana, so no big deal. Just as we rounded the peninsula out of the park, we heard Geoff from Eclipse over the VHF calling Yolo and us and whoever else wanted to listen to the weather report he had just received from their single side band radio. Andy and I responded back that we would like to hear, but unfortunately, due to our increasing distance from Eclipse, it was too patchy to make out any of the news… We did think we heard something about the weather window being open for Sunday and Monday.  We'll obviously check it out when we arrive in Punta Cana, but we'll just have to wait and see until then.

We motor sailed back across to the northern side of Samaná Bay as the southern side is scattered with some shallow reefs along the coast. We had to go all the way past the town of Samaná, round the island that sits near the entrance to the harbor, and head back across the bay to the southern side. It was another day of motor sailing, but it was pleasant enough that Pepé was able to steer us for the majority of the day. Nothing too eventful as we moved along - flying fish shooting across the water every so often, which is always enjoyable to see.

By early afternoon, we could see the long, pristine stretch of beach that makes up Playa de la Cana, and we were able to steer ourselves past the outlying reef into a beautiful anchorage.  It was a little bit bumpy, but the beach was actually just about perfect.  Palm trees lining the beach and a couple of scattered buildings in the thick of the trees. Our plan is to leave for Punta Macao farther along down the coast once the wind and seas settle down a bit this evening - so we settled in to read our books and try for some naps. 

Not too long after, however, we could hear some people talking, and the voices sounded much closer than the shore. Not five minutes later, we heard someone calling, "Saludo!"  To be honest, it sounded like a bunch of punk kids to me, so I didn't make any immediate moves - like they would just go away if we didn't respond? Needless to say, a couple of minutes and several "Saludos!" later, they managed to bump their boat against the hull of Hejira. I crawled out of the v-berth to figure out what was up. And as it turned out, while they did appear to sort of be a bunch of punk kids in a large row boat, the boy in the rear was in full navy uniform, and the boy in the front was at least wearing the hat and camouflage pants. We greeted each other in Spanish, and I waited for them to tell me what they needed… but in the meantime, they managed to let their row boat float away from us - I cannot even tell you how painful it was to watch them attempt to row back to us.
 
Yeah, there was a bit of swell…but man were they a struggle fest. So I just waited. Finally, the one in the front asked about our despacho, and I was thankful that I remembered the Spanish verb "to wait" (esperar) so I could explain to them that we had a despacho for Punta Cana but needed to wait to go there until the wind died down. After reading our despacho a couple of times over, they seemed satisfied enough, bid us a good afternoon, and somehow managed to row back ashore.

We've had a stir fry with peanut sauce for dinner and are getting the boat cleaned up to get underway in the night. We have a timer set to go off hourly, and we'll take turns getting up to check on the wind and sea state… Thus far, it hasn't calmed down, so we'll see how it looks in a couple of hours.
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