We sailed from Woburn Bay up to Carriacou to refill the diesel tanks, ready for our first long stretch in a long time. We met up with Grant, who was on The Buzzard in Grenada, and narrowly missed seeing Dave and Chis, on Patina…….we consider them our benefactors after they gave us the entire set of guides for the Eastern Seaboard! Shame we missed them:(

On Tuesday 3rd November, we set off for Antigua and had a good sail with beam winds for most of the way. Just as we were approaching Jolly Harbour on Thursday morning, a squall came across and soaked us, but cleaned the boat! We made our way in in sunshine and once having cleared in, we anchored next to Maia, a British boat which is home for six months of the year to a very PLU couple (people like us), Peter and Anne who are from Jersey. We spent a lot of time in their company and were kept entertained by Pete’s stories.
While we were in Jolly Harbour we met up for lunch with Marcus’ old school friend, Colin and his wife, Lou. It was good to see them again and meet their daughter, Jenny.
Whilst near boatyards, we got someone to take a very expensive look at our generator. Diagnosis…….it’s broken!
As always we met some good people. When we were going into the restaurant on our first evening, we met four Brits who were on holiday and the next morning we picked them up for elevenses onboard!

Antigua and new friends onboard

Antigua and new friends onboard

Late afternoon on Wednesday 11th, we left Jolly Harbour, bound for Tortola in the BVIs. All went well to begin with the auto pilot taking the strain……..unfortunately too much strain as it turned out! The pesky pin broke again at 2100hrs and the Hydrovane was pressed into action. It coped really well, despite really light winds and the motor on. In the afternoon the conditions were calm enough for me to empty the port locker and crawl into my most favourite place on the boat…..not!

The hidden part of the 'Cruising Life' !!

The hidden part of the ‘Cruising Life’ !!

The troublesome pin!

The troublesome pin!

With the auto pilot working again, we worked the wind vane and Autohelm together and spent the afternoon reminding ourselves how to rig the whisker pole to pole out the Genoa and cruising chutes, should we ever get following winds! Just to keep us on our toes, the galley fridge compressor decided To stop working on Thursday!

Early on Friday morning, we pulled into Road Town, Tortola, checked in and arranged for another expert to come and diagnose the generator. This one was astronomically expensive, but he did find the problem. Sadly it’s terminal!
We set off for Fat Hog’s Bay to anchor for the night and after a roly night, we decided to sail south to Soper’s Hole on the south of the island, hoping to anchor again in the old pirates’ sheltered inlet.

A mixed bag of weather off Tortola, BVIs

A mixed bag of weather off Tortola, BVIs

No sooner did we hoist the Genoa, than it slid gracefully down the forestay and into the water. After a lot of ‘Heave Ho-ing’ we managed to get the sail aboard and safely stowed on deck. We then unfurled our trusty stay sail and continued to Soper’s Hole.

Jib in need of repair!

Jib in need of repair!Despite the symbols on the charts and the words in the guide book, there is no chance of anchoring in Soper’s Hole as it is now all taken up with $30 a night buoys.

With good wifi, we managed to arrange for our Genoa to be mended at Nany Cay, so off we went back up the island and pulled into the marina for the night and delivered the sail to be repaired. We also managed to arrange for a refrigeration guy to come and sort out the galley fridge….thank goodness we had a spare compressor, or we’d be bobbing along with no arms and no legs! Needless to say, the sail wasn’t ready when we were told it would be, so we took off for a cheap night at anchor in Peter Island.

What a good decision that was!

Stern anchored to a bush, Peter Island.

Stern anchored to a bush, Peter Island.

 

Idyllic anchorage, Peter Island, BVIs.

Idyllic anchorage, Peter Island, BVIs.

Genoa fixed, collected and hoisted, we set sail for the western most island of Jost Van Dyke. This was a delight after the charter boat orientated nonsense that is Tortola. Here we were able to anchor on the edge of the mooring field and spent a restful night before checking out of the BVIs.

Jost Van Dyke on the way to Foxy's beach bar.

Jost Van Dyke on the way to Foxy’s beach bar.

 

School children on their way to May Pole dancing.....or Braid the Pole as they call it!

School children on their way to May Pole dancing…..or Braid the Pole as they call it!

 

Arty Farty pic!

Arty Farty pic!

 

On Thursday 19th, we left Jost Van Dyke at 1245 bound for Luperon DR.

Jib back up and we're off....heading for the DR.

Jib back up and we’re off….heading for the DR.

We had a very lumpy night as we made our way past Puerto Rico. Luckily things calmed down as we crossed above the Mona Passge…..a notoriously tricky bit of sea.

Sunrise just off the coast of the Dominican Republic.

Sunrise just off the coast of the Dominican Republic.

Just before dawn on the third day we saw the Queen Mary, making for a purpose built cruise ship terminal called Amber Cove. Marcus hailed them to check that our AIS and radar ‘SeeMe’ devices were working. All was well and they’d picked us up on both…..very reassuring!

Queen Mary.

Queen Mary.

 

At 0930 we entered Luperon Harbour. Looking at it from the sea, it looks like one unbroken reef with breaking seas, but once we followed the buoyage we saw the break in the reef and made our way in.

For those of you reading this who may come this way, we found the Garmin Blue Chart with Active Captain, gave us excellent approach details……our Raymarine navionics chart had us on the land!! As it happened we didn’t need to rely on the charts as another cruiser, who was out in his dinghy, lead us through the shallows into the Harbour. Once again we are on the receiving end of the generosity of a fellow cruiser.

Luperon harbour.

Luperon harbour.

Luperon is a well known ‘Huricane Hole’ and as such there are many boats that have been left here for the season, others with cruisers waiting to move on and those who have got this far and decided to stay. There is also a number of gringos who arrived by boat, but now live on land.

Dinghy dock at the far end of moorings.

Dinghy dock at the far end of moorings.

Luperon reminds us very much of Brasil. The people are very welcoming and friendly, but there is clearly a lot of poverty. Dogs roam the streets and in the evening everyone sits outside their houses and there is a lot of banter, music and laughter.

Main street, Luperon.

Main street, Luperon.

Just behind the main street, Luperon.

Just behind the main street, Luperon.

There are two cruisers’ bars, The Lazy Ass Bistro and Wendy’s.

We have attended two film nights at Wendy’s, a quiz night at the Lazy Ass and I went along with a new friend, Veronique, to Yoga at the sadly derelict Yacht Club.

Film Night at Wendy's.

Film Night at Wendy’s.

 

Burgers and popcorn....soooo American!

Eating with Bruce and Veronique ….Burgers and popcorn….soooo American!

On Thursday we signed up for a Thanksgiving Dinner out of town at the Pequino Mondo restaurant. To get there we had to take the local taxi! Luckily we got a lift back……I didn’t fancy riding pillion in the dark and in the rain!

On the back of our motogauchos' bikes on our way to Thanksgiving. Arriving in one piece was cause for thanksgiving!!

On the back of our motogauchos’ bikes on our way to Thanksgiving. Arriving in one piece was cause for thanksgiving!!

 

Thanksgiving dinner with Ray and Carmen.

Thanksgiving dinner with Ray and Carmen.

Ray is one of the sailors who arrived and decided to settle here and has married a local girl. She was delighted to see photos of our family and especially to see photos of Mahoro and Malachy.

On Friday we did our checking out in preparation for leaving on Saturday and then took a taxi to the city of Puerto Plata, which we passed on our way along the coast.
The city is a mixture of the new and the old. Our driver, Heim, gave us a potted history of the DR and Haiti and guardedly referred to the corruption of officialdom. We had already experienced charges from the tourist board, the agriculture officials and Imigration which have mounted up to £135 even though we’re only staying for less than a week!

Driving the herd on a horse.

Driving the herd of cows on a horse.

 

Puerto Plata. A bustling city.

Puerto Plata. A bustling city with a foot in two worlds.

We managed to see a little of the country side, but our main mission was to buy a new car stereo, as the old one has given up the ghost. We also queued for ages in a superstore, where we managed to buy bedding ready for our visitors and food that’s not available in Luperon, ready for our five day passage to Fort Lauderdale.

It is now Saturday evening and we haven’t left!
Marcus went to the navy to get our despchio document this morning, but the Commandente di Puerto wouldn’t let us go, because he said there were thunderstorms due off the north coast of the DR this afternoon.
It seems like we’re in Hotel Luperon…………we can check out anytime we like,  but we cannot leave.
He’s due to come to the boat tomorrow morning at 0750 to give us our papers so we’ll see. If he doesn’t let us go we’ll miss the window to cross the Gulf Stream on Friday at the other end of our journey!

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