We landed in a beautiful marina/resort on the E side of the Dominican Republic (DR) as we continue to head SE towards the Virgin Islands and The Grenadines. Marina Puerto Bahia is stunning. Sitting on the edge of the lovely Bahia Bay, surrounded by mountains, near the town of Samana, the resort boasts a marina, hotel, spa, pool with a night club (Ocean Club,) multiple restaurants and residences. The architecture is fresh and the staff attentive and welcoming (even as we mangle our attempt to speak Spanish.) The marina hosted their annual Regatta while we were there, so of course, we were invited to participate. After sailing multiple races in the Bay, we placed third! Captain Jim is very happy to find a place on Dauntless for the trophy. Beyond the resort, we experienced a few memorable places and activities during our time in DR.
A highlight of our travels to-date was our hike to La Cascada Limon. Our soft spoken and sure footed guide, (wearing flip-flops!) Manuel, brought us up and down what seemed like 1,000 steps (only 200.) The weather was perfect; it hadn’t rained in days, so the path full of rocks was not slippery and the water was clear. Most visitors take the small horses or donkeys to the falls, but since I have a severe allergy to horses, that was not an option. Since there were not any cruise ships in the port of Samana, the trail and falls were not crowded. In fact, there were more local families enjoying the park than tourists. Cooling off in the pond at the base of the falls was a treat!
This is Holy Week around the world and since the DR is predominantly Catholic, it is a popular and important time. One event we will attend is the Samana Santa Procesion. Parades take place in the Dominican Republic on Holy Thursday and Good Friday: the best known is the huge procession, known as the Samana Santa Procesion, that begins at the 16th-century Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor in Santo Domingo after morning Mass and features costumed marchers and hoisted figures representing Jesus. Semana Santa is the biggest event of the year in many parts of the Dominican Republic. We are looking forward to Easter here!
Basically, we lucked out in a great place while waiting for the weather window to cross the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico. One of the most challenging crossings in the Caribbean, Captain Jim references multiple sources, including the software Predict Wind and Chris Parker’s forecasts to plan our navigation schedule.