Waiting to cross Mona
Friday 16th March 2012
We settled Scott-Free into her slip and adorned her once more with the wet washing. Tony and Lisa came aboard for coffee and Tony went to fetch his breakfast (pork chop and potatoes!) as they had come straight to the boat before the tide started to drop. Of course Bibi the dog came along too, as she is never far from Lisa.
Afloat again and with guard rails full of washing. Lisa, Tony and Bibi joined us for coffee.
We stayed nine more days in the slip in Marina Zar Par waiting for decent weather to get across the Mona Passage which is the gap between the two islands of Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Although we were not having to sail through the passage, we would be sailing just south of it and it has a well-deserved reputation for being just a little bit unpleasant in certain conditions, which seems to be much of the time!
It was nice to be amongst a community of cruisers again and we enjoyed the social life, beginning with the Seven Seas CA party at the marina restaurant and bar, ‘Teresita’, organised by Tony.
The band played some interesting tunes. Tony & Lisa took to the floor to begin the dancing.
Rubio & Teresa, friendly & excellent service, and tasty food.
The following evening Steve & Tony (Nychea) explained the concept of ‘Happy Hour’ to Rubio, the owner, and suggested he do a Happy Hour at 1700 the next evening. This worked well, and Rubio even supplied free snacks for the first couple of nights. Within a few days there was a group of cruisers to be found at ‘Teresita’s’ every evening, with at least half a dozen different nationalities represented. We are so fortunate that the one language we speak is the one everyone else uses!
The marina is five minutes’ walk from Andres, which is very much a local DR town, and we walked in a few times to buy supplies. We were told about a little fruit/veg shop tucked away down a side street and got some excellent fresh fruit there. We also went to Boca Chica, which is ten minutes away by car, and this is very much a town for tourists, with shops selling tourist tat everywhere and virtually nowhere to get groceries. It does have a good coffee shop though, and we stopped to sample their wares, which just happened to be across from an Italian bakery where we bought an excellent ciabatta , the best bread we have tasted for ages.
Breakfast of fresh local fruit – pineapple, mango & papaya - & yogurt Al fresco coffee in Boca Chica with Rahel & Marco (Habibi).
Steve got an opportunity to develop his scooter riding skills further after asking for a lift to get one of the gas bottles filled. In DR they have propane stations that look and work just like petrol stations, so you just pull up and fill up. This time he rode pillion, whilst carrying a 10lb propane cylinder!
Eventually the break in the weather that we were waiting for arrived, and we prepared to leave. Slowly the gathering of boats had started to diminish as they set off at various times, most going the opposite way to us and therefore able to leave a few days sooner. We needed to wait for the big seas to abate somewhat as we were headed straight into them, so by the time we headed up to ‘Happy Hour’ for the last time, there were not so many people left for us to buy a drink (result!) Tony (Torres) and Lisa were there of course, and Rahel & Marco from Habibi, who were waiting for their US visas to arrive. Rudy and Gargie (sp?) were celebrating the excellent news that a friend had found a second-hand engine for their boat, and they would be leaving shortly to sail to Martinique where the friend would be waiting to tow them in. Well, Rudy was celebrating, and Gargie was panicking – but apparently that’s the way it usually is! The first challenge would be getting out of the marina and channel and out into open water without an engine, but Raul, the dockmaster was confident that he could tow them.
Tony & Steve posing. Rudy & Gargie from Prairie Fox also posing!
The early night that had been planned turned out to be not so early as Rahel & Marco joined us for supper, and then invited us back to Habibi for coffee and nightcaps. We made sure to set the alarms (note the plural) to make sure we moved to the fuel dock early in the morning to fuel up and then await customs and immigration to clear us for an international despacho.