Crusing Caribbean winter/spring 2019, Part2

Feb 5th - Feb 27th, 2019

Puerto Rico

5 Feb-16 Feb

Coming back to Horizon after two weeks in Boulder, Colorado, we started out with another boat project. We got a clog in our fuel line which made the engine stop, on New Years. We used the dinghy pump to blow it back in the tank, and then we switched to a new tank. But we still knew that we had debris in the tanks. So here we're open up all our four diesel tanks and cleaned them out. Messy job, but now we know they are all clean and good to go.

After the Boat project day we took one day to tourist Old San Juan. Here we are at San Cristobal.

Anders was here in 1968, so a little sentimental coming back.

This is El Morro. The oldest and first fort in San Juan

The contrasts

Anders is planning on how to invade El Morro

These Guard towers are surrounding San Juan,. They are called Garitas and are a national symbol for Puerto Rico

They have a " Save the cats program" in San Juan. They put out food, shelter and water for all the stray cats

We ended up at Costco for our hunt for box wine. Yeah, it sounds stupid but it's definitely more convenient to have aboard than bottles. But now we know, There are no box wines, What so ever, to find in Puerto Rico :-(

Puerto Patillas, our first anchorage on the south shore of Puerto Rico. Very protected. It was a big party a shore, all night long :-)

Another beautiful sunset, Puerto Patillas

Nice spinnaker sail the whole day down to Coffin Island, Isla Caja de Muertos

Can't help myself, sorry, but here is another stunning sunset.

The lighthouse at Coffin Island

The view from the lighthouse on Coffin Island, Horizon is anchored behind us. We were the only boat there.

My Playground, Yay :-)

From Isla Caja de Muerto we sailed downwind 30 nm in 20-25kt wind, only flying the Genoa. Great day sailing. Big following seas :-)

Our new anchorage at La Parguera. A little tricky to approach, specially with the high winds and following seas coming ashore. Lots of Mangrove islands and reefs. But well and secured it's a very safe anchorage. La Parguera is very cute with lots of good restaurants.

We moved anchorage to Isla Matei , and did a night excursion to the Bahia Fosforescente. Super cool

This was a long mangrove channel, with a lot of spiders and insects. And we saw the luminescent in the water from our electrical propeller.

There was a very big Blimp in Paguera, probably something Scientific. The College of Puerto Rico is situated here.

We did another dinghy adventure at Isla Cueva, home to some 400 monkeys . We dinghied through some tight mangrove forest. All just amazing, but no monkeys to be seen :-(

But we saw a bird, he was following us.

Anders is happy navigating in the mangroves

We rounded Cabo Rojo, and the beautiful lighthouse!

And then anchored in Bahia de Boqueron.

We're all set to set sail towards Dominican Republic tomorrow. Bribes and tip are all stock up.

We also call the "Hospitality Gifts". Cheers :-)

Isla Mona, Puerto Rico

15 Feb-16Feb

Left Puerto Rico in the early morning. A Dolphin came up to us to wave us Good Bye

50 NM later we arrived at Mona Island. The inlet was a little tricky between two narrow reefs, 100 yards apart. The depth was only 6'. Luckily there was good range to help navigate us in

Inside the reefs it was stunning. Calm sees and beautiful turquoise water. This certainly is a once in a lifetime experience, so remote :-)

They have big black Iguanas here

This is the harbour of Mona Island

The mandatory selfie with Horizon anchored safely behind us

Dominican Republic

16 Feb- 27 Feb

Left Mona Island at sunrise, on the morning tide.

Today's catch. Saragasso seaweed for dinner :-)

We had excellent conditions during our Mona Passage sail. We were flying the spinnaker the whole time :-)

Anchored safely in D.R. NW side of Isla Saona

We cleared in to the Dominican Republic at Marina Casa de Campo. Interesting experience, it’s the first time we’ve had the military search our boat. Very professional and friendly though. They even took their military boots off. Everything went very smooth! Our hospitality gifts were very appreciated 😊

Our anchorage, Isla Catalina. Very popular by locals for day trips. Also very popular for big cruise ships

Not very crowded beach this day. But they are prepared for cruise ships — at Catalina Island.

Their 911 rescue boat. Not very trustworthy 😆

The Beach

Horizon and our only cruising neighbor, a Lithuanian couple in their thirties. We had Aurelija and Julius over for a sun-downer and had a great time sharing experiences.

This little guy looked really dangerous with it’s red curly tail sticking up. There are many of them and they look like a combination of a scorpion and a gecko.

The island staff are done for today. The commuting boat is taking them back to the mainland.

Now docked in Marina Zar-Par. We stayed here a couple of days, rented a car and explored the inland 😊

Road Trip

We rented a car for two days to see the island. Of course the first thing we came upon was IKEA

We visited Constanza. A beautiful mountain town. Our plan was to hike the tallest peak in D.R. Pico Duarte 3098m, 10,164'. But we realized that it is a two day hike with overnight on the mountain which we were not prepared for. So we just enjoyed the beautiful scenery from the car.

Our lunch stop in Constanza. A very nice hotel/resort. We had local goat and sheep for lunch. Really good.

We wanted to do a loop to get down to Lago Enriquillo. Google maps showed us this road that took us through the city dump...

And then we came down to a river crossing. Since we had a rental 2W drive car, and the drive would be 3 hours, and it started to get dark, and we had no clue how bad the road would be, we decided to turn around...

Next suggestion of road was not much better. A very narrow dirt road that came to a stop at a construction site. At the end we ended up driving back the same way we came.

It got late and dark. So we decided to stop for the night instead of driving back to the boat. You know you found a top rated hotel when they provide free condoms in the Room and asked if we wanted the room for the night or the evening... 😆

Driving west early at sunrise. Beautiful scenery

A very typical mini market. We stopped here to buy some breakfast.

Very typical load on a truck. The loads they have on the scooters are even crazier

Of course we ended up on another tiny dirt road, we always do. Stupid Waze ;-)

Then suddenly my phone thought I was in Haiti and connected it to their network. We were pretty close to the border though.

Our destination, Lake Enriquillo. It is one of the the few saltwater lakes in the world inhabited by crocodiles. It is 46m, 150', below sea level. The crocodiles can mostly be seen out on the island, Isla Cabritos. Unfortunately we couldn't go out there today, no guides were available to drive the boat :-( But we saw lots of Iguanas and we could cool of in the lake.

Nice country road. The trees almost made a tunnel

We think D.R. is a beautiful country and everyone we met was very friendly and helpful. The traffic was crazy and interesting. The most sad part was all the trash. It was everywhere, and mostly it was plastic :-(

Back on the boat we suddenly saw a military boat, fully armed with guns. We found out that they are the ones that are coming to check your boat out before you leave. We will see how that goes tomorrow morning when we are leaving...

Going north...

We left Saoma Island, South east D.R., early morning so we could go against the wind before the wind picked up. That didn't happen, the wind was already 20kt straight on the nose. When we turned north up along the east coast of D.R. we started to sail. This is the Mona passage! We had great sailing, close haul, and the sea was not to rough. Then we came to a point when we had to motorsail to keep going up the coast. That's when the sea went wild. Huge waves, big seas. We rounded the north east corner of the island right when the sun set. Then we realized that with the speed we were doing we would make landfall in the middle of the night. We decided to go straight out to sea for 3 Nm. With only the jib we still made 6-7 kt. It was a tough night with rough sea. When we were far enough offshore, we hove too to slow us down and to get more comfortable sleep.

When we finally approached Samana bay we got treated by the whales. That was exactly what we needed after a rough night

We followed some whale watching boats. We thought that was smart. They knew where the whales were. And we didn't even have to pay for it ;-)

Our first Anchhorage in Samana Bay (which by the way is huge). This is Bahia de Lorenzo and Los Haitises National Park.

Smart hand wash station

This was our second night anchorage, on the other side of the bay. This is truly an amazing place. If you are in the area, this is a DO-NOT miss anchorage!

Out for a dinghy excursion in this stunning place

It felt like going back in time to the ancient. Just look at these moss covered islands.

Very well organized birds, in straight rows

This was the first cave we visited. Cueva La Arena. Here fisherman used to sleep. Kept them nice and dry and no sand-flies in here

Amazing formations on the walls

Pictures from inside the cave


The Ranger station by the first cave

A Pelican in the moss tree

Dinghy exploring

Looks like a face

An old pier. It gave us excellent wake protection.

The entrance to the mangrove creek that leads to to the second cave. Cueva de La Linea.

Dinghy dock by the cave

Inside the cave. Beautiful colors

Inside to the outside

We found these pictographs on the wall in the cave

On our way back out

Anette is enjoying a nice swim at a small beach

Cloudy morning

Morning shadows over these beautiful green hills by our anchorage

Our last stop in D.R Puerto Bahia marina.

Very easy and convenient clear out process. Imigration and customs were right by the dock.

Tomorrow morning we will set sail towards Turks & Caicos. 200NM downwind sail. Bye D.R.

The marina have two beautiful pools. Three restaurants, mini market, laundry, gym etc...