Saoirse is lying in a marina that forms a part of a fancy resort that is virtually empty. The resort that is, not the marina. Which is great. It means that we can pay $50 a night and get treated like the $500 a night hotel guests that the place is really built for. The marina and the boats are probably just there for the view. They certainly don’t make enough money from us sailing nomads. We do of course frequent the bars and restaurants here, but we live like we live here. Which we do. And if we lived like short term tourists, we would spend our monthly budget in a couple of days.
We don’t even use the facilities offered to us for free. Like electricity and water. We make our own. In fact, Annie from Happy Pancake just came over and asked for a jug of water as their fresh water pump is broken. In return she offered a glass of wine from her best box! Knowing that Saoirse can produce water from wine. Much less impressive than the biblical opposite. But still…
The marina I’m in is in the Dominican Republic. An island that took a hit from Hurricane Fiona a couple of months ago. But the hurricane season is over now and it’s a new cruising season. I have made my way up the Caribbean island chain via Martinique, Antigua, Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Sint Maarten and the British Virgin Islands. The plan is to go to Panamá as soon as I have sorted out a few electronics issues here as both my new iPhone and my computer are acting up. Sadly this means that I will have to say goodbye to my friends on Happy Pancake. That will be tough as we have hung out a lot since we met back in Barbuda in February. But that is a part of the cruising life. You meet people everywhere and you make cruising plans together but ultimately you know that at some stage it is time to say goodbye. When the long term plans interfere too much with the short term ones. They are staying in the Atlantic, I’m going to the Pacific. They will go northwest to the Bahamas, I’m going southwest to the Panamá Canal.
Over the year I have gotten to know the Rosander family on Happy Pancake really well. We have shared life stories and plans for the future, rented cars together, explored many islands, celebrated birthdays, snorkelled reefs where we have caught fish and lobster, worked on each other’s boats and had lots of late night refreshments in various bars and cockpits around the Caribbean. I have even done some babysitting for their kids. But all good things must come to an end. That said, I’m sure we will remain in close contact and I hope I will be able to welcome them aboard Saoirse again when their adventure is over. Maybe somewhere in the Pacific.
The leg to Panamá will be the longest one that I’ve done on my own. Around 1,100 Nm. It should take me about a week or so, all downwind. The most challenging parts should be in the beginning and the end. I would love to be able to take the route through the Windward Passage, between Haiti and Cuba. But I really don’t think that is wise at the moment so I’ve decided to go back around the east end of Hispaniola and take the Mona Passage between Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. A passage that is very shallow and notorious for rough seas. At the other end of the crossing, I will be exposed to one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world as numerous container ships will be entering or leaving the Panamá Canal. All character building. But I’m looking forward to another adventure. It’s time to go.