Monday, May 8, 2017

Tipping the Scales

   Waiting on the weather is a fact of life when cruising. It's not just a simple matter of having wind or not; conditions on the water can make or break a cruise.  If the winds are too light, you could end up having to use your engine more than you'd like or possibly deal with a lot of motion on the boat because the wind isn't there to stabilize you. Too much wind or winds from the wrong direction, and you could end up with a fight on your hands; you and your boat vs. the elements. There are are also things like squalls, wave height, swells, and other issues to consider . . .
looks like a completely useless gate until you realize that
it's supposed to keep motorcycles out

   So, why get out there? . . . Why risk it? . . . Because, the weather, for the most part, can be accounted for.  More than any other factor,  it weighs heavily on our plans.  However, we do our homework, we check multiple sources several times a day, and we try to be patient.  We don't always like cooling our heels for long periods of time but, it keeps us safe. Does this mean that we never see bad weather? . . . Of course not.  We are talking about the weather and weather is always subject to change.  We've certainly seen our share of less than perfect sailing conditions but, the precautions we take tip the scales in our favor.
Not sure what these are but,
they smell like honeysuckle
Catholic Church in Town


   This is why we just made it into the Dominican Republic; we were, and still are, tipping the scales.  The weather hasn't been very cooperative lately so we've been traveling in small jaunts, concluding our time in Haiti on a slightly sweeter note, and hearing a nicer tune in the Dominican Republic.
Walking around Les Cayes
chicken dinner in Isle a Vache
   While still in Haiti, we trekked around the larger city of Les Cayes and found some interesting sights.  Although, just getting there was interesting enough. After getting picked up by the water taxi at our boat (anchored off of an island near Les Cayes), we rode for about a half an hour towards Les Cayes.  Once the taxi got close to shore, we moved from the larger taxi to a smaller wooden boat.  That boat got us close enough for the last step, a piggy-back ride . . . seriously.  We, took our turn walking to the bow of the boat where we were carried either piggy-back style or over-the- threshold style to shore. . . Try doing that for a daily commute . . . Once in town, we picked up some provisions, officially checked out of the country, and ate a delicious lunch at a local spot for about $5 (U.S.) for the both of us.

   We also enjoyed a few unique meals on the island of Isle a Vache (where we were anchored). One night, for a small fee, one of the locals cooked us and several friends a large grilled chicken dinner at a common area in the village.  During another night, we walked quite a distance, climbing hills and slipping in mud, to get to Joe's. Joe is a transplant from Europe. When he first came to isle a Vache, he lived in a tent; he now lives with his girlfriend and two-year old son in their home/start-up restaurant. Getting to their home was less than ideal but, it added to the adventure and the company and food were certainly worth the effort.
View from Joe's

Fresh Herbs at Joe's, too

Our, the only, table 

beaches along the route . . .
   About a week ago, we met another couple in Isle a Vache planning to go the same way we were. So, we traveled the next 195 miles together, stopping here and there to rest up and wait on the weather. Last night, after navigating our way through the channel markers in the rain, we dropped anchor in Barahona, DR.  A few minutes to set the boat to rights, a quick dinner, and couple of showers later, we were curled up in bed ready for a good night's sleep.

   This morning, we were greeted by 4 officials. They arrived at the boat to stamp our passports, collect paperwork and fees, check out the boat, and drink beer . .   At 8:30 . . . Oh well, they were very nice and helpful, answering any questions we had and sharing a few jokes, in Spanish of course. . . I eeked out enough rusty Spanish for their visit but, I found that I really need to keep brushing up on the local language  . . .

   Tomorrow we plan on provisioning at the local outdoor market. This market is supposed to really be something to experience and is something I've been looking forward to for some time. After the slim pickings we've had lately, fresh produce will be a real treat.

Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)


  1. It was 49° and raining this morning here in Portland. I needed a sun fix, so I dropped in on your blog. We left Mirage on the hard in Florida a month ago. Glad to see you guys are still cruising along. Last Monday was the first time since November that the temperature topped 70°, but it only lasted for 3 days. Back to NW reality!

  2. Katie and Bill,
    So glad to see you both moving on from the unwelcome committees you experienced earlier this year. Love your pictures and we can more than appreciate your perseverance to experience the local people and their simple life style. Safe travels and we enjoy following along thru your blog.


Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments.