|Leaving San Juan Harbor @ 0630|
I simultaneously look forward to, and dread, our overnight passages....if all goes well, it can be a pleasure. A time to just sit and contemplate; no thoughts necessary, nowhere to be, no work to do. Just sea and sky, with the waves swooshing gently past the hull. Of course, the opposite of that is the dread part! Heavy weather, high seas, shifty winds...all conspire to keep you on your toes. Exhilarating, but exhausting. Also, occasionally frightening...
|Our Last View of Old San Juan|
Our most recent passage from San Juan, Puerto Rico, fell into the "enjoy" category. We left San Juan at 0630 in light winds, with mostly clear skies. The forecast was for the winds to increase in the early part of the day, then dwindle down to almost nothing later in the day. The morning light lit up Old San Juan beautifully as we motored out of the harbor. Harbor traffic was heavy at this hour: we passed a Disney cruise ship on its way in, several smaller vessels going in different directions, and were hailed by an incoming tug. The captain of the tug asked us to hug the port channel marker, and in a good-ole-boy Southern accent, said "I got a big barge on a short leash". Indeed, he did!
|Big Barge on a Sort Leash!|
It would take us the better of the day to clear Puerto Rico, and head off into the Mona Passage. We saw a heavy squall behind us and wondered if it might overtake us, making for a wet trip, but as we watched it over the next few hours, it slowly passed off to starboard, dissipating as it went.
|You can't see them, but there are 3 large Navy ships hiding in there!|
Moonrise found us well into the Mona Passage. The sun hadn't set yet, making for a perfect photo op.
We discovered a stowaway aboard just after sunset-a sea bird decided the dinghy made a nice spot for a rest. He (she?) stayed with us all night, flying off around 0500. Unfortunately, I did not take a photo, as I didn't want to scare him away. A full moon sail is almost always a pleasure, and this one was no exception-it was almost bright enough to read by! We followed the reflection on the water all the way to the Dominican Republic, where we rewarded by a gorgeous sunrise. We were able to watch the moon set as the sun rose...
We worked our way into the massive Bahia Samaná into Puerto Bahia Marina. We docked in (fortunately) light winds, and were soon boarded by Customs, Immigration, Navy, Intelligence (Drugs) and the Tourism Board. Most required a fee, and as Bill said, they all gave us a nice piece of paper in exchange....our Marina Concierge (I know, right?) translated for us for the most part, and after the Navy & Intelligence gents finished poking through the boat, we were free to have our traditional "clearing-in" Bloody Mary.
|Puerto Bahia Aerial Photo Courtesy of Yahoo Images|
Puerto Bahia Marina has everything the weary traveler could possibly ask for: Palm trees, multiple pools, restaurants, bars, a mini market, gym, and laundry facilities. Easy to spend a week here, exploring the Island, and resting up for our next, much longer passage from here to the Bahamas...no full moon on this one, but we'll have an extra body to share the watches; "Mi hermano" Kevin will be joining us next week. Hope he's ready for whatever this next passage may bring :)