Friday, April 22, 2011

Mona Passage to Cap Cana, Dominican Republic

April 22, 2011
Silently pulling out at 6:00 AM, we headed out Samana Bay into the Atlantic and across part of the dreaded Mona Passage.   Andy hasn’t slept well for days, dreading this portion of the trip.  The Mona Passage has a terrible reputation as a potentially very dangerous crossing, with unpredictable currents everywhere and rough shoals, with severe thunderstorms often popping up in spite of an excellent weather forecast.  Van Sant’s guide speaks of ‘boaters getting the stuffing knocked out of them’ along with mentions of demastings.  These waters are coming from the Equatorial Current spilling into the Puerto Rican Trench, which is the second deepest trench in the world.  That deep water come into the much more shallow shoals creates all the weird currents, waves, etc.

Given that the weather forecasts are getting worst, today is DO IT or don’t go for at least another week as a huge storm system is building, coming this way.  Unflappable Andy is grumpy - very anxious about the trip.  He would prefer to stay at the marina for another week or more and I want to get to Puerto Rico.  We are now caught in the boater dilemma -- we are stuck with a schedule that forces decisions one might not otherwise make.  We need to be in Grenada by June 1 -- some 800 miles away.   Andy also has a doctor’s appointment in Puerto Rico in a few days.  With 6-9 foot seas expected at 9 second intervals and winds 15 knots or so, it is ‘marginal’.  We decide to go.

Once out, the seas were rolling high on somewhat of a quarter beam and the trip was smooth, given the circumstances.  We went up/down all day, but never slamming...a piece of cake.   The often crazed currents were WITH us, pushing us along at 9.2 + knots - very fast for us.   We crossed the Hourglass Shoals between the shoal and the shore based on Van Sant’s advice and had none of the scary wave action so often cited in the guidebooks.  We did, however, see wave action out toward the middle of the shoal, but there was no impact on us.  However, we still have to cross the remainder of the Mona - straight across to Puerto Rico tomorrow.  So far, so good, but not done yet~

Following the Cap Cana pilot boat

 After hailing Cap Cana Marina on the southeastern side of the DR,  we were met a couple miles out by their guide boat, who brought us through the straightforward channel into the marina. 
Pilot boat leading us into Cap Cana Marina & Resort
WOW.  Another world class resort! It is not finished yet either but with at least half of it is completed and active.  The marina is fully completed and in the middle of the resort.

Passing thru the channel into the Marina Resort
 There are at least 3-4 restaurants of all types, shops, condos, pools and a fabulous beach, all so beautifully landscaped it takes your breath away.
Pool side @ Cap Cana

Beach as viewed from the pool
All this for approximately $85 a day also.  I noticed the off season rates (Nov - April) for monthly rate is 34 cents a foot!  Very inexpensive!  Check in was professional and easy with Andy, the Marina Supervisor - an American from Florida - assisting us.  After wandering about for an hour or so and tired from our long day, we settled into chairs at the restaurant by the marina.  The food was NOT Dominican style - lots of Japanese and other foods - all very sophisticated.  After an appetizer of thinly sliced grilled octopus with cilantro, a salad and a chicken curry wrap, we headed back to Finally Fun to crash, very very tired.

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