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Vacation Journal
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Part 5 The Dominican Republic

By: BertaB (View Profile)
Date: 5/24/2007

Back on LaChelle, we got the dink up and did an engine and systems check the night before. Hhhhhhmmm, the generator gave us problems. It sounded dry when Leo turned it on. Dry meaning that cooling water was not flowing.

DUH. Leo must have been really tired. He forgot to turn the cooling valve on. Shame on him. Problem solved.

Sunday 4/29/07

I woke up 5 minutes before my alarm went off. My body clock is definately working. It is now 3:55 am. I can understand leacing at such an ungodly hour to arrive at our destination in daylight, but hauling anchor and leaving in pitch black thru coral heads is INSANE !!!

Lsst night there were new boats in the harbor and they did not have their anchor lights on. This made it very hard for me to see where they were. I prayed and relied on my previous track and went very slowly out of the harbor. Thankfully we did not hit anything or anyone. I celebrated getting out of there an into open water.

This was going to be a very long trip and that resulted in the three of us in our own watches. My first watch was from 9 to 11 am with a 4 hour break before my next watch.

I giggled every hour when it was time for me to mark the paper chart of our position. I could read my husbands writing a mile a way. Only difference is that he was going the other way and it was 5 years ago. Still, it was nice to "see" a bit of my darling hubby.

After my first watch I took a snooze. It would be just 4 more hours before I was back on duty and would have several more watches before we get to the Dominican Republic and the port of Luperon. I went up to the flybridge (the uppermost part of the boat) to snooze.

Back on duty at 1 pm. I had to adjust our course briefly to avoid a collision with a freighter. Woooooooo Hoooooo, I spotted the coast of the Dominican Republic first! Yes, they still say "land ho." We have decided to stay a long ways from shore to avoid the fishing/lobster lines.

Leo had been in the engine room and came up announcing the stabilizers were not working. So far this did not seem to be a problem. We were still running at 8.5 knots and we weren't rolling.

Decisions, decisions. After thinking about it, we decided to skip going to Luperon and the D.R. all together. There is just no possible way they would have parts or people capable of repairing the stabilizers. This means our long cruise without stops just got longer.

We changed directions to a more northwesterly course and then we started rolling. We had to stuff pillows and towels in the galley to keep the dishes and food products from rolling and breaking.

Monday 4/30/07

We are now heading to Sand Cay. It is 1 am and I am on duty till 3 am. This is for the birds getting only about 3 hours sleep at a time, but its a necessity. I sleep on the salon (living room) floor as it is safer than my bunk. I don't feel like being thrown 6 feet to the floor!

Leo decides he needs to bleed the engines. This means letting any trapped air out of them. It also mean shutting one engine off and running on one at a time. It also means you get slightly off course and the chart plotter alarm goes off. It is unnerving at first but I get used to it. Thankfully I won't have to do this on my boat. Newer engines. Whew! I am able to deal with all the alarms going off and get us back on course when the job is done.

It is now 7 am and I am back on duty. There is 96 more miles to go till we can rest. We are still rocking and rolling in 6 foot seas.

Water water everywhere and no land in sight!

Finally at 8 pm that night we arrive at Sand Cay and anchored. Too tired to do much of anything but sleep.

Tuesday May 1, 2007

Got up and made sausage and scrambled eggs and toast for brekkie. Felt good to be "normal" again. Leo was in an all fire hurry to haul anchor and get out of there to our next port. Not until the cook gets her shower I declared.
If the cook ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. It had been days and we were all pretty ripe. Nothing like a menopausal woman/cook to get her way. LOL

Oh oh, problem with the captains head. I don't mean the one attached to his shoulders. Head also means toilet.
Thank goodness it can't back up, but the pump that puts all the nasty stuff in a tank keeps running. That isn't good either as the pump will eventually burn out.

I tell him to just shut that particular switch off and use the other head for the time being. I just wanted to get the heck outta there and into something that resembled civilization.

We made it to what is called "the bank" and had to dodge coral heads. They look like huge black spots in navy blue water. It would not be a good thing to drive ones boat over them. Major damage could occur. Leo gave up after 20 minutes and guess who got to do the dirty work. At least we weren't rocking and rolling anymore.

I'm sorry I don't have pictures in this part of the report, it is very hard to focus when the boat is rocking and rolling and/or you are driving.

Welcome to the Turks and Caicos islands!!! He he he, that is the next installment.


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