Rob recently pointed out that for a sailing blog, I write very little about actually sailing. This is a fair point, but it is true what they say—sailing is boredom punctuated by terror. Most of the time we are just staring off at the vast seas and occasionally trimming the sails. But it doesn’t take much–a rogue wave, a squall, an engine pitch change, a pod of dolphins, a fish on the line—and things get exciting fast.
We knew when we moved on board last January that our transition into a cruising lifestyle would be temporary. The cruising kitty we built up after selling our house in Denver would eventually run dry and we would need to find employment again. I think that knowing this adventure is finite has helped us overlook the negatives (there are a couple) and really appreciate every incredible moment of this journey. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been an adventure and that is exactly what we set out to find when we left the dock last February.
Before starting this adventure, we were a little nervous about sailing with our two pooches. It wasn’t living in a small space or on water that worried us. We knew our pups would adapt to their new home with us by their sides. It was navigating the pet import process in each country that made me uneasy. We researched and worked with our vet prior to setting sail to ensure we had our ducks in a row. We gathered the following paper work:
After 5 months at sea, our first season sailing is winding down. As we finish prepping Kairos for storage on the hard in Puerto Rico, we reflect on all of the gorgeous places we’ve visited. We’ve loved almost all of the 50 plus anchorages that we have visited over the last 150 days. We’ve seen pristine sandy beaches, inviting turquoise water, breathtaking mountains, and lush forests. We’ve met some crazy cruisers and some incredibly sweet locals. We’ve hiked, swam, fished, lobstered, and snorkeled our hearts out. We’ve experienced a lot, but for one reason or another these locations stand out as our top five favorite anchorages. They are listed below in chronological order.
In order to travel from Luperon to Puerto Rico, we had to cross 300 miles of some of the most grueling and unforgiving seas. It’s the thorniest part of The Thorny Path to Windward. Bruce Van Sant provides excellent instructions on how to sail these waters under prevailing conditions. However, we decided to wait for weather windows with light winds and motor sail across as quickly as we could. We broke the journey up into two long overnight passages.
Our scariest experience to date occurred during our time in the Dominican Republic. It wasn’t an ocean passage or a building squall we braved. The dangerous experience that we conquered was riding motorcycles through the Dominican Republic. Most Dominicans get around via motorcycles. It’s normal to see a family of five on a single bike or someone hauling two dead goats. The street conditions are poor with the roads covered in pot holes. Motorcyclists fail to obey elementary road regulations and pass on the left, the right, and sometimes side by side with two other vehicles. To complicate things more, stray dogs and livestock wonder into the streets. All of this combined creates a chaotic obstacle course that’s exciting to navigate.
We absolutely loved Luperon, but for very different reasons than the Bahamas. In fact, the two couldn’t be more different. The Bahamas had stunning beaches, turquoise clear water, and isolation. Luperon’s water was filthy, but the green country side was magnificent, the town was lively, the food was delicious and inexpensive, and it was full of puppies. Here’s a rundown of our time in Luperon: the grime, the beauty, the culture.