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  • Writer's pictureSailing Koinonia

S/V Koinonia Weekly Sailing Log - Leaving Puerto Rico for Ocean World, Puerto Plata, DR (Apr 17th - Apr 23rd, 2024)

Highlights this week: we celebrate Lizzy’s 15th birthday, sail from Puerto Real, Puerto Rico and cross the Mona Passage 240nm to Ocean World, Dominican Republic, clear into the DR, reconnect with cruising friends from our home port in Virginia, spend a day at Ocean World Marine Park, and have to delay our departure to the Bahamas.

Wed Apr 17 - planned to depart in the evening by 6pm; continued monitoring weather and sea state conditions. Kids did school and Ben did some research.  Amber organized cabinets and dry goods. Sadly, the sea state and weather doesn’t look favorable for the crossing, so we made the call to delay our departure to the DR. As a consolation, we ordered take-out from one of our favorite pizza spots in the Caribbean: 9 Barrios.  Ran the AC to cool the boat down since it was a very hot day and there was not much breeze.

Thu Apr 18 - today is Lizzy’s 15th birthday. Started with opening gifts and singing happy birthday. Maddy and Aliza decorated the cabin and Amber baked cinnamon rolls.  The weather forecast looks favorable for a departure today. Contacted Ocean World Marina to inform them of our updated ETA. Played board games and old NES games as a family.  Amber made quesadillas for lunch and Ben made guacamole. Amber baked a pecan pie for Lizzy’s birthday “cake,” at her request.  Got the boat ready to get underway around 5pm. Raised the main and sailed out of the channel with winds 11-13kts.  Cut the motor almost immediately. Amber made ramen for dinner and we watched an amazing sunset as we sailed for Isla Desecheo, before changing course west to cross to the north of Hourglass Shoal.  Amber took the first watch.

Fri Apr 19 - Ben took over the watch around 1:30am. As the sun rose, Ben put the lines out and we caught a small Mahi Mahi on a hand line, which we filleted and vacuum bagged. Fishing was very tough due to a ridiculous amount of sargassum. We sailed most of the day and night, except for a brief period of motor sailing in the morning.  Amber took the first watch around 9pm.

Sat Apr 20 - Ben took watch around 2am. Brief periods of showers around 4am. As the sun rose, we were greeted by a lovely sunrise and rainbow as the clouds began to clear and the north coast of the DR came into view. We remained well offshore until we approached Puerto Plata due to numerous fish traps even in deeper water along the northern coast.  We were forced to drop and furl the sails due to lack of wind and big swells; even motoring proved challenging and hand steering was required to avoid an excessive rolling effect on the boat.  Pulled into Ocean World Marina which has a well marked inlet, with the marina itself surrounded by a break wall.  Burned less than 5 gals of diesel after 240nm. Easy docking on a T-head where we were greeted by the Dockmaster, Eddie, and a helper who both assisted with our lines.  Clearance with customs, immigration, and Armada was painless and professional. Total cost for clearance was $105 US. We moved to a slip, in a very tight space, and secured the boat with extra lines and fenders.  Ben and Amber were both exhausted from the 2 night passage, so they slept for most of the remainder of the day and night.

Sun Apr 21 - simple breakfast, took our laundry to the drop-off facility around 9:30am and it was folded and ready for pickup by 11:30am. Joined our friends Jade and Rob and their daughter Kaleigh, along with a number of other boat couples for lunch at a nearby restaurant called, Charros. They had a very nice pool and deck area onsite where we spent the entire afternoon enjoying good food and drinks and connecting with the local cruising community. The service and food was excellent. Ben caught a taxi ride with a highly regarded cab driver, Youvani, to go to the pharmacy to restock our medical supplies.  He served as a knowledgeable local guide and translator, making sure we did not overpay and got all the items we needed. Returned to the restaurant, paid the cab driver, paid our tab at the restaurant, and retired to the boat for the rest of the evening.

Mon Apr 22 - after breakfast, went to the marina office to pick up our complimentary passes to Ocean World.  This was part of our family birthday celebration for Lizzy. Spent the entire day at the park, starting with Lizzy’s sea lion encounter, then a bird show, then hand feeding the Love Birds, Amber, Maddy, and Aliza’s dolphin encounter, then a buffet lunch, followed by the sea lion show, water slides, and swimming and lounging at the various pools and beach areas. Returned to the marina and ordered dinner from the onsite restaurant and paid $43 US for our meal, desert, and drinks.  Ben changed the pre-filters in the water-maker and flushed the system. Sadly, our hopes of departing for Clarence Town Bahamas tomorrow have been dashed. We made the call to wait here for favorable conditions for the two-day ocean passage.

Tue Apr 23 - breakfast and school.  Kids watched a documentary on Alaska during the lunch hour since we booked an Alaskan cruise in 2025 to celebrate Amber’s parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. Ben started working on prepping to repaint the forward head; cleaned out the aft and forward composting heads.  Paid the insurance premium for the next period on Koinonia.  Amber made butter chicken with basmati rice for dinner.

God Bless

S/V Koinonia


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