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Published: April 1st 2012
Jimmy cavorting with the pigs.
Wow, winter has come and gone and now it is almost Easter. My, how time flies! We spent the winter months in the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. Christmas in George Town in the Bahamas was a first for us. I believe someone reported there were 150 boats in Elizabeth Harbour during the holidays. We spent Christmas and New Years there meeting up with old friends and making new friends before heading south. Winds in the Bahamas can be quite blustery in the winter months so I can't say that I enjoyed the trip south very much.
We breezed through the Turks and Caicos only spending one night there before setting out for the Dominican Republic (the DR). We had bypassed the DR on our trip north to the Bahamas in 2009 so we decided we should stop there this time since we were going to be so close. The DR possesses great physical beauty with high mountains, a lush landscape, and a rugged coastline. One of the highlights of our trip was the excursion to the Rio Damajagua waterfalls. There are 27 of these natural waterslides or chutes and young and old alike pony up to jump or
Rio Damajagua waterfalls
Jimmy riding down the chute
ride down the falls. Had I known ahead of time what was involved I would not have gone because I am basically a chicken. Someone told me beforehand that I could bypass a waterfall if I was afraid to jump it or ride down it. They lied. It was way too dangerous to try to climb down the side of any of these falls so the least dangerous alternative was just to go down the way everyone else was going. We had strong guides that helped us, encouraged us, and when necessary bullied us. I am glad that I did it, but believe me when we reached the end of the falls I was delighted that it was over.
Our trip from the DR to Jamaica took three days and 2 nights. The last time we sailed through this passage we sailed closer to the Cuban coast meeting up with the Cuban Coast Guard as they patrolled the 12 mile perimeter of Cuba. This time we sailed closer to Haiti and met up with two US Coast Guard boats and a USCG helicopter who swooped down I suppose to see the name of our boat on our transom.
Getting up the nerve to go down the waterfall
It was nice to at least know there were other souls around.
This time we spent much more time in Jamaica than we did in 2009. We anchored at Port Antonio in front of the Errol Flynn Marina (named after the film star who used to frequent these parts). Port Antonio is a crossroads for cruising boats with most stopping here en route to Panama, others using it as a stopover to or from Cuba, and then a few like us heading west toward the Cayman Islands and the Northwest Caribbean. We traveled the north coast of Jamaica and spent a few weeks in Montego Bay anchored in front of the wonderful Montego Bay Yacht Club facility
In almost five years of cruising we have never had a repair that either Jimmy or a local mechanic couldn't fix, but the big one finally happened to us. We developed problems with our port saildrive while we were enroute to Jamaica. Jimmy was unable to repair it so we hired a local diesel mechanic in Port Antonio who made the problem worse. After a couple of weeks of trying to figure it out, Jimmy decided to fly in an expert Volvo Penta mechanic from Annapolis, MD to Montego Bay to fix the problem. Fortunately he was able to fix all the problems with the saildrive and got us moving again. It was quite distressing to have a complicated boat problem and not be able to repair it right away but in the end it all worked out OK.
We just arrived in the Cayman Islands a few days ago. We plan to spend about a month here before sailing to the Bay Islands of Honduras and then to the Rio Dulce of Guatemala for hurricane season.
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