Sunday 5 May, Dom Rep day 12: 70nm sail to Sosua Bay.
No wind this morning. But this is normal, it is forecast to pick up, as usually, by 10am. By 9:30 we have the pole rigged on the starboard side and then pull the anchor and motor back out through the reefs. Even with the sun behind us we still struggle to see the shallows due to confusing cloud shadows. But slowly and carefully, after almost a mile offshore, the depth creeps passed the 10m mark and we feel safe.
But by 11am still no sign of wind. It sits at 4-5kts only, so the engine stays on. Finally, at midday the easterly wind suddenly kicks in at 17-18kts. Lovely. And very soon we have genoa poled out to starboard and main to port and we are doing 7-8kts. The mountains in the center of Dominican Republic create a big wind acceleration zone in this part of the island, starting at the first headland we go around, Cabo Tres Amarras.
Within one hour the wind is up above 20kts and likely to get a lot higher. So while we are happily creaming along at 9-10 kts under full sail, we will be pushing too hard if the wind comes up any more. And as the genoa is slightly in the wind shadow of the main it occasionally collapses and refills with a mighty thump that shakes the whole rig and genoa track. So we furl the main away and run with genoa only. This lets the genoa fill properly and continually, giving a much smoother feel to the ride. And of course, as soon as we do that the wind drops to 16-17kts!
But thankfully not for long, and soon it’s back to 22-23 and increasing. And our speed is back up to 8knts. After another hour we are truly in the wind acceleration zone and it’s a steady 26kts, gusting 30kts, and the waves are now up to 3m. Cloudy Bay is on a sleigh ride down the wave slopes. I do believe we were actually surfing… and with genoa only! This is all good because it now looks like we will arrive before dark. We had expected to be searching for a mooring shortly after sunset.
Just before we turn the corner to the shelter of Sosua, we pass Cabarete. This was where I learned to kiteboard 12 years ago. It was a Mecca first for windsurfing and now kiting too. As we pass 1 mile offshore we can see tens of kites dipping and diving and also the flash of light from windsurfer sails.
Our chart shows an anchorage behind a reef in Cabarete Bay. But like Las Terrenas, the depths are uncharted. We take a look with the binoculars as we pass but there is no sign of any boats or yachts anchored in there. And in any case, it would be madness trying to navigate through the reefs and shallows, by sight only, with this wind and sea state. So we continue our sleigh ride passed it. We will come visit by car… with the kiting gear in the back!
As we round in behind Sosua the waves die down and the wind abates a little, though it is now extremely gusty. We can see several local motor boats moored in the bay. Our pilot book tells us not to anchor in the bay as it is all reef and protected area. We have to take a mooring buoy. There are several just outside the bay, in 40m (!) of water. We try to pick up one but the warp must be 100mm diameter and Oana cannot physically lift it! You could moor a battleship on that! Eventually a local boat points us to another mooring, which might still take a small destroyer, and at least Oana can lift the lines on this one.
Once we are settled, the sun is just dipping into the grey horizon and we pray no one will come and claim this mooring after dark. As we while away the evening on board, a series of day-tripper boats come back to the other moorings around us. Each has their array of party people on board and all are blaring horrible music. How can anyone actually enjoy this sound, not to mention the rather disgusting lyrics. It seems all “modern” black music lyrics focus solely on various ways to have rough sex! What an utter rubbish. And to think I used to be of the opinion 90s music was crap compared to the 80s and 70s. OK , so I’m just a miserable old git now 🙂
Anyway, it’s Sunday evening so gradually they all shut down and go ashore leaving us in peace for the reminder of the evening.
Tomorrow we head the last 12nm west to Ocean World Marina from where we will do our last bit of DR exploring before we head to Turks and Caicos.