Finally on March 13th we left the busy Caribbean side departing from Guadalupe after a two day stay which purpose was to provision, do major cleaning, and fill up H2O and diesel. Initially our intention was to cross directlly to Ille a Vache but instead, after 4 days at sea and a few nights of light/uncomfortable sleep we decided to do a quick rest stop at Isla Beata (National Park) which is located on the furthest south cape of the Dominican Republic - as suggested by Andrea from Maistrac.
A few had suggested this stop as a good place to rest but they hadn't mentiones its peaceful beauty which can actually classify it as "Paradise" in the Dominican Republic, later on, while speaking with the local fisherman we came to know that even for them Isla Beata is considered paradise, a place where there are little problems compared to the main island and where everything is reduced to the minimum...sort of like a sailing boat.
Immidiately we fell in love with its crystal clear water - seen last in Tobago Cays, fine white sandy beaches and las but not least, 3 fishermen's companies where one could buy fresh fish and lobster at local price. The great thing about the island, as informed by the military marina is that due to common drug trafficking in the area, fishermen are not alloed to approach ones boat unless suggested otherwise; this meant peace at last, no one knocking unexpectedly while eating lunch or taking a nap...the little things that make a difference. The local fishermen were very nice, specially oneof the companies run by Don Ramon which was Bernie Mac's double in every aspect and by another man who's name escapes me, but we'll call him Christiano since he was often referred by that name since he did not drink alcohol. Our last day there we organized a BBQ at the beach whith the company mentioned before where I prepared rice, salad and rum punch, and Alberto showed them how to grill lobster and fich - apparently a style completely foreign to them, they normally fry fish or ook it in coconut milk, and the lobster is boiled.
Company "Karina" with Christiano and Pochon
Marina Military playing dominoes
BBQ AT THE BEACH
BBQ with the boys
While returning to the boat after the BBQ we saw a catamaran approaching the anchorage and being that Alberto is very friendly and curious he swam over to say hello, I followed a bit after and met a woman around my age swimming near the catamarn; happy to meet other cruisers, they gladly invited us on board for a beer and to look at their wonderful deck catamaran (a Wharam) called "Two Ticks". Not long after the local Navy arrived and after assisting them with translation we invited Liza and Adrian over to "Tobago" for a pasta diner with local Conch in tomato sauce, they happily accepted. After diner the boys settled on meeting in a couple of days at the next bay called Bahia de las Aguilas. It is always nice to share adventures with other boaters...
BAHIA DE LAS AGUILAS
This anchorage was recommended to us by the local fishermen at Isla Beata, they had suggested stopping there before leavind the Dominican Republic since among them it was considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean due to its length, wilderness and clear water. In fact, in other conditions one could say all of the above except due to local conditions with southerlies during the day the water lost its clearness and the stay was a little rhythmic.
But in the end, as we know "everything happens for a reason", we met two french boats one owned by Yvan and the other by Pierre. Both of them came over to "Tobago" for aperitivo and to gather useful information for their passage from Jamaica to Cuba. The morning after they where heading to Ille a Vache and since we were also making a stop there they invited us for aperitivo ahead of time. It was settled...we had friends awaiting upon our arrival.
The second day at Bahia de las Aguilas was closed with diner on board "Two Ticks". Liza prepared an oven baked yellow dolphin with potatoes, we finished it off with two bottles of chilled wine. We left together on March 2oth us with a few hours ahead of them since their cat needs more wind to sail, giving them heads up via VHF when we were far enough to determine stable wind conditions suitable for them.