26 March, 2013

Casa del Campo Dominican Republic

Malua is at 18:24.06N 68:54.23W at Casa del Campo Marina on 24/03/2013.
I left Puerto Rico in the dark at midnight. The moon was up but there was no wind. One sets off watching the chart plotter and the depth below the keel. The reef here is more than five miles off the coast so the town lights are just dropping behind the horizon and you or still in less than 15 m of water. When you are finally outside the reef the water drops off to more than 1 km deep.
I motored all night with less than 5 knots of wind. The going was slow because there seemed to be a current against me. By 8:00 am I was abeam of Mona Island and the slight current was with me. At this rate I would reach the DR well after dark at about 10:00 pm. Not a good time to make landfall.
I had selected a beach to the east of the SE cape which has a large island Saona Island. One can tuck in on the entrance to the channel but there is an uncharted sand bar so I chose to go further NW to a beach of Las Palmillas.
It was now getting dark quickly as I motored along the shore looking for the beach. I could still see a few boats at anchor but the seemed very close to the beach. Just then a large game fishing boat appeared and followed me in. I slowed to a snails pace and he passed so I was able to follow him. At one point he must have gone into shallow water because he backed out and took a different route. Finally dropping his anchor. I stood of a good distance and dropped the hook in 1 m under the keel but still a fair way from the shore. A save anchorage and a good sleep after 18 hours and just over 100 nm covered.
Up the next day to Casa del Campo to check in. I called the marina who said come in and tie up at W dock right at the entrance. There were more than enough people to help but the dock was at station level and the surge rolled Malua, luckily the wind blew us off.
Please wait for the authorities who arrived within an hour - all seven of them. Each came on board and went down below. Very polite with just the Customs lady able to speak any English. It seems as if every one filled a different form but with the same information. I was finally presented with a form and a bill.. 93 us dollars plus tips which I gave them 30 to share.
Off to the marina office to find a berth. Sorry we are full it is the start of the fishing season. Frankly a Greek port captain could have got at least 50 more boats. They suggested I anchor just inside the entrance which I did.
Casa del Campo is the larges marina development complex I have ever seen. It has three competition golf courses with its own international airport which I understand has Tiger Woods jet at the moment. There is a tournament in a few days. The development has been carved out of the cane field and has been in existence for more than 30 years. The houses along the sea and links are the largest I have ever seen including a red ferrarie. Most people use golf carts - super size to get around.
I set off to walk to the exit and into the local town of LA Romans. A bus from thedeveloment stopped to give me a lift a fellow befriended me and asked wat I wanted to do. We got off and approached the exit security but they would not let me out without a pass. OK get back on the bus and go to the main entrance and wait. I did and sure enough there the fellow was on his scooter. Hop on the back and off we go. We stop at a taxi rank and he negotiates a rate for me to be shown around Romans and return me to the marina for 20 us dollars.
Being Sunday the shops are closed but the people were out in front of their houses and in the parks. The younger generation were at the discos and bars. Just like any other disco,with the bouncer outside with a bevy of good looking girls hanging around. My driver took me to see the towns highlights as well as the back streets of the town. It is very rundown, poor and need a good coat of paint. Don't walk these streets if you are white and not at night. I was very lucky to see this side of the town. We then returned to Cascade Campo the complete reverse of the local town. I checked the prices of the real estate. The place on the sea front is only 20 mil US and a modest 6 bedroom place with pool only 1.45 mil US.
I dropped in to the restaurant area to see if I would have dinner. Sorry we are full you should make a reservation for tomorrow. OK Malua will offer pork chops on an orange sauce. Just right.
I checked out the next day and got my Despacho without trouble or a tip.
A magical moment on Malua.

Sent from my ASUS Pad

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