It’s amazing how drastically the demographic of cruisers can change between leaving the Bahamas and arriving to the Dominican Republic.
Cruisers who’ve sailed beyond George Town (aka “Chicken Harbor”) told us this would happen but, even still, we were surprised when we arrived to Luperon to find a harbor full of sailors in their twenties and thirties on small, barely-held-together boats who were willing to go anywhere so long as there was the promise of adventure.
To name a few of the characters we met, there was Ben, Nacho and Kavour, three young guys on a mission to get Ben some boat-delivery experience by sailing a beautiful, yet slowly unraveling, double-ender called Skookum from Florida to St. Thomas free-of-charge, where its owner awaited their arrival…which never came to pass after Skookum limped into Luperon with a rotten-through bowsprit and some structural problems, essentially ending their journey in Luperon.
And there was Alex from Maryland, whose boat had gotten washed off its mooring in Florida several months earlier. When it came to rest on a private dock, the dock owner contacted Alex to claim salvage for the boat. But since the rules of salvage state that a claim can be made for either money or the boat, Alex told the dock owner to keep the boat, and figured he’d washed his hands of the problem. That is, until the local environmental protection agency got in touch and informed Alex that since the owner wanted money, and not the boat, he’d have to come to Florida and deal with the boat.
So Alex quit his job in California and flew to Florida to examine his damaged boat, which turned out, surprisingly, to still be seaworthy. Which prompted Alex to say “What the hell,” board his boat, and sail it south until he reached Luperon, where we met him long after he’d lost his engine.
And, of course, we can’t forget our buddy boat Senara, home to our friend Morgan, a film-set designer from Paris who sailed alongside us all the way from the Bahamas to the D.R.
What do all these characters have in common?
For starters, we all met in Luperon in Wendy’s Bar and agreed to cram ourselves into a taxi one day so we could go out and explore the nearby 27 Charcos, which could be loosely translated as “27 Puddles,” but are probably better described as 27 rivers, rock slides, waterfalls, and cliffs, naturally formed in a rural, Dominican area called Damajagua.
And being excited to meet each other in this unique corner of the world, the motley crew we formed on a day’s outing from Luperon also pub-crawled our way back to town and finished the night with a nine-person party on Hideaway.
And, yes, it is true that we set off for the 27 Charcos in Damajagua with six crazy cruisers in our pack. But we returned to Luperon with nine crazy characters, having picked up a few more on the way.
After all, travel brings you to the world’s most interesting places. But it’s the people you meet that make those places truly memorable.