Friday, July 5, 2013

Luperon run

Over 80 hours of flights, five airplanes and many hours without sleep was the price to pay to see our sailboat before completing the transaction. After all contacts, the inspection and first deposit, it was time to book a ticket. Since the rest of the family could not go, just me (João) went to the Dominican Republic, leaving NaE, with Noël and Maria, with little more than a month, waiting for news.
Hong Kong to Narita and Newark
The first flight was on 13rd of February 2013, to Narita, Tokyo, from here to Newark, USA, where I would be almost 24 hours waiting to catch another flight that would take me to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. A new adventure that, somehow, gave me some anxiety. Besides never having traveled to the Americas, there were still a lot uncertainty about the country and the first reactions seeing the boat in person. After the airplane adventure I arrived in the Dominican Republic at lunch time and it was time to try to find a way to get to the hotel. An hotel, like many others in this country, with all inclusive. The taxi ride from the airport to Puerto Plata Village, just over five kilometers, must have been the most expensive taxi ride of my life, confirming that transports in the Dominican Republic are really expensive. Due to high fuel prices, according to I learned days later. Already installed in the hotel, it was time to try to find a way of transportation to Luperon, about 100 km away! Many “talks” with the hotel staff and with some research done on the internet, I decided to rent a car for the modest sum of $ 70 per day! A Kia Sportage that had seen better days but kept working during my stay, never having left me down! On the arrival, on top of being very tired, I had no means of transportation, so I chose to stay at the hotel. The next day at lunch, still sleeping since the time difference was 12 hours (!), literally on the other side of the world, I went to see the car, do the paperwork and move on. Around three o'clock in the afternoon I was already driving towards Luperon in traffic only comparable to China! Rules? For what?
After arriving in Luperon, and determined to find Marina Tropical by my own means, I had to ask twice information but, against all odds, I finally get there without major problems. Having, in the end, saying thanks to God for having rented an all-terrain because the access was a dirt road and it had rained recently.
Our boat on arrival
Already at the marina, one of the employees (Amauri his name) received me with the usual hospitality of the people of this island. Showed me my boat and told me to be at ease that the manager would arrive shortly. The first look of the "Carry Okies" was positive, with the hull repainted and looking good, I decided to go inside to see how it was. First inspection done was time to go greet Sergey, the manager, who has proved to be a great friend. After that went to eat something because it was getting late. During the late lunch, where I was served "La Bandera" (how the Dominicans call a normal meal that consists of meat, rice and beans, images that are part of their national flag!), I called the seller, who end up living nearby and arranged to meet him the next day when I return to Luperon in the morning (if you are looking for a sailboat, I would strongly recommend that you contact Gil McWhirter of Luperon Yachts and Property Sales, a kind and exceptional professional). On the same day, at night, I decided to meet the person responsible for survey of the boat, and had dinner in his restaurant in Sosua. Couldn’t ask to be better welcomed, even refusing the payment for my dinner and drinks (if you need a surveyor in the Dominican Republic or a place to eat and drink, Britannia Pub and Ray Quenville of SeaMonkey Marine Surveys is the contact person).
Britannia pub in Sosua
Returning  to Marina Tropical, it was time to plan what to do, and asked for help from Amauri to advise me two workers to help me in the arduous task of removing everything from inside the boat, cleaning, waxing and putting it back before having to return to Asia on 23rd.
Part of the stuff inside the sailing boat
Five days of intense work, from 8 AM until almost night time, to remove all the stuff in the interior of the boat, cleaning, washing, and after all chosen to put it back inside again. Little by little, everything was clean and with the help of two workers of the marina, I was able to finish the task on the last day, having in between made a trip to Santiago de los Caballeros (the second largest city after the capital) to try to find boxes to pack all that was to keep in the boat.
Floor boards clean and waxed
I left the Dominican Republic on the 24th bound to Newark, and in the next day to Hong Kong, this time without a stopover in Tokyo. It was a complete around the world trip in just over a week!
Newark to Hong Kong, closing the circle!


I love the way this adventure is starting. Can't wait till your boat is in the water and you get to live your dream!

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