Monday, February 11, 2013

Arriving in the Dominican Republic

We left Sandy Cay in the Turks and Caicos right after noon - weather report says 10-15 knots of wind, 5' seas, sounded good. Reality is another story altogether - 20-25 knots of wind, and over 8' seas. We were making good time with double reefed main and tiny part of the jib, about 5-6 knots.

 At over 30 miles out, I was off watch, trying to nap in these lumpy seas and smelled electrical wires burning. Of course, my first thought was that we were hours from land in any direction and the water was VERY deep where we were – all in a flash. I kept sniffing, trying to locate the source of the smell – of course it was in the engine area. I finally located the general area and called my partner down to investigate further while I went up on deck to be sure everything was OK.

The problem turned out to be a faulty monitor that was supposed to check for fumes in the bilge area. Luckily, it wasn’t something critically important and since I couldn’t sleep, it was found right away when the problem happened.

I was sitting at the wheel when my partner came up to the cockpit to tell me what it was and that it could remain disconnected until it could be fixed. As the nervousness left my body and I relaxed, I realized I could actually smell land. It smelled distinctly like rich garden soil, green growing things, very lush vegetation smell. We had heard and read that this would be noticed, but I didn’t realize how powerful the smell would be. Possibly it smelled even better after the scare we’d had.

By dawn, we were only about 5-6 miles out, and in the distance we were seeing very high hills, then more mountains in the background. The smell of land was definitely more noticeable.

So much of a change from the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos - what a nice difference in its own way. We found our way into Luperon harbor with no problem and went into the inner harbor and anchored. The hills all around the anchorage were lush green vegetation, palm trees on the tops of hills, so very different from Florida and the Bahamas. 

Such a great landfall, a new island, new country, new day and so different!   So happy to have arrived safely.

Betty Karl

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