After 7 months of staying in Luperon in the Dominican Republic to wait for the next weather window and to fix our stuff in the sailboat, we are finally ready to continue to cross the sailing trip via the Mona Passage. First things first though, we need to sail to Samana in the NorthEastern part of the Dominican Republic which will be our stop to as we wait for another weather window.
Before leaving, we went to the Immigration and to the Navy Office to get our exit documents (despacho) and everything went on smoothly. We left last Monday for a 24-hour trip and as expected, we experienced some misadventures along the way-- our mainsail was torn into half at 3 AM, we moved a lot slower since the boat is much heavier now because of our dinghy, engine, and the new aluminum hardtop, and there were plenty of fish nets that we needed to avoid at one point.
Nevertheless, we made it to our 1st stop at an anchorage in Playa El Valle where we had to rest for a couple of hours and then we continued sailing to Samana. We were so happy we made it! This had been our longest overnight non-stop passage with just the motor. That was approximately 116 nm + 30 nm with just a few hours of anchor! YAY! I am so happy we got this far and we got here safe.
HOW WE DOCK OUR SAILBOAT WHENEVER WE ARRIVE IN A NEW DESTINATION
You might be wondering how we “park” our sailboat whenever we get to a new destination. Unlike backpacking where we can just book a flight and eventually just go with the flow, sailing is very technical. Prior to leaving, we need to check if all our sailing equipment is intact and is working well. We do a lot of planning and research from the area, the route as well as the weather. We need to weigh our docking options too. To give you an idea, here are some of our options:
1. Anchor in a bay or on a beach (as long as the depth is more than 10 feet)- This can be done if permitted and is often for free. YAY! The downside is we need to have enough electricity, water, etc. on-board and we have to drive our dinghy (small rubber boat) to go to land for anything we’ll ever need.
2. Use a mooring ball- A mooring ball is a ‘more permanent way’ of anchoring since this ball is connected to a large and permanent anchor on the seabed. This is what we did in Luperon for 7 months and we didn’t have any problem at all.
3. Dock in a Marina or a Yacht Club- This is the most convenient option as you can have access to their facilities but of course, you have to pay more for such convenience. Fees usually depend on the size of the boat and could really be expensive especially when you’re staying for a long period of time and when you have a multi-hull power boat. We docked in a Marina in Turks & Caicos and the fee is $2 to $4 per feet.
PUERTO BAHIA : THE PERFECT PLACE TO DOCK WHILE IN SAMANA
Since we (together with our buddy boats) were all so tired after more than 24 hours of sailing, we decided to dock in a Marina this time. After some deliberations, we ended up in this beautiful marina called the Puerto Bahia Samana and we absolutely adore being here! Here’s why we ended up staying in this luxurious and full-service marina instead of just docking somewhere or using our mooring ball :)
1. It is cheap- Compared to other marinas where we stayed in, they only charge $1 per feet for a monohull like our 37 ft. S/V Empress. That’s just $37/day plus $1 for water charges (and 18% taxes). That’s very cheap for a luxurious marina like this!
2. They have very good facilities- After being literally out on the ocean for more than 24 hours, we all deserve a warm bath. Not only did they provide us warm and comfortable showers, but we also had an access to their free car service to the main road, toilettes, restaurant, bars, billiard and tv room, as well as a fitness gym where we had our daily HIIT workout! They also have a fueling pier, free internet access, a water taxi, laundry services, hotel rooms, mini-market, parking, spa and beauty salon, and garbage pick-up.
3. They have 2 Infinity Pools- The moment we reached the harbour, all of of us took a quick shower and jumped to the pool which overlooks the beautiful ocean and our sailboats. After not having a proper bath for a day, I swear you’d do the same if you were in our place. Haha! This is certainly one of this property’s best assets!
4. They have a 24-hour security- We always put our cats in the cage whenever we go out for them not to get lost or anything. This time, they were out the whole day, thanks to the 24-hour security! We just told them that we have cats on board and they were more than happy to watch over them and make sure they don’t go out of the sailboat while we’re away! :)
5. It’s a pet-friendly property!!- I know a lot of sailors who have pets and sometimes, it could be heartbreaking to leave them alone in the sailboat for a long time when we need to do things on land. Let me tell you now that this is the perfect marina for you and your fur babies. They love pets here and you can even take them inside the marina premises for a walk.
6. Checking In and Out of the Dominican Republic is easy! - The marina has a one-stop room for the immigration, Navy officer and the customs so it’s so easy to get the proper documentation processed esp when you need the “despacho” (the exit permit) to be processed during late hours or the weekend. They are always open or just a quick call away!
7. They make delicious cocktails- Need I say more? :p
FAQS ABOUT MARINA PUERTO BAHIA in SAMANA
1) How much do they charge for the electricity?
$.45 per kWh.
2) How much do they charge for garbage collection?
It’s only $1.50 per bag.
3) Are there any other Government Fees that we need to pay?
Yes. For the Immigration, it is $70/vessel and $12/passenger. The Tourist Card is $10/passenger.
4) Are tax included in the rates?
It is not yet included. Tax is at 18%.
5) What are the documents that I need to present arrival?
You need to present your Vessel Registration, Insurance Policy, as well as your Navigation License.
6) Is there a boat ramp?
7) How much does the fuel cost?
They charge it at the fair market price so don’t worry :p
8) Is there an anchorage?
None in the area but there is one just nearby in Samana town. You’d just need to ask for permission when you arrive in town. The anchorage is not protected for the wind of any swell.
9) Can I purchase ice in the property?
Sure! You can even have some cocktails to go with it :p
10) What are the Marina rates for 2019?
Dry dock is at $5 per day. Note that this is always subject to change so please contact them beforehand to know if there are any changes.
11) How much is the cost to use the laundry and dryer machine?
It’s $3 per load.
12) How easy it is to go to Samana town for provisioning?
Since the property is out of the main road, the Marina/ Hotel will be providing you a free shuttle service to the main road where you can catch a taxi or “gua-gua” (this is what they call the shared van) and you’d only pay 25 pesos (.50 cents) for a one-way ride to town where you can easily provision.
13) Do they have hot shower facilities?
Yes and they are free to access.
14) Can you easily provision in Samana town?
Yes, they have a wholesale store where you can buy your beers. A fresh food market for veggies, fruits and meat. They also have a small grocery store for other supplies like canned goods & cleaning products. The town also has a store for your mechanical needs.
If you couldn’t find the right people or store, the Puerto Bahia Marina could arrange everything for you. They are really helpful, esp Gavin, the Harbour Master!
For more details, contact them at:
Puerto Bahia Samana
Cellphone: +1 (809) 8019756
Telephone: +1 (809) 5036363
LOVELY THINGS YOU CAN DO IN SAMANA
While waiting for the next weather window, why don’t you go out and explore this exquisite province? We’ve been here twice already and here are some things you can do around the area.
1. Go Humpback Whale watching- Did you know that during the months of January-March, more or less 2,500 Humpback Whales come to Samana to mate and birth?? I bet it’s a glorious thing to see I suggest you plan your trip ahead during these months. This isn’t something you’ll see everywhere and even if you find them somewhere else, I bet it’s gonna cost you more (the Dominican Republic is very cheap!).
2. Have an Ecological Tour at the Los Haitises National Park- One of the most beautiful spots in Samana is this 618 square mile National Park boasting with magnificent rock formations, series of caves, a huge area covered with mangroves, and is home to multiple bird colonies. No wonder this has been chosen as one of the filming locations for Jurassic Park. It is magnificent!!
3. Go to El Limon Waterfalls- This is one of the most popular Waterfalls in the Dominican Republic and it’s popular for a reason so see it for yourself. The best way to reach it is by riding a horse!
4. Go to the beach- Samana prides itself with its secluded and almost untouched beaches. You’ll never run out of options here. There’s Playa Las Ballenas where you’ll find some entertainment and restaurants serving fresh catch along the shore, Playa Bonita which is perfect for kitesurfing and surfing and is considered as the best beach in Las Terrenas, and Playa Rincon which is known for its towering cliff and perfect snorkeling site.
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