Thursday, March 29, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Monday was not enough to get the boat ready to leave and we had to return to the boat yard on Tuesday to check that what we asked for was there (additional fuel tank, oars, etc . . .) and to check that the motor was running fine.
We left on Wednesday morning at 4 with a truck from the yard, towing the boat on a trailer. This trailer was for us a major problem. The yard thought that we could launch the boat and then load the trailer on top of it and sail like that to Jacmel. That trailer is slightly larger than the boat and we could not see that without running the risk of damaging the boat.
But first we had to go through the 7 hours drive to Pedernales from Santo Domingo with Dominican music playing full blast, windows open, and rather chilly wind coming through the windows. Not very comfortable for me, sitting at the back of a double cabin pick up truck in company of the 9.9 spare outboard.
Anway, having left at 4:30, we arrived in Pedernales around 10:30, and we started with good news. Max was able to negotiate with the President of the Fishermen association of Pedernales the transportation of the trailer on another boat that will travel with us.
But first we have to get permission from the Commandante of the "Marina de Guerra" to launch the boat here in Pedernales. We don't want to have to cross the border on land as we don't want to have to deal with immigration on both sides (we never entered Domrep officially) and we certainly don't want to have to deal with Haitian customs.
It took three hours and several hundreds of pesos, but eventually Max went through all that with patience and experience and we were able to launch the boat around 1:30 p.m. and leave for Jacmel in Haiti, with the trailer following us on another boat.
The trip will not be without problems. We don't know the boat and we have had no time at all to test the equipment. The electric connections have to be redone, the bilge pump is running non stop and the GPS quit quitting. Max is very experienced with speed boats, but yet has difficulties balancing the boat properly. At more than 20 knots, the boat is slapping the sea very hard. Not comfortable even if it is not a major problem.
We arrived in Jacmel before sunset and the vehicle from IZ is also there. Unfortunately and after market fender at the back makes the towing ball out of reach. They had to go and look for a local "boss" to cut the fender loose. Also the driver is not too familiar with towing and even less backing a trailer into the water and we have to make do with what we can. We end up with the boat off center and listing a good 30 degrees. The argentine military staff who have a small base in Jacmel where we got in will help us put the boat back properly on the trailer and as night falls we are on our way to Grand Goave where we will arrive with a heavy downpour, welcome as it will rinse the boat properly.
This concludes the delivery of the 22 footer from DomRep and Max can be proud to have successfully and without a hitch completed the mission.
It's now back to the all too familiar Haitian problems.
Monday, March 12, 2012
a hard time going back to sleep. So at 4, I went in for breakfast and we left at 4:30 next morning. Got to Port au Prince very early, in time for juice and chocolate croissants, then Villa Creole in Petionville to board the vehicle that would take us to DomRep
with the dinghy and motor recovered from Anse d'Hainaut.
Following a dispute betw
een truck drivers, the main border crossing had been closed now for almost 10 days and many hundred of trucks are stranded there. So, our guide and driver Berthold, who is the boss of the largest german Non Government Organization in Haiti, took us through a secondary crossing with very little traffic since the road is only a lousy dirt road. The crossing was done with no more than a friendly waving of the hand and no stopping of the car, at bo
th the Haitian border cr
ossing post. At the Dominican border post, the agents were too busy on their computers and we left w
ithout checking in. That suits me fine. My passport is full, except for a half page that I want to keep as I will need it to go in and out of the Bahamas.
Eventually, we got to Santo Domingo at 5 p.m. local time and Max was able to find for us a nice local hotel at 32 dollars a night in the colonial zone. We thehen had drinks with Berthold and his charming wife Valerie, before going for dinner at the Mercure Hotel.
Next morning, after breakfast in a cafe near the hotel, we left with Berthold and Valerie for Boca Chica to return the motor and the dinghy to their owners. Got there at 11:30, spent a little time on their boat, then had lunch at the marina.
During lunch, we met with a member of a group of 4 Norwegian on a sailboat, doing circus performances and music, and I took the opportunity to talk to them about the Festival of the Sea and invite them to go there and maybe perf
orm there. We also talked Georg into leaving his boat in Grand Goave while he goes to Germany for three months.
This is very positive and hopeful, but it also stresses the urgency of having formalities and moorings in place a.s.a.p.
We then drove back to Santo Domingo, went for dinner to a local restaurant "El Meson", serving good food local and international, and back to the hotel for the night.
Max had received informations from Grand Goave that Papy Jovial had broken her mooring line, that the boat was now tied up behind the fishing boat that is anchored in front of Michel Simon's house, and that efforts were under way to recover the lost anchor and chain, set up the second mooring line, etc. . . . A little stressful and a guaranteed bad night, but
apart from providing advice on finding stuff on the boat,
nothing I can do. Just keep my fingers crossed.
Monday will be devoted by Max to run some errands about his boat building business in Grand Goave, then we will take care of the boat that we will take back to haiti hopefully on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Meanwhile, we still hear about crisis at the border and the usual ongoing political crisis in Haiti. With so much negative energy going on in the political circles that one wonders if it will ever be possible to make progress with this kind of atmosphere.
Nothing I can do about that, so the best possible reaction is to not worry and carry on as best I can.