>> Monday, November 15, 2010
The market place in Samana is important to many natives of the town. Before we headed to the beach, we stopped by the market to buy fresh fruit. Between the natives not speaking much English and not remembering the exchange rate, our attempts to buy a pineapple were quite interesting. Even though I’ve taken Spanish throughout my Proctor education, the moment I tried to ask simple questions my mind went blank. Jessy Lee was able to barter with someone to get a pineapple for twenty pesos. After the market, we headed to Playa Rincon for a relaxing day at the beach.
In the transit from Samana to Virgin Gorda (we skipped St. Eustatius), many events occurred such as Halloween (I dressed as a giraffe), being splashed with waves, and seeing diverse sea life. Nothing can compare to Trifecta Vomiting. Yes. All I tried to do was comfort Janelle as she vomited for the first time on the entire trip, and then with one fateful turn to the right I saw Hannah More puking. That was it. I rushed to the side and before I knew it the contents of the food I had eaten only seven minutes before were flying into the water, bringing my vomit count to number 18. Trifecta vomiting – what a time. Eating saltines with Janelle and Hannah afterwards wasn’t bad either.
The DR was an interesting place. It’s very pretty and Samana was beautiful, but it’s a country with an abundance of poverty. The men liked the blonde girls in our group. I loved how every day we went to the same ice cream place. I got crème de naranja (orange cream). It was so milky and good! It was needed for the hot Caribbean days. We went hiking inland and it was cool to see all the palm trees. I’ve never seen so many palm trees in one area. We went swimming in a waterfall and it was really cool. I’m so glad I was taught Spanish before going to the DR! A lot of the French students were lost in translation and were very confused the whole time we were there.
I was so excited when I saw land the day we arrived at the D.R. Once on shore, I laid in the grass and just released all the tension in my body. It was as if we had entered a new world. There were noises that I had not heard in so long: cars, motorcycles, birds, dogs, and other people. Samana is very different from New England, and it was nice to see something different after so long of the same. My favorite part was the waterfall and the local style food we got afterwards. I also enjoyed driving around on the rollercoaster trucks.
When we first sighted land we seemed like savages, almost animalistic – thirsty for the first step ashore. We wandered through the streets of Samana, flustered by the hustle and bustle of the racing streets. Cars and motorcycles whipped by as we desperately searched for a cold beverage to cool our exhausted faces. We visited a waterfall, climbed through dark, ominous caves, ate lots of ice cream, visited a famous beach, and struggled to communicate with the Spanish-speaking natives. At night we returned to the ship and soon set a course for Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
In the Dominican Republic, we anchored in the harbor of Samana. It was cool to see tarpons jumping for their food next to the boat. We visited a school and the kids were cool. The jungle with the waterfall was sweet, but I wasn’t sad to leave for the BVIs.
The Dominican Republic looked amazing as we approached it from outside the bay. You could smell and see every single palm tree on the Atlantic side of the island. It was a great accomplishment. It wasn’t like the smell of arriving at a resort, but something not many people will experience. It was the smell of pure nature and nothing else. Playa Rincon had the coolest freshwater river flowing into the ocean. The sand was fine and the water was light blue, pumping cool water into the warm ocean. These bodies of water made the swimming perfect.
After arriving at the Dominican Republic we were beyond ready to get on land. When you are sailing for days you realize how much you take for granted certain things like cold milk or ice. One of the first things my watch did when we arrived on land was get ice cream. Frozen dairy product has never tasted so good!
Visiting Samana was a completely different experience than I have had ever had. The right people were friendly and we never crossed paths with the wrong. The coca-cola was addicting. Practicing our Spanish was something we’ll look back at and laugh about. It was fun.
When we sailed into the Dominica Republic and it felt like a huge burden had been lifted. The sun was shining and the rain pouring…Welcome to the tropics. While on land we took a van that looked like it was fit for a Safari to the waterfall Cascada de Limon. It was amazing to see the Dominican lifestyle and culture along the way. There were houses half built, stray dogs running about, barbed wire along schools, and crazy driving by the locals. Overall Samana was a beautiful port that I hope to explore even more in the future.
My favorite part about the Dominican Republic was the bus ride to the Limon waterfall. It was an open bus as we sped down dirt streets weaving around motorcycles and dogs lying in the street. The scenery was amazing. Lush green forests of coconut palms spread across big rolling mountains.
I never thought I would be able to say, “I sailed to another country.” We crossed about 1000 miles of open ocean to land in a whole new place, culture, land. As we sailed in with the sunrise, the lush, green palm covered mountains stood out against the blue sky. It seemed that the multitudes of rainbows were welcoming us to Samana in the Dominican Republic. We anchored in the harbor, on one side stood a small chain of islands, on the other was the city. We were ferried in to explore, hike, eat, visit the locals, and immerse ourselves in the culture of the Dominican Republic. We visited the local market and bartered for fruit. We saw local students at a high school, we trekked out to a waterfall, and made our way to a white sand, blue water beach. Samana was vibrant, full of life, and we could have spent many more days exploring the city.
Coming into the port of the DR was amazing after 11 days in the open sea. The looming hills that fell away exposed layers of ancient rocks. Everything was so green and the weather changed fast. It would be sunny and rainbows would be in the sky. Then you would see a sheet of rain coming. It would hit you and you would be soaked. When we finally went ashore the first things I saw were cliché tourists and motorcycles. Here was a functioning, working city amid tourists. All I could thin about was how we were being perceived. At first it was overwhelming. As time went on we met some really nice people, including the instructors who taught us to dance in local Dominican style, meringue and bachata. We visited a waterfall that was so refreshing after being immersed in humidity. We were able to have typical Dominican food such as rice, beans, chicken, pineapple, and really strong coffee! We also had frosty cold cokes. Never has a little bit of America tasted so good! We took a bus back from the waterfall. Seeing how Dominicans in the countryside live was eye opening. The next day we went further out in the country. We saw local residents bathing under sprinklers in the middle of the street. Apparently they had just gotten running water that month. We only got a taste of the Dominican Republic. How would out opinions change with more time?
Finally making it to the DR was amazing. I don’t think any of us have ever been that excited for land. Getting to drive around was really cool because it didn’t involve us having to tack every time we turned. Driving and then hiking to the waterfall was a great experience. Swimming in the fresh water was refreshing! Afterwards we had a local lunch which was delicious.
On our transit from the Dominican Republic to Virgin Gorda I did not get seasick which was pretty nice. We could see land most of the time, which made it easier for me to tell that we were moving. A highlight of the transit was finding all my clean underwear in the bilge.