Well we haven’t made it to the DR yet. We left Sapodilla Bay at 6 a.m. on the 11th and were about 6 miles out when we heard this loud bang. Assuming something had fallen on the floor in the cabin, I went down the companionway stairs to check but didn’t see anything. Then David noticed that one of the shrouds had broken off near the deck. We quickly had to douse the sails to take pressure off the mast. The mast is held up by 6 shrouds, the backstay, and forestay (basically 8 rods going from the mast to the deck) so if one or more break the mast could potentially snap off. We’ve read about other boats that lost their entire rig (sails, ropes, mast, everything) due to failed shrouds so we were quite lucky.We motored back to Sapodilla Bay, and our first step was to contact Customs since we had cleared out the day before and were supposed to have left TCI territorial water within 24 hours. We hopped in the dinghy, rowed ¼ mile to shore (we hadn’t ordered the parts needed to put the propeller back on the outboard motor), walked 15 minutes to the government dock, checked in with security, and walked to the Customs office. We explained our issue and were checked back in without having to pay $300 for a cruisers permit that is required if staying longer than seven days. They didn’t charge us since we were having a mechanical issue and it was beyond our control. The immigration lady wasn’t in the office so we were told to come back the next day before 4:30 p.m. to talk to her. The next day we did the same routine: row, walk, check in with security, only to find out that she had already left for the day. He said to come back the next day between 10 and 12. So once again we made the trek to Customs. And guess what? She wasn’t there. By then we were both frustrated and irritated, but of course we didn’t want to give them any attitude because they could kick us out of the country. We were told to come back later that day at 2pm, and I said we’d be there…at exactly that time. Off we went back to the boat to get some things done and returned just before 2. Thankfully she was there and told us we’d have 90 days before we had to clear out. We would have plenty have time to come up with an action plan and get things fixed.
Back to the shroud issue. Shrouds are not supposed to break so it made David really nervous that the others ones might be in bad shape too. When we bought the boat, we were told that the previous owners had the rods re-coldheaded in 2012, which means they should have been good for another 5+ years. As of now, David has examined all of the shrouds and so far only two need to be replaced. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the backstay and forestay are in good condition because replacing them will be expensive and will require the mast to be unstepped.
|David climbed the mast again to undo the top part of the shroud|
The good news is we received the nut and pin for the outboard motor today so no more long rows to the beach, although I did like the workout. We had it shipped to South Side Marina and are staying for the night, which means A/C and WiFi (woohoo!!). Bob, the owner, is really great and took us to the grocery store today. He even came to our anchorage yesterday, picked us up, and drove us to the marina so we could enjoy the cruisers BBQ that is held every week. All of the cruisers that were staying at the marina left during the weather window last week, and there was only one boat that had come in since then. We talked to Thomas on s/v Oasis about his time in the DR, met some expats that live on the island, played Bocci ball, and had ice cream on the house.
After the BBQ, we were rowing our dinghy back to the boat and noticed some pretty awesome bioluminescence action. During our night sails, we've seen bioluminescent organisms, but it was like seeing lightning bugs in the water - a dot here and there. This time I would move my hand through the water and it would light up with bright green wherever my hand had been. Unfortunately, the camera doesn't capture this natural phenomenon very well so I can't post pics. Fajardo, Puerto Rico is a great place to experience something like this. I did a night kayaking trip there a few years ago, and it was amazing.
|The marina "watchdog"|
|Relaxing at the BBQ|
|Our anchorage at the Cooper Jack annex|