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From Luperon to Boqueron, Puerto Rico, it is 246 nautical miles, if one was to follow the straightest path possible. It is this trip that we hope to embark on later today. Challenges abound though. To begin, the initial path we need to take along the northern Dominican Republic coast is east. Guess where the trade winds blow from? East. And even at times when the winds elsewhere are NE or SE, we have heard that the winds almost always parallel the coast due to the effect of huge land mass. Translation… wind on the nose.

Challenge two is that there are very few safe havens along the northern DR coast if we were to determine that it’s too ugly out there for us. There is Samana, which is still a long way from Luperon, but if at all possible, we’d rather head directly to PR.

Challenge 3 is the Mona Passage. Strong currents, shoals that kick up large seas and frequent thunderstorms from Puerto Rico all stand in our way. So as it stands, we think this is pretty much the toughest step remaining between where we currently sit and our long-term destination of Grenada.

The infamous “Mona Passage,” DR on the left and PR on the right.

The weather forecast, as you can imagine, is of great interest to sailors looking to make this trip. We have heard that tomorrow, and continuing for the next several days, the gradient winds are going to lay down. Additionally, the “lee effect” of the island tends to lessen the winds throughout the night. For this reason, we are looking to depart Luperon early tonight to make our run. Of the 4 boats that crossed to the DR with us, I believe that 3 of them will be heading out as well. We have really only been in contact with Top of the World though and will likely be traveling with them.

“Top of the World” in this morning’s calm.

Passage preparations? Fuel tanks and jerry cans have been topped up. Food will be prepped in advance to limit any on-the-way cooking. And lastly, we need to get our despacho, our clearance out from the officials at Luperon. Typically this needs to be done just before you leave but we took a stab at getting it yesterday. It looked as though we had it all organized too as the forms were filled out and then stamped by the man in charge at the Navy office. At the last minute though he told us to come back today and get it an hour or so before we leave. Oh well. 🙂

Dressed in our “Sunday Best” we went in search of our “despacho”.
No luck yesterday though. Let’s hope today is better.
🙂

I probably don’t need to say this but once we take off, there will be no updates on the blog for a few days. We’ll make sure to turn our Spot tracker on though so you can follow along as we travel if you are so inclined.

22 Comments

  1. The Mona passage crossing to me, was the most confused waves I have ever been in. I had never in 4 years been sick on my 30 ft little boat until that passage across Cabo Roco to Samana. The waves were not that big but they came from all directions and seemed to stand straight up like a whole bunch of washing machine size waves knocking the boat from every direction. Hope you have an uneventful crossing.

    • That doesn’t sound fun. Yes, I hope it is very uneventful. We don’t need any more exciting stories. 🙂

      • Well before chartplotters and GPS we pulled into Cabo Roco by chance because the island seemed to be ending…
        This is from my old logbook written by the crew…

        And so we landed still not knowing,
        just exactly where we’re going.
        The navigator who’d stop at nothing,
        swam ashore and whilst still puffing,
        told the natives that we see,
        if we’re not lost, where the Fukawi.

        On crossing..
        Seas choppy and confused.. Oh! Mona!
        then later…
        Shitty wind from west, seas a mess.
        that night..
        clear, bumpy no luck sleeping

  2. Take some video on your passage if you can. Looking forward to reading all about your passage when you get to the other side. Good luck!

  3. We’ll be thinking of you and hope you have a smooth passage!

  4. Wishing you a safe trip. Thanks for the SPOT, keeps us from worrying about you!

    Have a great weekend. . .

  5. Mike
    Remember that cold apple sauce is best for eating while underway in any kind of sea but especially in rough conditions. Take her easy and you will do just fine.
    Good trip

    Richard

  6. andy & sonja cru-zinacatamaran - Reply

    The sea’s may be confused the wind may be not quite rite but with your ‘positive” attitude & timing you will have an ok crossing, Looks like it’s a well planed & thought about, so you will be ok. it looks like about a 2 day crossing at average 5knts ? ‘did i work that worked out correct” ? & just think of those fish that will keep you occupied 🙂

  7. You know guys, I never meant to discourage you with my description of Mona, it was just what “I” encountered and I was headed the other way “with” the wind. Believe me, I “want” you to have an awesome passage with everything in your favor, but we all know, you never know when the dues collector is going to visit while cruising. He calls it the Thornless Passage to give you a hint that this trip to windward down the islands isn’t without a good chance of getting pricked by the thorns. You’ll be fine. Worst case, you turn and run downwind to Samana. I loved it there.

    • Was not discouraged, or scared, by your comments. We know how much it sucks to beat into winds and seas. I think by the time we get to the Mona Passage both winds and seas will be favorable though. Fingers are crossed. If not, we could run to Samana as you suggest.

  8. the crossing is really not a big deal. Remember how you felt before you crossed the Gulf Stream? The fear of the unknown….this is the same but longer. We crossed in 36 hours but a week later a group crossed in 24. You are up to it, just sit back and relax. Look up Marc Weiser on “OPAL” when you get to Boquaron. And look us up here in St John when you get this way. We have lived and worked here for a few years. Much quieter than St Thomas……

    • Our gulf stream crossing DID suck… 20-25 n the nose the whole way. Let’s hope this isn’t the same.

      Thanks Bruce. We’ll keep an eye (or ear) out for your friend.

  9. My daughter and her then partner made the Mona Passage in his Hunter 33. This, of course, was 23 years ago, when the average size boat on passage was 30′ or so. It was NOT a pleasent trip, but I think a lot of her perceptions were colored by the fact that she was pregnant and didn’t know it, so she was VERY seasick the whole time. They brought back videos, and it looked plenty scary to me!

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