For the final Spam article in this series, I bring you scenes and events from Luperon. Ahhh Luperon, you either love it or hate it – we love it, but not unconditionally.
Here are fishing boats, waiting to go to sea. These are old wooden boats, repaired with fiberglass and painted in glorious colors. They rarely have motors. When they do, on calm days, they travel miles out to sea. Here’s a similar boat, with a fresh catch. We saw them on our trip to Puerto Rico and they were over 20 miles off shore. That’s a mahi-mahi or dolphin fish.
EW was frequently concerned about safety and the lack of regulations in the D.R. Here is an electrical panel in the bushes. What isn’t easy to see are the numerous wires funning from the box to the homes and businesses in the area. He cringed each time we passed this and wanted a photo.
This bar is located near the entry to the town from the docks. There are two businesses welcoming cruisers, the outdoor bar is frequented by mainly locals and some cruisers while Wendy’s,will have more cruisers than locals inside. We joined Tony and his friends here one afternoon. Imagine the sun moving across the sky from left to right so that the roof no longer shades the bar. In Luperon, we simply move with the shade, placing our chairs off the concrete pad and into the road on the left. By late afternoon, the chairs are two to three deep in the road and no one is sitting in the actual bar. I love that.
Just a few folks left sitting in the bar. The afternoon has begun at EL Pichichi.
Tom is another Mainah, a solo sailor who was anchored in Luperon for a while on his way to the San Blas islands. He’s most recently from Belfast and worked in a number of boatyards in Maine so he and EW could share stories and drop names for hours. He’s also an accomplished concertina player and a very good singer who favors Gordon Bok and other folk singers.
Tom is a true Mainah who has had a number of careers, including teacher. While in Luperon he was teaching English to some of the better students in the private high school.
One evening, I cooked and Tom and EW entertained me with stories and music. That’s a fair trade, for sure.
Later that week, Tom’s new engine arrived and he went to the marina to have it installed. He went back to the anchor once the engine was in place, but before she was actually working. That became a problem on our last day in Luperon.
For us, it began with a radio call from one cruiser to another. “Hey, you see what’s happening off your stern? Typical Dominican boating.” This was not said in tone of high praise. EW and I went on deck to check things out and saw this huge fishing boat – loaded with a catch, a large crew, and a lot of fishing dories, heading out of control toward Tom’s boat – the smaller one at the left with the dinghy off the stern.
I would like to think that neither of the cruisers on the radio understood as we did that Tom did not have a working engine. Alone on board, he could do nothing to get out of the way as this fishing boat lost their engine and began to drift down on him.
EW and I bolted for the dinghy and sped over to Tom’s boat. We spent a half hour, pulling or tugging her around the scope of her anchor, keeping her out of harm’s way. The Dominican's were calmly doing all they could to move their boat in the right direction. In addition to whatever was going on with their engine, when they got her started, they ran aground – twice. They’d get her off, and the engine would die and she’d drift back toward Tom. One of the things they did to lighten their load was to launch their fishing boats. It was fascinating to see these sturdy wooden boats come flying off the deck, one after the other. Only one had a motor, the person driving that one, had diverted to help Tom, but when he saw us, he rounded up the other boats and towed them safely ashore. The Captain of the fishing boat thanked us repeatedly for assisting Tom.
Here, EW and I are in our dinghy, towing Tom’s boat out of the way. You can see Tom’s bow pulpit in the foreground. I’d call that close enough.
The Dominican Republic is an excellent agricultural area. There are gardens and fruit trees along the main streets and at most homes, and commercial farms outside of town. The produce market had excellent broccoli, carrots, cilantro, onions and more. In addition, like most of the islands we’ve visited – the D.R. has beautiful flowering bushes to brighten our day.
Yep, put us down as the kind of folks who love Luperon.