|Land Ho! The Dominican Republc on the horizon
Wow, what a difference a year makes. Usually there are many small differences, but for us, arriving in the DR this year was a 180º turnabout from last year. We had an interesting time then....of course, the fact that the Samana, DR authorities were focused on stripping down a drug-laden boat at the public dock may have made the difference....just a guess! Let's just say that last year, it was a rough, rather third-world introduction to how things are handled there. Every procedure from clearing in, to anchoring out was a bit of a hassle.
Thus...this year, a total, welcome change! We had it all in our favor: the weather, the location, the facilities, and timing! After last year, we had much debate on even going back to the DR, but we decided we would give Puerto Bahia Samana Marina at try. We had gorgeous conditions coming it, and it was a very welcome respite after 36 hours at sea, when we finally cleared the breakwater for the marina. Located about a mile past the harbor of Samana itself, the resort is quite new and has a spectacular setting, nestled in beneath the jungle green hillside above. The marina channel is clearly marked with buoys and day-marks; an easy entry with a convenient fuel dock to starboard as you enter. We arrived mid-day, took on a bit of fuel, and were tucked into a slip before we knew it! From being met by gracious dockhands, to having Customs & Immigration aboard in no time, we were cleared in to the DR easily, without fuss or confusion, without dubious docking fees or demands -- er --"requests" for tips. What a treat!!
|In the main lobby of the Bannister Hotel
Puerto Bahia Samana is actually part of The Bannister Hotel, and it's truly first class. They have very attentive, welcoming staff, with a wide array of amenities from three different restaurants (casual and fine dining), two infinity pools, full-service marina amenities, tennis courts, and a fun playground for the younger ones. After clearing in, we happily explored the waterfront and ended up having a leisurely lunch outside on the long verandah overlooking the marina. Ron was quick to explore the other parts of the resort and before I knew it, he had scheduled us for an hour-long couples massage at the Spa at the resort in the late afternoon. (Told you it was a totally different experience than last year, now didn't I?) Precisely what the doctor ordered!! Yes --- I heartily recommend it to anyone after making a long passage, even after an easy cruise as such as we had! After restoring vertical function to my body, I was able to wobble back to the boat quite happily, where we did nothing for a couple of hours before succumbing to sleep --- which I did for the next 12 hours. Bliss!
So yes....quite a welcome to the Dominican Republic!