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Sunday, April 14, 2019

"Hey, You're Going the Wrong Way!"

Isla Saona, off the southeast corner of the DR. A beautiful national park.

Geography can be hard. The largest land masses, the seven continents of North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and Antarctica……I had all of those solidly nailed down by the 6th grade thanks to our American public education system. 

I gave in to the teaching that Europe and Asia are considered two continents when in fact, they look pretty darn much like one huge land mass to me. Hmph. Go figure. And who got to decide that Australia was a continent but Greenland was too small to make the cut? Was there a vote? If so, Greenland and some other island nations needed better representation, but I digress. 

Puerto Bahía Marina, Samaná Peninsula, DR
Frankly, until only a few years ago, I was quite content to live my life without giving the smaller chunks of land sticking up out of the oceans any thought whatsoever. All of those thousands of smaller lands, the islands— their very existence occupied an embarrassingly small amount of gray matter in my head. 
Far from our usual marina experience, this is the most
elegant marina we have ever seen.  Inexpensive, too.

I confess this now only to put the readership at ease.  If for example, you have ever been one to surreptitiously dig out an atlas (or to Google) to see where we were while in Trinidad, Grenada, Bonaire, Curacao and now the Dominican Republic, as far as I am concerned, that  is no cause for shame. 
The town of Samaná, on the northeast side of the DR. Home of the Bridge to Nowhere.

Up until a month ago, we had no intention of being in the Dominican Republic right now. Why? Because it’s way north of Bonaire. And when we were in Bonaire, we were really pretty close to South America. Our plans (written in sand, as my husband is wont to say) were to sail to Colombia after the winds settled a bit, later on in April/May.  
Riding a 4 passenger motorized bike

From Colombia, we were to go on to the San Blas Islands (off the eastern Panamanian coast), then to Panama proper and perhaps further north in Central America for the hurricane season where we would have left the boat for a visit back to the U.S.
Our driver, a real ham. Made ambulance
siren sounds much of the way to the
Bridge to Nowhere.

I don’t know whether anybody else has had this thought, but one of our FB friends commented the other day, “Hey, you’re going the wrong way!” Now that guy knows his geography. Indeed, we have moved away from South America and toward the U.S.
Bridge to Nowhere--a resort project that
was abandoned.

For a variety of reasons, we decided that we were not inclined to sail on to Colombia and Central America at this time. Many of our sailing friends have already sailed there and onward. We love seeing FB reports of where they are and what they are doing. We would certainly have enjoyed sailing with them there, but that didn’t happen at the right time.  About a month ago, we looked around and realized that nobody had a gun to our heads saying “You MUST sail on to Colombia from Bonaire” and so we just decided not to.

At the far end of the Bridge to Nowhere
Call us whimsical; call us changeable, tumbleweeds blowin’ in the wind, or simply sailboat vagabonds, but we are heading back to the East Coast of the U.S. for the hurricane season. As you may recall from previous posts, our marine insurance policy requires that we remove our boat from the hurricane zone between June 1 and November 1. 
Paintings sold at the base of bridge

If Northern Star were to remain in the heart of the hurricane zone and was then damaged in a hurricane, she would not be insured. So, our options from Bonaire were: 1) go on to the coast of Central America, 2) return to Trinidad {below 10 degrees latitude N} or 3) move the boat above the Florida/Georgia border. We chose #3. (You and I know that hurricanes hit the U.S. coast north of the Florida/Georgia border as well, but the boat insurers came up with this arbitrary line on the map, so….there you have it. Somebody voted on the geography again).

My first piña colada served
in a pineapple
We still have ~2000 kilometers, or 1079 nautical miles, or 1242 statute miles to get from our current location in Samaná, DR to the Florida/Georgia border. We will bypass about 700 islands (no exaggeration) before then. We will go through the Turks and Caicos, the Exumas and the Ragged Islands and finally the Abacos. We’ll stop at a few of them to explore, rest and to snorkel. 
The Dominican Republic lies east of Cuba and is not pictured above.
All of the above islands are part of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas which is scattered over an area of 100,000 square miles of ocean. Most of these islands are so small that you may have difficulty finding them on a map. And this might be a brain bender for some—the Bahamas are not part of the Caribbean. What? Yes, it's true. The Bahamas are not on the Caribbean Sea. They are in the Atlantic Ocean. See, it’s that geography stuff again. Geography can be hard.

1 comment:

Marcia said...

Have you two considered one day, when your land locked and not literally studying geography of the open seas, maybe guest teaching...?? Wow!! Love your blog !! Love the pictures and the lessons learned (but probably not remembered in detail). : ) Wishing you guys all the best , safe travels, as you move towards the insured, non-hurricane regions of the East coast. And so... I guess visiting you near Georgia is a better plan ?? Much love cuz!