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Cruising BVI: Surprises at Sopers Hole

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Soper’s Hole is a quaint little Marina tucked inside the West End of Tortola. It is also a regular ferry stop between USVI and BVI. We brought Mom and Bean to the ferry dock where they caught a ride back to the airport on St. Thomas during the first week of June.

It was a sad day filled with many tears. I didn’t want them to leave, and they didn’t want to go home. We are all grateful, however, that we had the opportunity to spend so much time together in paradise and it will be a trip remembered forever.

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We pulled into the marina shortly after the ferry left to make some minor repairs, fill up our water and fuel tanks, and get a little rest. It amazes me more and more how lucky we are to be living this lifestyle. There’s nowhere we need to be at any particular time. We can stay up late watching movies on the laptop and sleep in as long as we want. There is always work to be done, but its on our schedule.

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One morning Peter noticed a younger guy arriving at shore in his dinghy with a surfboard. He asked where he had just come from and we learned that just around the point is a surf spot called Apple Bay. It just so happened to be 3-5′ that day so Peter quickly grabbed the foam board off the deck and we hopped in our dinghy to go check it out.

Nothing spectacular, but Peter sure had fun checking out the local point break. He’s been itching for some big waves ever since we left San Diego. The conditions haven’t been right to break out one of his SIX epoxy boards in any of the places we’ve been so far. We’re hoping to find some good surf in Tobago or maybe even Barbados in the next few months!

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Our next surprise was finding out that our slip was right next to some of the coolest guys we’ve met on our whole trip!

Tied up next to us was Indigo, a 61′ Fishing Charter boat owned and operated by Ocean Surfari out of USVI. The charter business is top notch and the crew members were incredibly friendly. Despite their busy preparations, we made fast friends with the crew talking about all-things-fishing into the late hours of the evening.

After all chores were done several days later, we had checked out of the Marina and prepared the boat for leaving. We had only intended on staying in Soper’s Hole for about a week but when we tried to leave, Peter discovered a major problem. We turned on the engine and Peter did a quick inspection in the engine room only to discover that our muffler had a significant leak. This was very discouraging since we thought our exhaust hose woes were behind us.

Realizing we were stuck, we let the Marina office know we would be there for at least a few more days. We picked up more shower tokens and a new WIFI password.

The Co-Founder of Ocean Surfari, Curt Richardson, happened to be visiting BVI with his family at the same time we were visiting Soper’s Hole Marina. His two sons, JC and Josh, arrived to stay aboard Indigo for a week and invited us out fishing with them several times. What a magnificent boat! Such a different feel to be out on the water on a boat like that after so many months of sailing around on our little boat that can only go 6 knots. Josh and JC are some of the kindest, most genuine, respectful, generous and fun people we have ever met. Despite the fact that we were stuck at the marina, we made some incredible memories that week!

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Josh even hooked a 300lb shark on one of the fishing trips!

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The enormous engines on Indigo made it easy for them to buzz over to the USVI to go lobster hunting. The guys returned with a monster catch…

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We spent hours watching the bait fish swim by the bright Indigo-colored lights. Dozens of huge tarpon would circle around pushing the bait back and forth under the docks.

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Mr. Richardson is also the Founder and Chairman of Otterbox. JC and Josh introduced us to one of their newest products – The Preserver. When Otterbox bought out Lifeproof, the technology was combined to create an unbelievably waterproof design.  After sharing our Lifeproof success story and subsequent failures, we were thrilled to be able to sample these new cases that were so generously donated to our cause! The new Preserver case has allowed us to take some pretty great underwater pictures with our last remaining iPhone. We are looking forward to putting more Otterbox products to the test as we continue our adventures in the harsh marine environment.

During our stay in Soper’s Hole we took several trips over to St. John to experience some of the exceptional snorkeling on the North Coast. Watermelon Cay was one of our favorite spots and proved to be a great place to take some underwater photos with our new Otterbox iPhone cases!

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Tarpon lurking in the distance…

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After a bit of research, a new muffler was on order from Parts and Power on Tortola. When it arrived, Peter had to saw off the old exhaust hose to get the old muffler out. The old hose was completely disintegrated from the inside out. Apparently this is what 35 year old exhaust hose looks like… YUK!

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Within an hour, we were back up and running good as new. We prepared the boat for leaving the dock and set off for Peter Island just in time for Fathers Day :)

 

Stay tuned for more adventures in the BVI’s! We are currently enjoying Island Time in Grenada while we wait out the rest of Hurricane Season. Leave us a comment, we would love to hear from you!!

Waterproof iPods: Extreme Toys For Extreme Adventures

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The most extreme adventures are often hosted by the most extreme conditions. In our case, the majority of those adventures involve water – whether on the beach, underwater, on the water, or in the snow. Electronics are ever-evolving and continuously growing tougher but most of our devices still require waterproof cases and the utmost care to prevent damage from the environment. Now that we live on a boat we are also learning that pretty much everything we own must be ‘marine-grade’ to withstand the harsh salty air and salt water.

We live in a generation where electronic devices like computers, radios and phones are much more than just toys. They are communication devices that help us increase efficiency. Just like some athletes like to stay ‘in the zone’ with portable music players, we like to bring our tunes with us when we go to the beach, paddleboard, surf, snorkel and go spearfishing. Unfortunately, regular MP3 players or iPods don’t hold up for these kind of activities.

Before we set sail almost a year ago, AudioFlood introduced us to a product we didn’t even know existed: A waterproof iPod! They promptly shipped us two of these handy devices and we’ve spent the last 6 months putting them to the test.

Keep reading to see the pro’s and con’s we’ve experienced with this device as well as seeing proof in the pictures of Peter rocking out while enjoying some underwater activities in our travels through the Caribbean. Music puts us in a meditative state and keeps us in the zone. It’s amazing how music can increase his attention, especially while hunting lobster :)

AudioFlood uses a unique waterproofing process that fills the entire inside of a genuine Apple iPod Shuffle with a continuous layer of soft yet highly corrosion resistant sealant. Also, unlike other waterproofing processes, AudioFlood never exposes their devices to temperatures above room temperature to prevent damage to the battery. For more information about the waterproofing process or to learn where to buy one, please visit AudioFlood’s website.

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PROS:

-Great for those that are supposed to wear earplugs in the water

-Depth rated for over 250 feet (although we believe it is not safe to use earplugs while diving to depths where you need to clear your ears)

-Impervious to salt water or pool chlorine

-The ear piece is soft rubber so it doesn’t irritate our ears

-The buttons on the iPod are not inhibited by the waterproofing process like a waterproof case does to the buttons on a phone

-Several available colors for personalization

-Fast syncing

-In the gym, these earphones won’t slip out like Apple’s do after getting sweaty

-Comes with a USB charging cable for easy use with a 12volt adaptor

-Great sound quality (as expected by Apple products) and unaffected by waterproofing

-Amazing technology that would be helpful for all electronics in harsh marine environments

-The technology protects from the inside-out so it doesn’t break down or fail as easily as a waterproof case

-Using an iPod is less cumbersome than carrying a smartphone or radio on Extreme Adventures

-Can be used for solo activities like surfing, diving, swimming, paddleboarding and snowboarding where most other electronics cannot be used

-Provides a function to play music that can be relaxing, meditative, focusing or mood enhancing

-Includes a short cord to prevent tangling

-Incredibly durable

CONS:

-For guys not wearing a shirt, the iPod must be clipped to a hat instead and the earbuds are then upside down and easily fall out

-Loss of hearing: the ear pieces are airtight and inhibit any nearby sounds (This can be dangerous if you need to be able to hear things like a continuously running water pump, alarms, horns, nearby boats approaching while underwater, or any other audible danger)

-The devices are only sold in 2 gb sizes, which really doesn’t allow for much song storage

-Not recommended for fishing due to loss of sound (can’t hear birds working, boils reels zinging or engine of the boat)

-Water did get into the hollow part of the ear piece and it was difficult to blow out

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**DISCLAIMER: Extreme care must be taken if using products like this under water. Please consult a professional before using this product while diving or freediving. Where The Coconuts Grow does not guarantee similar results to the experiences we have shared here and makes no claim on the safety of using this product during any type of activity. We shall not be held liable for any damage incurred while using this product.

 

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING…

We are PROUD to share these awesome products and services with our readers. There are so many different solutions out there for everything we could possibly need, but these are the solutions that work for us.

We gladly accept discounts or samples when a company feels generous enough to support our cause. In return we support the manufacturer or local service by sharing their links and writing about our experience with them. We only seek out sponsorship and affiliate programs from products and services we actually WANT to use and likewise only accept offers for products or services that we WILL use.

We are not paid for any reviews we write or feedback we provide. We simply like to spread the word and share great experiences we have had that could also bring joy to others.

 

Best SUP For A Liveaboard Sailboat

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Where The Coconuts Grow is sponsored by TOWER PADDLE BOARDS – A local San Diego company with a worldwide online store. We are proud to partner with this SUP manufacturer that you may have seen on ABC’s Shark Tank. They are based out of our hometown in sunny Southern California and we are happy to show some San Diego LOVE!

With a growing popularity among the cruising community, we saw pictures of the Tower iSUPs on several other blogs during the months we spent outfitting our boat. It wasn’t until the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show in 2013 that we became interested in actually buying one. After seeing the boards up close and personal, we decided we needed not one, but TWO 9’10” Adventurer iSUPs! It’s a good thing because we use them all the time now that we’re out cruising around. Click here to read about our first adventure on the paddleboards in the Bahamas.

Now that we’ve had some time to play around with our iSUPs, we’d like to share our experiences with you about the PROS and CONS of buying an Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board (iSUP) while living on a sailboat. Check out our Tower Paddle Board review:

PROS

– Rigidity

There were two blocks placed underneath each end of an Adventurer 9’10″ inflatable SUP at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show. Amazed at the rigidity, I called Peter over to test it out.  It’s designed to hold up to 300lbs when properly inflated and Peter had no trouble keeping his balance while trying to bounce up and down on the center of the board. In the water, the rigidity proves to be just as reliable as long as it’s inflated properly.

– Inflatable

The best part about buying an inflatable SUP is that they roll up nicely. While aware of the long passages we had planned, it was impractical to purchase more gear that would need to be strapped on deck so the fact that these iSUPs can be deflated and stowed neatly in our forward cabin while under way was a major selling point for us. If we are at anchor for awhile, we leave the boards inflated and stowed on deck. On short day sails, the boards are fine on deck, but when we are passagemaking, the boards are deflated and stowed in our forward cabin.

– Size

Tower offers various sizes of inflatable SUPs and several other options for their fiberglass boards. Even at 6′ tall Peter felt comfortable with the 9’10” board instead of the larger 14′ inflatable board. The 9’10” Adventurer iSUP is just small enough for me to carry on shore and to lift up and over the lifelines while deploying or bringing it back on board our boat. It’s also big enough to remain stable on the water while carrying a bunch of gear.

– Accessories

Tower offers a ton of accessories designed specifically to fit their boards. We have attached a Safari Pak to one of our boards for carrying our snorkel and fishing gear. The other board has plenty of room left for Betsy to ride along for an afternoon paddle. All the essentials are available like a pump, adjustable paddle, leashes, extra D-ring hooks, spare fins, fin bolts and traction pads. If you think you’re good enough to not need a leash, at the very least attach some sort of line to the board to be able to secure it to something while not in use but still in the water. We have leashes on both boards but we really only use them to secure the boards to the side of our boat or when visiting friends :)

Boards can be purchased individually or in packages that include the pump and an adjustable paddle. While we purchased the board only, not the package, we still recommend getting the package if you want to be ready to paddle right out of the box. Our inflatable dinghy pump had the same attachment fitting as Tower’s so we thought we didn’t need to spend the extra money on a second pump. Now we wish we had bought Tower’s pump made especially for their boards because our pump lets out too much air as it is being disconnected.

We ended up purchasing paddles with fiberglass handles from another company during a Cyber Monday sale but Tower now offers very nice fiberglass paddles (and other materials) on their site for those interested in upgrading their paddle.

– Convenience

Our favorite part about having two iSUPs on board is that they are so much easier to deploy than our dinghy. We can easily drop a paddle board in the water to go visit a neighboring boat in an anchorage, or take a walk on the beach, or check out a snorkel spot that is farther away than we want to swim. Peter has even taken one of the boards to check us in at Customs and Immigration after a long passage instead going to the hassle of dropping our dinghy and motor.

– Exercise

Stand Up Paddle Boarding is a fantastic way to get in shape. It uses core muscles for balance, upper body as well as leg strength. Access to land may not always be available but in a calm anchorage we can always paddle around for a little exercise. On a windy or choppy day it adds an extra level of challenge to stay standing. For the more adventurous types, some people enjoy SUP yoga and surfing!!

-Price

A Tower inflatable SUP costs several hundred dollars less than a regular board, and often much less than competitor inflatable boards. Tower frequently offers online sale pricing so be sure to check back often! **

-Shipping

Domestic orders over $250 or that include a paddle board qualify for free shipping! Shipping is fast and their customer service is exceptional. Shipping is also available worldwide for a fee.

 

CONS

– Fins

Two of the fins remain fixed. The larger center fin on our board must be removed in order to roll the iSUP back up into a nice space-saving bundle because the inflator valve is located at the head of the board. This has since been redesigned and the new Tower boards have the inflator valve at the foot of the board making it easy to start rolling from the head and leave the fin attached. Our boards came with fin screws to attach the center fin which eventually began to rust after just a few months in salt water, even after rinsing with fresh water after every use. The head on the bolt has very shallow grooves making it extremely difficult to tighten or loosen the bolt. The bolt is also easily dropped and may bounce off the deck going overboard – OOPS! Tower also took note of this design flaw and has since replaced the fin screws with plastic fasteners attached with a loop. Problem solved!

– Lack of D-Rings

The board only comes with one D-ring on each end. Additional D-rings or a Safari Pak must be purchased if  you want to attach a bungee cord to the front of the board for carrying gear. They are cheap to buy more but take note before making your purchase to avoid the hassle of ordering twice.

– Discoloration

The glue that binds the PVC seems together begins to turn yellow after just a short while of sun exposure.  This isn’t a Tower-exclusive issue though… any glue used on PVC, such as our dinghy, will become discolored with UV exposure. It’s only a cosmetic flaw but it sure was nice when the board was sparkling white :) After two years in the sun, its hardly noticeable anymore, though it does happen.

– Handle

The webbing installed as a handle in the center of our boards has since disintegrated with UV damage and completely ripped off both boards. Again, Tower took note of this issue and has engineered way better handles out of more durable material for all their new boards. Lucky for everyone else!

After factoring in all of the Pros and Cons, we think the Tower Adventurer iSUP is the best SUP for a living on a sailboat!

**If you or anyone you know is interested in purchasing products from Tower Paddle Boards, PLEASE consider using one of our affiliate links above. Just like many other bloggers, we are part of Tower’s Affiliate Program which tracks where their sales are referred from. Simply access Tower Paddle Boards by clicking through from the links above first. Any subsequent products you search for on Tower’s website during that same internet session will help us out when you complete your purchase. It’s no additional cost to you and it will add a very nice chunk of commission into our cruising fund keeping us afloat for just a little longer. We truly appreciate your support!

 

Take a look at some of the amazing adventures we’ve had so far:

We go fishing…

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We take Betsy for ‘doggie paddle’ sessions…

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We play bumper boards seeing who can stay on their board the longest…

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We explore caves…

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We paddle to secluded beaches…

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We race…

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We paddle to the best snorkeling spots…

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And we cool off…

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A special thanks to Mom for capturing some great photos of us playing on our Tower Paddle Boards!!

If you’re interested in further reading, our friend Carolyn has a couple great articles about SUP Paddle Maintenance and how to introduce your dog to SUPing!

 

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING…
We are PROUD to share these awesome products and services with our readers. There are so many different solutions out there for everything we could possibly need, but these are the solutions that work for us.

We gladly accept discounts or samples when a company feels generous enough to support our cause. In return we support the manufacturer or local service by sharing their links and writing about our experience with them. We only seek out sponsorship and affiliate programs from products and services we actually WANT to use and likewise only accept offers for products or services that we WILL use.

We are not paid for any reviews we write or feedback we provide. We simply like to spread the word and share great experiences we have had that could also bring joy to others.

**If you’re in the market for any of our favorite products, please consider using one of our Tower or Amazon Affiliate links!

Welcome To Luperón, Dominican Republic

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We said farewell to Punta Rocia/Ensenada around 9pm on the 25th of April. Garmin guided us back out to our course due east in the dark of the night. By then, we were so used to night passages and navigating by our instruments alone that this felt pretty routine. With plenty of time to arrive in Luperón by 8am, we passed by Cabo Isabela and motored around to the next waypoint listed in Van Sant’s guide. From this point forward in our travels along the DR coast, his book became our bible feeding us with local knowledge that proved to be priceless. We took turns reading and rereading the dog-eared pages, underlining and highlighting the parts that coincided with our course.

Who else remembers “making a range with the cliff face and a tree on the ridge in the background”? This was the fool-proof method described in the guide for avoiding the fishing floats and shoals upon entering the harbor. We had no trouble at all and the scenery coming in was stunning. We were still in awe of the beauty of the DR coast after seeing such flat and desert-like land on the islands of the Bahamas.

In the early hours of the morning the only movement in the harbor was from local fishermen. Most of the mooring balls were occupied and carefully placed around the various mud shoals. The charts showed them well, corresponding to the empty spots where no boats laid to rest. We anchored toward the back against the mangroves in a nice place that would allow us to swing without bumping anything or anyone.

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Peter and I lowered the dinghy off the bow with the halyard and used our pulley to move the outboard motor from the stern to the dinghy. Each time, the process gets a little easier, a little faster and we get a little stronger. The gas can was hooked up and Peter was off to the Comandancia. We had heard they may come out to visit us, but after listening in on the VHF, that was not the case.

After tying up at the dinghy dock, Peter made his way down a small road from the harbor’s edge into town. There is a vehicle gate guarded by men sitting in the shade. Adjacent are three small structures, one each for the Ports Authority, Immigration and Agriculture. The Navy has a separate facility across a bridge and up the hill to the left. As for the dogs, they just wanted to know that we had a health certificate and rabies certificate. No extra fees or restrictions with pets. The Customs and Immigration fees were around $90-something total, cash only. The Navy then sent three men to follow him back out to the boat. They wanted to take a look around to make sure we weren’t smuggling in any people from Haiti, then they asked for a tip. It was not mandatory, but it was worth $20 to us to give the men a little cash if it meant they weren’t going to tear our boat apart on a “routine” search. We were still tired from our recent passages and didn’t feel like having every locker emptied as if we had just broached the boat.

Within a few minutes the men sped off in their little boat. They had asked a local man, Rafael, to take them in his boat since they didn’t have one of their own. Little did we know, we would soon need Rafael’s help later that day.

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A few minutes later we went to town together to explore and grab some lunch. Up the road we saw the popular spots – JR’s and Wendy’s. Both have good food and free wifi. While enjoying a bite to eat at JR’s, Peter heard someone hailing our boat on the radio… “Mary Christine, Mary Christine…”

The winds had picked up and clocked around and our boat was dragging!! We thought for sure the anchor was set well to the direction the of the Trades, and the thick mangrove mud had it’s hold on us. Wrong. Peter left me at the restaurant and RAN back to the dinghy as fast as he could go (in flip-flops of course). Rafael had heard what was going on from his handheld VHF and raced over to meet Peter at the dinghy dock to see if he could help. Together they blasted over to the boat. Peter made record time from the restaurant to the boat in 3 minutes flat!!

A neighbor witnessed the whole thing and that’s who hailed us on the radio. They jumped on board our boat and threw out our second anchor in hopes of catching, but we had already hit one of the mud shoals. The boat had drug across half the mooring field, miraculously passing every boat without bumping anyone at all. We knew who was watching out for SV Mary Christine that afternoon…

Usually, Peter always dives our anchor to make sure it’s in good. The water in Luperón is filthy with zero visibility so diving the anchor wasn’t an option here. Our primary anchor is a Delta or plough-style anchor, which turns out does not hold well in the soft DR mud. Had we used the Danforth, we probably would have been fine. Most of the other boats in the harbor were on mooring balls with only a few others at anchor and we just assumed they were all there for long-term. We now know that for only $3 per night, a mooring ball in Luperón is very good insurance.

Peter called me on the radio back at JR’s to let me know Rafael would pick me up on his motorbike and bring me back to the boat. Luckily I had stashed a little cash in my bikini top. I paid the bill and finished my lunch just as Rafael pulled up. I hopped on the back of his motorbike and we rode back to his old fishing boat. He had such a kind smile and his generosity was heartwarming.

As the tide rose, Peter tied a stern line to an adjacent mooring ball and Rafael helped us winch over to it. With each surfacing of the buoy, he heaved the line in a little tighter. Slowly, the boat slid inch by inch off the mud shoal into deeper water. We used Rafael’s boat to carry a bowline over to our newly adopted mooring ball before releasing the stern line. We had brought in both anchors already and finished tying up to the ball properly. It was a close call and an unsettling way to experience our first four hours in Luperón. Rafael wouldn’t accept any money for his help so we offered him several huge filets of fresh caught Mahi Mahi instead. He was so appreciative and excited to bring it back to his family. The people of the Dominican Republic are very kind and just as friendly as we had been told.

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Papo runs an excellent service catering to cruisers in the harbor. Pedro answers on the VHF for him and was also very kind and helpful. They own the mooring balls and come around to collect $3 per night. They have wonderful local knowledge, courtesy flags, water and fuel. Papo will bring diesel out to the boat for $5.75/gallon and pump it directly into your tanks. The diesel we got was good and actually much cleaner than the fuel we got in the Bahamas. Papo and Pedro are honest and hardworking. Another wonderful example of the kind and welcoming people of the DR.

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The next day we went back into town to explore and visit a local pharmacy. We had heard medicine is cheap there and we needed a few courses of antibiotics on board to keep in our Med Kit. There were several pharmacies in town and Peter managed to speak enough Spanish to get what we needed. It helps to know the Spanish equivalent for what you need ahead of time ;)

On the way back, we ran in to Rafael again. We had mentioned to him earlier that we needed a mechanic to fix a leak in the oil pan for our generator. The previous owner knew there was a leak but hadn’t found exactly where it was coming from. After some rough seas on our passage from the Bahamas, we were tossed around so much that ALL of the oil in the generator leaked out into the bilge. It was a nasty cleanup job… let me tell you. Determined to find the leak, I wriggled my way into the engine room, contorted into some crazy yoga pretzel, and upside-down with a flashlight I told Peter I was sure that the leak was coming from the center of the oil pan where a wood block had been placed.

Rafael sent his mechanic friend Marino out to the boat the next day. He unbolted the Westerbeke, tipped it on its side and removed the oil pan. He took it into town and had a brand new piece welded onto the entire bottom of the pan. Marino and Rafael came back out the next day in Rafael’s boat and braved the hot and sweaty engine room to finish fixing the generator. $300 later, we had a fully functional 5kw generator running beautifully!! Although we don’t run it all the time, it’s nice to have if our batteries get too low.

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Rafael (left) and Marino (right) after a hard day’s work putting our generator back together

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After a few days on a ball, we checked out the two marinas in the harbor. Puerto Blanco Marina does not answer on the radio and wasn’t exactly open to receiving new boats. It’s really just a dock with a bunch of old boats tied up to it. Marina Luperón looked a little more inviting and had a spot open at the end of the rickety dock. In all its glory, Marina Luperón used to be a pretty happening place. There was a restaurant and bar overlooking the whole bay but it was shut down a few years ago. The government  imposed development restrictions and took out all of the existing docks. Over the last two years, Jimmy (the current manager) has slowly rebuilt a few docks and installed power and water. He charges $10 per day and that includes unlimited water, power and internet. For an extra $7 per day, that’s a way better deal than staying on a ball! A definite plus since the water is too dirty to use the watermaker.

Water is trucked in from a well to the cistern at the marina whenever it’s available. Apparently the water company is owned by a local farmer who often hoards the water for her cattle. She cuts off the entire town water supply over bad politics when the local government gets too far behind on their bill. We even witnessed a riot during our stay where the townspeople throw bottles and light tires on fire in the streets out of frustration for their water and power outages. When power is on in town, there is power on the docks at the marina which powers the wifi router too. Jimmy also keeps cold beer and sodas in the marina fridge. It’s the honor system here so you write your name on the board and settle up later.

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The streets of Luperón are dirty, the infrastructure is minimal and the standard of living is far from what we were used to in the U.S. On the other hand, everything is inexpensive and the town is full of some of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. Some absolutely love it here, so much they never leave. It’s a fantastic hurricane hole with all around protection and plenty of mangroves to tie off to. There may not be many anchorages that are both clean and protected but we wish we had more time to see everything the Dominican Republic has to offer. There’s something intriguing about the simplicity of life here in the DR and it’s worth experiencing first hand.

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Next up… pictures from our visit to the Waterfalls!!

Dog Leashes For Beaches

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Our beach adventures with Betsy and Gunner are sponsored by Softlines, Inc.!

Softlines outfitted us with two extra long floating leashes for Betsy and Gunner. The leash itself is made of polypropylene and FLOATS behind them tangle-free as they swim. A regular leash would sink to the bottom and could potentially get tangled around their legs taking the paddle out of ‘doggy paddle’!! The material is mildew and rot resistant, sheds water easily and is very lightweight and easy to store.

The hardware is made of quality stainless steel to stand up to the harsh salt water. It’s often hard to tell what quality of stainless steel our old leashes are made with until we expose them to the ocean. Gunner wears a pinch collar when going for walks on shore and that has begun to rust. We have several other old leashes that have started to disintegrate and are not doing well now that we live on a boat. The spring snap hardware on our Dog Leashes for Beaches, however, is still looking shiny and new after months at sea.

‘Dog Leashes for Beaches’ come in 10 different lengths from 1′-50′ with custom lengths available but we chose 20′ to give our dogs plenty of room to play around with.

Diameters available are 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″ and 5/8″. We selected 3/8″ so as to not be too big or too small. It’s easy to hold onto and thick enough to see easily in the water.

There are a ton of different colors to choose from, all UV resistant and colorfast. To match some of our other doggy gear we got Betsy a Hot Pink leash and Gunner a Pacific Blue one!

Softlines offers free custom labeling so each leash has Betsy and Gunner’s names on them with our website listed :)

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We are traveling to new beaches in different countries all the time. While it would be so great to just let the dogs run free, we like to go exploring with leashes on for the first trip to each new shore to make sure there are no lurking dangers that Betsy and Gunner could get into.

Betsy doesn’t stray far. She prefers to sprint up and down the sandy stretches of paradise always coming right back to us. She stays out of trouble and doesn’t eat stinky dead creatures on the beach like her brother.

Gunner on the other hand is always looking for trouble. As soon as we unhook his leash he bee-lines it to the perimeter of wherever we are and begins his patrol. With his nose to the ground he inspects every inch of land, hunting for anything that moves or anything that smells like food. If the beach disappears into the island brush, he heads directly into the thick of it with no regard for safe passage or thorn-free footing. Heaven forbid he sees a small creature, for his hunting instincts kick into full effect and he’s long gone.

In dog parks back home Gunner had no interest in playing with other dogs. He preferred to go exploring on his perimeter checks solo. It’s SO much easier to just keep him on a leash at all times if there’s any chance he could get too far away. The Dog Leashes for Beaches are great for Gunner because we can hold onto the leash from a distance and still let him swim around wherever he wants to go. He can explore on the beach without being right next to us and we’re still able to rein him back in if needed.

Betsy’s floating leash is great for her too. Sometimes she decides she wants to go back to shore before the rest of us so the extra 20′ of reach is helpful to grab onto before she gets too far away. One afternoon we took a family swim off of Sand Dollar Beach in George Town Bahamas and Betsy wasn’t too sure about staying out away from shore so long. She’s an excellent swimmer but she likes to swim TO something, and then swim TO something else. Gunner will do laps in the water with no particular direction in mind at all. Since we were swimming along side the coast it was easy to grab the end of Betsy’s leash floating conveniently behind her to keep her out by us.

We have really enjoyed discovering products and services that help make our adventurous lives safer and easier for both us and the dogs. Dog Leashes for Beaches have been a wonderful addition to our equipment inventory. We feel much more at ease now taking the dogs to shore with equipment that was designed specifically for helping keep our dogs safe in the water and on the beach. As we travel to far off lands, Gunner and Betsy will always be safely within reach :)

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Softlines, Inc. carries many other great products for dogs, boats, horses, etc. Be sure to check out their website!

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING… We are PROUD to share these awesome products and services with our readers. There are so many different solutions out there for everything we could possibly need, but these are the solutions that work for us.

We gladly accept discounts or samples when a company feels generous enough to support our cause. In return we support the manufacturer or local service by sharing their links and writing about our experience with them. We only seek out sponsorship and affiliate programs from products and services we actually WANT to use and likewise only accept offers for products or services that we WILL use.

We are not paid for any reviews we write or feedback we provide. We simply like to spread the word and share great experiences we have had that could also bring joy to others.

**If you’re in the market for any of our favorite products, please consider using one of our Amazon Affiliate product links. Just access Amazon by clicking through from the right-hand sidebar on our website first and any subsequent products you search for during that same internet session will help us out when you complete your purchase. It’s no additional cost to you and puts a small percentage in our cruising kitty. We appreciate your support!