Luperon or "Pooperon"-You be the judge!
Luperon- March 13th, 2020
After an overnight sail from Samana to Luperon, we arrived on Friday March 13th. The bay itself was more scenic than we expected and after hailing one of the locals “Handy Andy”, he referred us to “Papo” who got us a mooring ball. We dinghied to the government dock, locked up the dinghy and walked into town to find customs and immigration. A guy on a motorcycle brought us to the customs individual in a trailer and we began the paperwork process. Had to see customs, immigration and agriculture officials before meeting with the navy commandante. The agricultural official in her rhinestone designed T-shirt said she could do my laundry too. To get to the navy commandante we had to cross a bridge along a polluted creek and travel up a hill to an outdoor pavilion where two young men with rifles sat to check us in. They had a TV mounted in the pavilion playing cartoons in Spanish. He used google translate to communicate with us, wanted pics of our boat and then we were approved. Got to love or hate the Dominican Republic. Afterwards, we went into the Puerto Blanca marina to get some lunch and then in our sleep deprived stupor realized they were still serving breakfast given it was only 11:00 a.m. So back to the boat we went to eat some leftover salami and to take a nap.
Remember my description of how the Dominican Republic is a country of contrasts? Well, Luperon is a very protected harbor surrounded by mangroves. Some boats have been here for years where you wonder what were they running from to hide here and others are just passing through. The water is too dirty to make water so you have to have it delivered to your boat, hence the nickname "pooperon". Same thing with diesel. There is no place to fill up. The town itself is more authentic than Samana where the locals are outside playing dominos and there are little fruit and vegetable stands with a few bars and restaurants. Food is cheap – very cheap. A pizza is $5.00. A huge breakfast is $6.00 with eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, toast, fruit and juice. You can get by here easily. However, the streets have gutters filled with trash and slime like sewage and there are many dogs around, some taken care of and others that appear in a sad state. Motoconchos are everywhere and the noise from the gunning of mufflers can be obnoxious at times. Also, I began to notice that male cruisers definitely outnumbered female crusiers and many men sail here singlehanded. But in Luperon, companionship can be found. Kevin and I began to notice many American men escorting young black Dominican women on their arms. Walking around like they were in love. Prostitution is legal in the Dominican Republic and accepted. Google it. It was strange and again just gave us a creepy feeling. While we were there, two robberies occurred on boats while the owners were ashore at dinner. Again, we never really felt comfortable or safe so we knew we would leave to go to the Turks and Caicos once the weather window appeared.
While in Luperon however, the coronavirus became a more serious situation so in-between trying to get free Wifi to get news about what was happening, we rented a car from a local guy for two days. Cash, no insurance. Tinted windows and flames on the side along with scripture quote on the windshield. Ran on propane too. We just had to refill at a propane station on return.
With the car, we wanted to do the 27 waterfalls and provision. Damajaqua Cascades or the 27 Chacos was awesome. When we arrived, we could to the 7, 12 or all of the 27 waterfalls. Of course we are going to do all 27! You don hard hats and life vests and with a guide you hike about an hour to the top of a mountain first and then you jump, wade, and slide down various waterfalls. It was just us and two 25 year old guys, one from the US and one from Holland. We showed them that two 50 year olds can do it too! The highest jump was about 22 feet but there were chutes you had to go down and cavernous swim throughs and walking through the river. The water was clear and blue, although cold and it was stunning scenery the whole time! Although we were a little bruised and sore the next day, it was so much fun and the highlight of our time in the Dominican Republic. Too bad no pics! Too rough and we didn't want to break our go pro!
That night after getting more news on the coronavirus situation, we knew things were getting serious. Many Caribbean Islands were closing their borders south of us and we had a gut feeling things were going to quickly change in the Dominican Republic and Islands northward so we had to make a run for it. 6:30 a.m. the next morning we drove the hour and a half to Puerto Plata to pick up food supplies. It was chaotic. Shelves were empty in both stores but we managed to get a lot of what we needed anyway and just picked up local produce in Luperon. We then had 50 gallons of RO water and 35 gallons of Diesel delievered by Papo and his Dominican helpers by panga. We quickly went ashore and went through the lengthy check out process, hopped on the boat, called our parents and then sailed out of the harbor at 5 p.m. to make the overnight journey to the Turks and Caicos.