Last night we had the informal Tapas dinner outside and enjoyed a sampling of excellent dishes. We set our clocks forward an hour at bedtime & arose early to have a quick breakfast before our shore excursion (“Discover Samana”).
Regatta anchored in the vast Samana bay near Cayo Levantado, a beautiful small island. We boarded an open-air catarmaran from the tender platform of our ship for the transfer to the town of Samana. The seas were a bit challenging, with four-to-six foot swells, making the boarding process a bit daunting, but the crews did a great job, not losing a single hobbling passenger (including Barb). Our boat raced across the bay & docked in Samana. We walked a short distance from the dock & boarded a bus; our first stop was a small whale museum where we heard about the humpback whales that come to this part of the Caribbean from late December through March. The whales calve and breed during this time & have no sustenance (krill, the humpback’s food source, are in cold waters). We still haven’t seen any whales, but are certainly keeping a vigil (with beverages close at hand).
After the museum visit we drove into the countryside, heading across the Samana peninsula. We stopped at a curio shop, where Steve & I spent our time playing with an adorable kitten (lots of dust collector junk for sale in the store).
Finally, the bus arrived in Las Terrenas, on the northern coast. Exquisite beaches loomed for miles, along with nice new resort developments. We had about 40 minutes to explore. We found a close-by bar & tried an El Presidente lager (not bad). The street vendors were somewhat annoying, but one charming child named Miguel just wanted me to take his picture.
Steve walked the beach briefly & then we headed back across the peninsula. We saw several baseball fields, including one with flat stones for bases. Baseball is obviously the passion of the people from the Dominican Republic and of course there have been many major league players from this country. The homes were small, many of them shacks, but there were little stores, restaurants & bars everywhere & bright colors. They grow lots of coconuts, cocoa, and bananas in the lush countryside & every home has dogs chickens, goats & perhaps a horse.
Back at the dock we had the thrill of boarding the catamaran, bobbing around about four feet below the dock. The crew literally held everyone by their arms and lifted them into the boat. Heading back to Regatta, we faced into the wind and bounced dramatically off the waves (fun, I guess). The catamaran docked at Cayo Levantado (in calm waters) and we boarded a ship tender back to Regatta. We had to exit the tender one at a time due to the rough seas (everyone getting plenty of help).
Well, after all this excitement we ran down the bar waiter & wolfed down a lovely cheeseburger & appropriate drinks. We also had a conversation with a delightful elderly gentleman who graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from MIT in 1944.
An interesting day! Off to Tortola tomorrow.