In this episode, Nick and Kelly prep Satori to leave Luperon and begin Sailing the Dominican Republic north coast. They go through the check-out process in Luperon which never seems to be easy for anyone. After they got that sorted, they prepped Satori for two long overnight passages. The goal was to get to the East side of the Dominican Republic, Samana to be exact. Samana is the staging point for most sailors to make the journey across the Mona Passage.

Watch this video to see:

  • Checking out of Luperon
  • Nick and Kelly discuss their sailing strategy for the Dominican Republic
  • Sailing to Rio San Juan, in the Dominican Republic
  • Sailing to Samana, in the Dominican Republic

The Full Story

Nick and I spent about a month in Luperon. 32 days to be exact. Since we stayed 2 “extra” days past the 30-day allowance, we owed the “overstay” fee. We were aware of this fee however things got tricky when we went to get our “despacho”. If you don’t know, a despacho is required whenever you leave a harbor to go sailing in the Dominican Republic. You must obtain this from the Navy. This is the DR’s system to keep track of all the boats coming in and out any of the harbors. It’s kind of a pain but if you’re going to visit the DR, just know this is how they do things.

Girl is sitting with an annoyed look on her face

Kelly is annoyed at the despacho process

We had an issue when we tried to get our despacho. The Navy would not give it to us because immigration wouldn’t give us clearance. Immigration wanted us to pay the $100 overstay fee. We explained that we were not leaving the country yet, we were going to Samana. They still wanted us to pay. Our fear was we would end up paying it twice. After a full day of going back and forth, getting advocates to vouch for us, we decided to just pay it and hope the Commandante and immigration were kind and fair in Samana. Spoiler alert…it turned out just fine. We didn’t have to pay the fee again in Samana.

Photo of a man at a desk in the immigration office

In the immigration office

Preparing to leave Luperon

After we got our despacho, we had a few hours before we were set to leave. Following Bruce Van Sant’s book, “The Gentleman’s Guide to Passages South“, meant we had to wait for the night lees to kick in. This can happen at any time but usually after 9:00 pm in Luperon Harbor. We ended up departing after 11:00 pm. We had a long night in front of us. Our estimated time of arrival to our first anchorage was around 8:00 am. As we left Luperon, the conditions were not bad. The waves closer to shore were approximately 3-4 feet with an 8-second interval. This gave us comfortable motor-sailing conditions in the Dominican Republic. During my night watch, I watched crimes shows on YouTube. This is one of my favorite time killers! We had cellular service all the way along the coast.

The land view from our sailboat

Sailing along the Northern coast of the Dominican Republic

Arrival in Rio San Juan, Sailing the Dominican Republic

As we approached our first anchorage “Rio San Juan”, (around 7:00 am) it proved to be difficult to find a good spot. There was a reef that ran along the edge of the anchorage and rocks everywhere! It took an hour to finally get our Mantus to set. Once we set up our “wind scoops” (two strategiaclly placed Captains Chairs), off we went to get some sleep.

As we woke up, we were delighted to see our friends Alex and Kareena on “Valhalla” anchored next to us. We rested most of the day because we knew there was another long night of sailing in front of us. Alex and Kareena left around 5:00 pm as they didn’t want to navigate the reef in the dark. Trusting our “bread crumb”, we wanted to wait for the winds to calm a bit more. The night lees came earlier, and we were able to depart before 9:00 pm.

Rio San Juan Anchorage, view of another sailboat from our sailboat

Rio San Juan Anchorage

Trip to Samana, Sailing the Dominican Republic

It was another nice motor-sail with similar conditions as the night before. We were set to arrive in Samana Bay in the late morning. I was able to make reservations ahead of time at “Puerto Bahia Marina”. Many people told us what a lovely marina this was. I was looking forward to having shore power and being able to turn on the AC!

Beautiful morning sunrise, view from our sailboat

Beautiful morning sunrise

Relaxing in Puerto Bahia Marina!

The marina did not disappoint! It was clean and well kept. There were 5 pools and a few restaurants. We wasted no time in getting our swimsuits on and taking a dip in one of the pools. The views were stunning with a mountainous backdrop. Add pina coladas and you have a perfect afternoon. Nick and I looked at the weather and saw the window was closing quickly.

As much as we wanted to stay and enjoy the fabulous marina, we decided to go to Puerto Rico while we had the chance. Otherwise, we could be stuck in Samana for a couple of weeks. While that would have been a nice break and a great place to get some work done, our wallets wouldn’t be happy. So off we went, sailing from the Dominican Republic to cross the dreaded Mona Passage! Stay tuned for our next blog post to read details about our first Mona crossing.

Puerto Bahia Marina: Samana, Dominican Republic. Docking our boat

Puerto Bahia Marina: Samana, Dominican Republic

Full Episode

Related Links

Previous Episode – Bucked Off A Horse & Building a Sailboat Mooring (Video S2:E20)

Suggested Post – Guide – Sailing to Luperon and Checking In

Buy Bruce’s Book – “The Gentleman’s Guide to Passages South”

Facebook Throwback

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Instagram Throwback

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Song Credits

Intro Song – Carribean Cuisine 4 – Magnus Ringblom

6:08 – Blossoming Tree – Wanderer’s Trove

10:15 – King Arthur Intro – Rule Britannia Classic

Traditional Ending Song – Figure It Out – Daniel Gunnarsson

Download these songs for free at Epidemic Sound

Video Transcription

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