carla.JPG The day started off simply enough.  The usual 20 plus knot wind.  The boat jerking around in the swells.  The constant worry of breaking a line.  Dan and I really thought about heading over to Cap Cana, but with the swells and the wind, and untangling about ten different lines, we weren’t sure if we would do more harm than good.  That decision however was thrust upon us not too soon after breakfast.

I had gotten up and meditated that morning.  I needed a day of adventure.  We had been in the car quite a bit the last few days, and I was ready to go play with the kids, play soccer on the beach, just get the blood flowing.  I needed an adrenaline rush.  Be careful what you wish for!

Everyone was up and the kids and I were just getting ready to head to the beach.  Dan was worried about the boat and was going to stay.  Suddenly a big swell hit the boat, causing us to jerk hard.  POP!  Dan instantly knew it was the cleat. Cleat no more!   We both looked at each other and said, “We’re outa here!” cleat.JPG         cleat-1.JPG

Dan went to inspect the damage, I started the kids on battening down the hatches (literally!), putting the computer away, and anything that would move.  It would be a bumpy ride!!

We hadn’t seen the dockmaster for a few days, and we didn’t have time to officially check out.  We were too busy trying to figure out how we were going to get out of here on our own.  It was pretty dangerous with the wind and the waves and the we had at least 10 lines out!  I decided to try and find some help, while Dan worked on getting the lines untied from the dock. With my limited spanish this would not be easy.  I took the broken cleat with me.  I went to the dockmaster’s office first and of course he wasn’t there.  This marina has no official dock hands either, and with it being Sunday things weren’t looking too positive.  I saw some people outside a fishing boat and went to talk to them.  Luckily one guy, who I thought owned the boat, understood english.  I told him our cleat broke and we needed to get off the fuel dock immediately before we broke another cleat.  He told one of his crew to go with me.  While I am standing there, two other women there are looking at me rather strange.  It is then I remembered my pants are on inside out.  Nice!!  Noticing that earlier this morning, I forgot to change them back (they are black yoga pants, easy mistake!).  I am sure I looked like a crazy woman running around with a broken cleat, hair whipping all over, and pants inside out.  They were of course looking very glamorous!  Anyway, the deckhand followed me back.  On the way another one joined us and when we got to the boat, we had 3 helpers.  Not bad!!

Our biggest hope was that the 25 knot wind would push us away from the fuel dock, the biggest fear was the waves coming in would push us into the dock.  The guys were great help.  They got the lines off for us in perfect order.  One spring line was stuck.  The last line!  I couldn’t get it off the cleat, it was on too tight.  They couldn’t release it from their side, it was too tight.  The wind was blowing us away from the dock so hard, and this cleat was taking all the weight.  I was afraid it was going to go too!!  Dan would slide the boat over sideways some to relieve the pressure and I would try again but it wouldn’t budge.  They suggested cutting it, but it was such a thick line.  We tried one more time.  All three of them pulled really hard on the line, then released to give me a few seconds of slack.  They kept saying, “Lady! Lady!”  They were afraid I was going to get my fingers caught!  This time I got it off half the cleat.  One more try and we were free.  Then they had a tough time getting it undone on their side!!! Dan slowly moved Alegria backwards, close enough for them to throw us the line when they got it loose.  Success!!  Dan was really doing an excellent job of maneuvering the boat.  We were now ready to head out into the channel markers, and into the waves.  And what waves they were!!!!

The forecast was 8 foot waves 6 seconds apart, but I am sure they were much bigger than that.  I was still at the front of the boat making sure all the lines were secure.  The sea was angry that day my friend!!  You can’t tell from the picture how big the waves were, but they were BIG.  A few times they came up so high, I wasn’t sure how we were going to get over them.  But  Alegria and the engines did great!  A huge wave came and Dan guided Alegria  up up up and over. And then another came right after!  The entrance to Cap Cana is right next door, but we needed to get out the Punta Cana Marina markers, then go right and head into the markers for Cap Cana.  In between was a reef.  We also had to go out quite a ways, as the waves were very close together and high.  Going out we would be heading right into them luckily, but at some point we would have to turn.  Eventually they would be on our back, but during the turn, we didn’t want one hitting us on the side. We buried the bows several time.  It was wild!!  I was actually having fun.  Of course if the engine died that would have been ugly, but Alegria was performing flawlessly.  Here was my adrenaline rush!  Of course it was also easy to enjoy it knowing it was only for a short time.  I wouldn’t have wanted to be traveling very far!

Out in deeper water now, we need to turn.  The waves are still as steep, but seem to be a little further apart.  We can see a pattern.  After a really big wave, you get an extra second or two before the next one.  This would be Dan’s time to turn.  Right after coasting down the back of a big one Dan turned Alegria.  Perfecto!  Now we were surfing!!

Dan lined up for the channel markers to Cap Cana.  We had just started in when we noticed a boat coming out!  This channel in good weather is not really wide enough for two boats, with these waves it would be impossible.  Dan wanted to turn around but  it would be too dangerous to make a quick turn.  Besides, the boat coming out was the 60′ Lazzara that we had saw go in the day before.  I knew they had a much more expensive boat, with a professional captain.  They needed to watch out for us!  Dan went a little outside the channel marker to give them some room, as Alegria was crabwalking and taking up most of the channel.  They passed us, looking at us like we were crazy for being out there.  We  were.  Just when we thought we were in the clear, we see a dredger cutting across outside the markers, on a collision course with us.  Not today my friend!!  This was our channel and we were determined.  Two guys in the small boat leading the dredger were calling us on the radio in Spanish, I am sure asking us to hold up, but NO!  We were on a mission.  Dan continued to do an awesome job with the boat and I called into Cap Cana and they gave us a slip assignment.  Remembering we were heading for the high rent destrict, I told Tristan we had to get rid of all the makeshift bumpers we had out including the garden hoses, the lifejackets, the deflated bumper, the rolls of Charmin toilet paper (just kidding!).  We were a mess as we got to our slip, trying to untangle lines and move them to the other side.  The dockhands were great though.  They got us settled and even got us a new extension cord to use!  After all the drama, it was nice to sit in the cockpit, relax, take a look around at the beautiful marina, and give thanks for how great a job we all did.   That is until I looked up and saw Dan’s underwear hanging from the the bimini in the cockpit, for all the world, and dockhands to see! (He had hung it up to dry there the night before when he washed it out by hand).  I hung my head and gave a big sigh.  As I said before, we can really redneck up a place!!!