Luperón was awesome!!! We were there for 3 days with some buddy boats. The first day we slept some because we had done an overnight passage, then we went through Immigration, which includes customs and immigration and agriculture for animals and food. After that we checked out the town. The second day we hiked up a mountain and then slid down a series of 27 waterfalls!!! The third day we did Internet stuff and I got to get in touch with a couple of people! It was nice to know what was going on back home! Luperón was so cool!
The Dominican Republic, DR, occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Republic of Haiti. The country is the second largest in the Caribbean, after Cuba. The DR is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and to the south by the Caribbean Sea. It has close to 1,000 miles of coastline! The Dominican Republic enjoys a tropical climate all year round, with average temperatures ranging from 66° to 93° F (19° to 34° C), thereby enabling an economy dependent upon tourism.
The DR was discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus. Their capital, Santa Domingo, is the oldest city in the New World. Santa Domino is currently home to nearly one-third of the country’s 9 million residents, as well as the oldest cathedral and fortress in the New World.
The DR has a colorful history. The Taíno Indians peacefully inhabited the island when Columbus’ ‘discovered’ it. Within 50 years, most of the Taínos had died of starvation, forced overwork, and the introduction of diseases from Europe. Spain turned over the western third of Hispaniola to France in the last 1600’s, leading to years of back and forth and continued hostilities between France, Spain and the world’s first black republic, Haiti. The Dominican Republic finally won their independence in 1844.
Like the United States, the DR is a representative democracy. There are three branches of government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Every four years the country elects its president, vice president, legislators and city government officials. President Danilo Medina and Vice President Margarita Cedeño were elected for a four-year term that began on 16 August 2012 and ends on 16 August 2016. Unlike the United States, their Constitution does not allow for consecutive re-election.
The major regions of the DR are: the North Coast; the Southeast Coast, including Santa Domingo; the Samaná Peninsula; Santiago and the fertile Cibao Valley; and the mountainous West.
The Dominican flag, the plain flag without the emblem in the center (below left), is flown by private citizens both on land and at sea.
According to a presidential decree of 1913, the government adds the national coat of arms (above right) in the center of the cross, when flying the flag.
The national coat of arms is a red, white, and blue shield draped by a flag, a bible, and a cross. On the left side of the coat of arms is an olive branch, while the right side is taken up by a palm branch. Above the shield is a blue banner bearing the words “Dios, Pitria, Libertad,” meaning “God, Fatherland, Liberty.” There is also a red ribbon bearing the words “Republica Dominicana,” meaning “Dominican Republic.”
With Indian, African and Caucasian roots, the DR’s culture and language is definitely Hispanic. Their official language is Spanish. Their currency is the Dominican Peso (DR$). Currently the exchange rate is about 44 pesos to US$1. The DR observes Atlantic Standard Tome all year around, which means that they do not observe Daylight Savings Time (one hour later than Eastern Standard Time, EST, from October to April, and the same as Eastern Daylight Savings Time from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.
Sam and Addie and their mom came to George Town in the Bahamas for February vacation. We had a GREAT time!! Since they love cats, I decided to do a word splash in the shape of a cat to remember our visit.
Great Guana Cay was awesome! It was probably my favorite place in the Bahamas, so it was pretty awesome! In Black Point we went to a beach that was great for sea glass and got a bunch of little pieces of sea glass.
My mom and dad got to watch the Super Bowl at an internet café, and I got to talk to Emma for almost 45 minutes! Way to go Patriots!!!
At the laundry mat where my mom was doing laundry, I got cornrows! Cornrows are these little tiny African braids that you can get in your hair that go back half-way on your head.
Also in Black Point we met 2 other kid boats, Whisper and Lost Horizon, with Ava on Whisper, who is 9, and Madeline on Lost Horizon, who is 7.
In White Point we met up with Whisper and Lost Horizon again, which was fun. We had a bonfire and s’mores with Whisper, Lost Horizon and a couple of other boats. We also had dinner on Lost Horizon with Whisper.
White Point was also great for finding sand dollars, many of which were still alive!!!
Black Point and White Point were awesome!
Staniel Cay was a very interesting Bahamian town. We basically walked through the entire town, which did not take more than an hour! There were chickens roaming everywhere, although what surprised me the most were the brightly colored houses. Pink and blue were the most common.
At the Isles General Store, where we got propane and groceries, the owner gave me a Bahamian $3 bill, which is as rare as the American $2 bill! We had been trying to find one since we arrived in the Bahamas!
Off of Staniel Cay, there was this really cool cave, Thunderball Grotto, where my dad and I went snorkeling. We swam into it, though you could jump in, as well. There were tons of fish! We brought a Ziploc bag of bread to feed them, so the fish swarmed us!
We also took a short dinghy ride to Big Majors Spot, where there were supposed to be swimming pig. Some of our friends said that they had a 300 pound hog try to get into their inflatable dinghy! We decided not to bring any food, though we did bring a boat hook! The pigs we saw were not actually swimming, more like wading!!!
Staniel Cay was awesome!
Warderick Wells is the headquarters of the “park” (the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park). This Bahamian national park is a place where you cannot disturb the wildlife by, fishing, picking up conch, shells, sea glass etc. The park is the only land and sea park in the world. Though the park was established in 1958, it was only made a no take zone in 1986, when the people who were working at the park realized that they needed to conserve more of the wildlife.
There are a bunch of trails that you can hike on. One of the most well-known is the trail to Boo Boo Hill. People hike up to Boo Boo Hill and leave the name of their boat on driftwood or stone. Of course, we had to leave Ally Cat up there!
I also got to play with some kids whose mom worked in the office. It was fun to have kids my age to play with! Elizabeth is 10 and Drake is 12. We had a lot of fun playing together. We also had an awesome water fight down on the beach.
After a LOT of reading on my Kindle, I finally was able to read a ‘real’ book for a change! In the office, there was a book swap. We left some and we took some. My favorite book was Marley and Me, by John Grogan. I highly recommend this book for anyone who really likes laugh out loud books! Possibly my favorite couple of sentences are these: “We were strolling along the Intracoastal Waterway on a crisp winter’s day, holding hands, with Marley out in front, tugging us along. I let him hop up on the concrete breakwater, which was about two feet wide and three feet above the water’s surface. ‘John,’ Jenny protested. ‘He could fall in.’ I looked at her dubiously. ‘How dumb do you think he is?’ I asked. ‘What do you think he’ll do? Just walk right off the edge into thin air?’ Ten seconds later, that’s exactly what he did, landing in the water with a huge splash and requiring a complicated rescue operation on our part to get him back up the wall and onto land again.”
There were some really great snorkeling grounds. While I was snorkeling I saw a shark—and this was a real shark, not a nurse shark (which has no teeth) and it wasn’t just sitting on the bottom either! I swam away really fast!
We had an awesome time in Norman’s Cay! We met up with Glass Slipper (a ‘kid boat’ we met in DC) and had a couple of fun beach days with them. Kid boats are always fun, no matter the ages of the kids. This time we had two of them: Glass Slipper with Coleen, who is 13, and Rollick with Alex, who is 6, and Jordan, who is 4. We had all of them—and their parents—over to Ally Cat on evening.
We went into shore and went for a BIG walk. We found MacDuff’s, the only restaurant on the island, where we all had marvelous salads! Mom and I really liked how the place was decorated, too. Some good ideas for us when we get home with all these beautiful shells!
Dad and I tried to go snorkeling with Coleen one day, but we didn’t find anything good and it was cold!
We had a great time in Norman’s Cay
Whale Cay was amazing! We had the beach to ourselves! We only saw four other people on the island—there are only eight houses on the whole island! I learned how to snorkel. I love to snorkel now! My dad is really happy, because he has a snorkeling buddy! While we were snorkeling we saw some spiny lobsters and my dad caught three of them!
I also found a lot of really nice shells! We think it is because not many people go and comb that beach for all of the nice shells.
We saw tons of salamanders. My goal is to catch one by the end of our trip. They are fast, but I did manage to touch one already!
Whale Cay was awesome!
We’re here! We’re finally in the Bahamas! After 2 ½ years of hard work we made it! The water is so clear, and for us it is so bizarre to, when we are at anchor, be able to see the anchor. When we came to the Bahamas we saw starfish the size of dinner plates! We also saw dolphins and it was so cool to be able to see the dolphins’ whole bodies when they were still in the water. It’s funny being here in the Bahamas because we’ve been talking about it for over 2 years and I guess it never really seemed like it was going to happen!