April 8th – 9th: Cap Cana – Barahona
We had originally planned to make a few stops along the southern coast of the D.R., but the delays rebuilding the Symbiosis engine changed that plan. Now we would go straight to Barahona, the last port of entry before crossing into Haiti. It was a 173 n.m. cruise, so we would leave in the morning and arrive the following afternoon. We thought we had arranged the check-out in advance with the marina, but the Navy guys were very slow to give us our Despacho’s (exit papers), so we left about an hour behind schedule. We were happy that Symbiosis had no engine issues during the long trip – it was a miracle!
It was an easy cruise. The seas were fairly calm during the southward leg, and it was virtually flat during the long easterly leg. Unfortunately for Symbiosis, there was little wind, so they had to use their motor most of the way. Of course, that led to a new problem – they were worried about fuel consumption. The boat had a 90-gallon tank, which should have been enough for the passage with a decent reserve, but with essentially a new engine, Scott was nervous about fuel economy. We told them that worse case, we could bleed off some of our fuel for them (we hold 1,250 gallons), so not to worry about it. Still, he was easy on the throttle, so we slowed down to five knots for a large part of the trip. Even at that speed we arrived at Barahona a little after four on Sunday afternoon. Thanks to some favorable currents, we averaged over five knots for the trip. Something odd happened during the night watch. Scott hailed me around two in the morning to tell me that Noi had reminded him that when they had passaged around the northern side of the D.R. at night, they had seen some strange white floating buoys. She wanted to be sure that we were looking for them. I thought this was another crazy Noi concern – after all, we were thirty miles offshore in 12,000 feet of water, so there could not be a buoy. About fifteen minutes later, I saw something white floating on the water. Sure enough, it was just as Noi had described. I called Scott to tell him, but he had already run onto it, but he said it was a very soft collision.