Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Shaking things up

After a few restful days in Aguilas we were ready to take on Cabo Beata. Leaving with us were Jim and Diana on Pura Vida, while Clint and Reina on Karma decided to stay behind another couple of days, waiting for a better weather window. 
We wanted to press on despite imperfect weather conditions because Gabriel's friend João Paulo was arriving from Brazil that very day and we wanted to make it to Salinas as soon as possible so as not to make him wait too long. He was in good hands for the time being. Our friends John and Kathryn were looking after him while we played catch up. 
Having left the anchorage at first light we were in the Beata passage for most of the morning, struggling against churned up seas and opposing winds. Nothing new, we were anticipating slow and painful, but what we got was ridiculous. To make the most of the wind we had to tack back and away from our destination. The two steps forward, one step back wasn't working for us and we opted to turn back for another night on anchor in the bay, hoping for calmer seas the next day. 
Our patience was rewarded and we made Salinas two days later after a long, but uneventful passage from Cabo Beata. We arrived in Salinas harbor around 2 AM, guided in by sounds of live music and bright city lights coming off the land. It's a tricky piece of water to navigate through because the lights on shore obstruct view of any other boats or markers that lay like obstacles ahead of us. We dodged a few of them as we pulled in closer towards the anchorage, where our friends on Katarina were shining a strobe light in our direction, helping us find the spot. 
Once we had the boat settled in we turned in to catch up on some much needed sleep, but it just wouldn't come. Perhaps we were too wired from the trip. Perhaps it was the festivities taking place in town, the sounds of which could be heard all throughout the night and into the following day. It turned out that we had arrived in Salinas during a week long festival that was just beginning. Once we ventured on shore we found that a large plot of land on the outskirts of the town was designated for that purpose. A large stage was set up for live bands, some booths served drinks others offered attractions for kids. An air of revelry engulfed the town and you could see it seeping out of every doorway, lurking around every corner. Music was coming from every direction, people singing and dancing about in the streets. We got the feeling that Salinas takes their partying very seriously when we popped into local convenience stores. Supplying essentials to the towns people by day, each store had a low, long counter laid out across it, that would serve as a bar at night, or whenever necessary. Shelves behind it were stocked with most coveted brands of alcohol, as well as cans of beans, cartons of eggs and packs of diapers. Each of the stores boasted a lighting and a sound system worthy of Studio 54, and for the duration of the festival each blasted music louder than their neighbor at all hours of the day. As we travel Dominican Republic we've come to learn that when Dominicans celebrate, be it a festival, the Holy Week or just the weekend, they do it with a roar. A roar that, on occasion, shook our bodies into motion, as we swayed to the rhythms of Bachata and Merengue. 

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