First things first, I needed to check for boats leaving for Cuba or Jamaica from the port. Mehrdad and I headed over the harbour and a guy took us around all the ships (and then demanded money) only to tell us that none of them were going to Cuba or Jamaica.
Okay, so forget that – time to step foot in Haiti. I got the bus over there, taking much longer than I expected. I arrived at around 1pm. It’s market day – the day that the Lonely Planet warns you not to cross the border on. But it was just a bit like walking to the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, so I took it in my stride. The UN peacekeepers on the bridge kept me safe and I got to touch Haitian soil.
I returned to the Dominican Republic and took four different forms of transport to Luperon, the fabled hurricane hole from whence spring yachts on their way to Cuba.
Or so I had been told. But this is the Caribbean, and it’s disorganised. Utterly disorganised. There was nothing going anywhere near Cuba, or Jamaica. This was turning into a nightmare. Carry Okie Dave, a bit of a yachting legend around these parts, bought me a beer and I drowned my sorrows. It was getting dark. Where are you staying tonight?
Puerto Plata. Anxious looks. You do know the last shared taxis run at 6pm, don’t you?
I looked at my watch. It was 6.45pm. Dave sorted me out with a motorbike back to the town from the marina and then I had to get another motorbike back to the main road – pitch black, no street lights, no crash helmet, roads with potholes the size of the Titanic…I clung on for dear life. I managed to get a bus back to Puerto Plata and meet with Mehrdad who took me out to meet his friends, Canadian Tim and a guy called Mark who might be able to help me get off this rock.
We met in a restaurant bar. Karaoke was the order of the day and not much business was discussed, but I got to meet a whole bunch of lovely people and they presented me with a t-shirt with messages of support on it.
Dolphins!! I decided to stretch my legs out on deck and saw hundreds of dolphins splashing about in the water, having a good time. But by the time I got my camera out, they all splashed away. Must’ve not wanted the bother of signing those damn release forms.
We made it into Port-au-Prince (Haiti) in the afternoon, and I can’t help the feeling we are going nowhere fast – we’ve just sailed around the damn island! At least tomorrow we’ll be in Jamaica. Oh yeah. Jamaica. I’m planning to meet a girl called Dianne who’s going to teach me to play the steel drums.
I tried to get out of the port to have a mooch around the city of Port-au-Prince, but it was getting dark and I couldn’t get myself a port pass, which is different from a passport.
So I watched the containers being offloaded until midnight, and then we were off again into the wild dark yonder.