Day 44: Paradise Lost

13.02.09:

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.

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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