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Anchoring "Surcharges" in the DR

By Sue Richards last modified Oct 30, 2009 04:04 PM

Published: 2009-10-30 16:04:13
Countries: Dominican Republic

While en-route from Luperon in the Dominican Republic - via Cabo Engano and the Mona Strait - around to Boca Chica on the south side, we anchored for the night in the lee at Punta Macao. Nice little anchorage but.... late in the evening we were visited by three people in a skiff, one with military fatigues and one carrying an automatic rifle. They asked for our papers (in Spanish, which neither of us spoke) for anchoring there (we had gotten a zarpe from Luperon for transit to Boca Chica).

They said we couldn't stay there ... but for a fee, they'd let us stay. We ended up forking out over $20 each and they went away ... I assume reasonably happy and probably drunk later.

On reaching Boca Chica, Tony Torres (at the Marina ZarPar) was very helpful with our dealing with immigration there ... and on hearing that we had been "rolled" by the locals on the way, said we should note this on Noonsite. Tony says that the Dominican government wants to encourage yachting there, and has been working to make things smoother for cruisers. Such "fees" (for simply anchoring) are not allowed (but what do you say to three men with automatic weapons?). But publicity can bring reform, and if we make a stink and complain, the higher-ups will come down on such practises.

We should also mention that Marina ZarPar in Boca Chica was a very nice place, and very helpful (as was Tony). Check it out ... and it's very convenient to the international airport for Santo Domingo (and the big supermarkets in Santo Domingo too).

And we found Frank Virgintino's "Cruising Guide to the Dominican Republic" (available on Noonsite for free) to be very helpful as well in getting around the DR.

Arne, John, and Kristen, S/V Morrigan (Dolphin 460 cat)

Editor's note: noonsite states: Coastwise stops at any place other than designated Ports of Entry without specific permission is discouraged as the DR is trying to stop or reduce the trafficking of drugs and refugees through the country.