As Pete finalised his visa and then returned to the boat to set sail that afternoon for Puerto Rico, the boys and I made our way to the accommodation we had booked in the Zona Colonial – the old town of Santo Domingo, in a small hotel 50 meters from the main square and cathedral. So much amazing history to be uncovered. This town is the oldest, permanently occupied town in the America’s and comes complete with forts, palaces, cobbled streets, canons and museums.
During our very quick visit we managed to get a good balance of the museums, visiting the house of Christopher Columbus’s brother and the Casa Real museum to see the exhibition of Trujillo’s arms and armament collection and view notes made by Columbus.
It was incredible to think that the documents we were viewing we over 500 years old. We visited the main cathedral, and a another beautiful church where the boys had their photo taken with some very friendly guards. Along the river as we walked around the old town their was plenty to see with cannons, and remains of the city fortifications still standing.
After a healthy dose of museums we finished the day with some fun stuff – making chocolate (the DR is famous for its cacao production). Max choose an interesting mix of dark chocolate, chilli, salt and almonds, Tom a more traditional fruity based combination. Ben had previously made his own chocolate when he and Pete had visited the previous week when trying to sort out his visa.
We then caught 3 short 4D movies at a local arts theatre, one depicting the story of when the famous privateer Sir Francis Drake invaded Santo Domingo, one a rapid motobike chase, and a scary ride on an out of control rickshaw on the Great Wall of China. It was so much fun to be wet, covered in bubbles and shaken on the rides. We finished our enormous day with a visit to a huge and very flash shopping centre (the Galleria) for a bit of shopping and to catch up with something more concurrent – Wonder Women!
After 2 comfortable nights in a hotel we had a 4am start for our 7am flight to San Juan to meet Pete. I’d been tracking him using our Delorme InReach satellite communication system. The crossing has had many hair-raising tales shared of cruisers having horrendous crossings, so I was slightly obsessed with watching his progress across the passage and checking the weather (both during the day and at periodic intervals overnight). As it turned out, except for a torn sail which slowed him down for a while he made fairly good progress and when we met up, he seemed less tired than I!
The only photo I have of Pete doing his solo crossing. He managed to catch our first Tuna which we so enjoyed when rejoined the boat on Sunday!