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In a message dated 2/17/98 4:27:32 PM, you wrote:
<<Hello, I'm going to cabarete (Dominican Republic) and wanted to hear from
other who might have been there.>>
• The trip to DR was one of the most exciting in my life. Hardly anyone
speaks English and the island is full of interesting culture and people.
(There aren't too many US visitors). Don't just stay in Cabarete. Go out and
explore, but be aware and savvy. My wife and I felt safe enough traveling
throughout the island, but DR is definitely 3rd world so be cool and have an
amazing time. They have really crazy drivers there so my advice is to drive
like a madman in order to blend in. Its kind of like sailing in 40 knot +
conditions - You cant be passive!
As far as equipment I went with Vela, but there are plenty of places to get
deals. If you want good equipment, though, $45/day is probably the going
rate. Hell, spend your dough you're on vacation. You can eat rice and beans,
but don't sail on crap. Cabarete is 'International Surf City' in the tropics.
It won't be prime season and I think you will have a better deal on the fly.
Eight years ago I had a critical event at sea in Caberete that changed my
Not much had been happening wind wise for a few days and the swells were 4-6
feet out on the reef, but the wind was too light to get to them especially in
those days without all the new light gear. The reef is a little over a
quarter mile off shore and inside, the waves roll in on big swells kind of
like Baja's East Cape. The reef is about 6-15 ft. deep and usually has a top
mushy breaking wave like Sprecks that's fairly easy and fun to ride.
I hadn't a lot of wave skill developed back then so I was really looking
forward to honing my chops on manageable surf
When morning broke it was purple / red skies bouncing off teal blue seas
sparking through dark puffy clouds on the horizon. The ocean had 'Kicked Up'
and lots of white water was pushing through the reef. The wind was whipping
by 10am and I was certainly belly dancing with the butterflies. I checked in
at Vela and they signed me out with the words of caution, 'Watch out for the
houses!" This is what they locally referred to the huge storm surf that was
forcing its way through the reef.
I assured them that it was 'No Problem' (to brandish a popular Caribbean
colloquialism) that I was from 'high wind San Francisco' and that I would be
cool. There were only a handful of sailors out and the conditions were wild.
I charged off the beach and was having a gas. Jibing on the swells (houses)
that were rolling in from the reef was like power gliding in a big Caddy.
The wind was light and squirrelly at the edge of the reef just inside the
impact zone so I used that line as my border. After about half an hour of
exhilirating storm sailing I approached my turnaround when suddenly I spotted
a board floating alone with only an extension sticking up in the middle of
wave foam. About a hundred yards away in the middle of the reef was this
shocking sight that yelled trouble for some poor mate in distress. I slowed
down to shlogging speed to check things out.
Swooosh!! Something big unexpectedly brushed my board and spooked the hell out
of me. Losing my balance I fell and immediately got tangled into the missing
sailor's sail/rig. As I tried to un-nest the estranged rig from my sail I
noticed that me and my adapted jetsam were caught in the rip floating right
into the impact zone. The wind was light and things were reasonably calm
until I looked, OUTSIDE !!! Huge houses were heading my way and I was all
thumbs stuck in this big mess of gear.
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