Pronounced with the accent on the last A
16.12.2007 - 16.12.2007
December 16- Sunday
Today we were in Samaná which is a providence on a peninsula of the Dominican Republic and is also the name of a town. According to one website, Samaná translates to “fish with coconut sauce.” This is the destination for any traveler trying to capture the experience of a raw and less developed area of the Caribbean.
One of the attractions if you visit in between mid-January and mid-March, is the spectacle of thousands of hump-back whales that migrate here every year. There is a small but interesting whale museum to visit if you are not here during those months.
We are anchored and have to tender in. So it was good that I had booked a tour, because tour gets priority in tendering. We were supposed to meet in the theatre (forward of our room) at 9:45. They were using our lifeboats to tender.
Our tour was called Discover Samaná , and was to be at 1000 for 3.5 hours. By the time we got to the dock it was about 1040. I think the port made a bad impression on a lot of people because the water and beach area there was full of trash. People from the DR don't seem to mind having trash all over. Or maybe it is just because there is no trash cans to put it in and no trash pick-up.
We got on our bus and it started off
and immediately we made the first turn, the engine died. It took a few minutes to get started again. The tour took us past La Churcha
which had been brought from somewhere else and reassumbled here. Apparently this area originally had quite a few English speaking people in it, but Trujillo made it illegal to teach children any language but Spanish.
Since it was Sunday, most of the shops were closed. We drove to a place which was apparently called Colonia Rancho Espanol
where we had a rest stop and opportunity to drink a local drink and buy stuff (mostly Hatian I think although it said Arte Dominicano).
I went down to a little church and cemetery and took some photos there.
From the bus we saw the houses of the people - in one case they were using a wall to dry clothes on
We passed a car wash (which apparently doubles as a casino and bar),
a fancy hotel, a baseball (or softball) game, and drove by a long beach to the little village of Las Terrenas which has a small airport.
Las Terrenas is reached by two main roads: one from Sanchez at the western end of the peninsula and the other from the city of Samana by way of the village of El Limon and the resort at El Portillo. Both roads follow a winding route over the mountains and through the lush valleys across the peninsula and provide a scenic and sometimes spectacular view of the rich, mountainous terrain with its simple, country life. .This has been described as a small fishing village.
What we saw from the bus was lots of pristine beaches. The miles of undeveloped white-sandy beaches and protected inshore waters have contributed to the growth of this formerly small village.
Hispaniola was described by Christopher Columbus as "the most beautiful land in the world," and today those words could apply to the Samana Peninsula. "Time Magazine" has described the area as having one of the last, long stretches of undeveloped beach in the Caribbean.
According to the Samana webpage, The balmy climate with it's ever-present trade winds and the warm temperature of the sub-tropical Atlantic Ocean combine to provide this part of the island with year-round, delightful weather with only a few degrees difference in temperature between winter and summer. Annual rainfall is moderate with no perceptible "rainy season" usually found in other tropical locations.
Then we turned around and went back to Samaná. Here we stopped at the whale museum and the guide gave us a tour.
Guide behind the bones of a whale's head.
We (Bob and I) used the bathroom, which was one of those that you put the TP in the wastebasket and not in the toilet.
Then he dropped people who wanted to shop at the area where the shops were open for us, and took the rest of us back to the dock. We walked aboard the tender about 1410 - after having our hands sanitized, and showing our ship card. The boat was crowded, and was a round bottom which was pounding through the seas, even as calm as the water was.
After we went through the Xray procedure, and dropped our stuff at the room, we went to the buffet because by then it was 1445 and the restaurant was closed. I got some pumpkin cubes and some sauteed zuchini and a tiny tuna sandwich on a little hard roll. Then I got ice cream - or actually pineapple sherbert. Bob got a hambuger.
For dinner we went to the Summer Palace (which is styled after the Russian Tsar's Summer Palace), and were seated by the window with another couple where we could watch the sunset.
I had something called Fresh Fruit Minestrone which was a kind of fruit cocktail thing and not soup.
As an entree, Bob had the catfish and I had the baked spinach and veal cannelloni.
I had the warm pinapple crepes with coconut ice cream for dessert
and Bob had the flourless chocolate cake. He went to the magic show after dinner, and I took the computer to the atrium to watch the football game.