Yesterday we waited excitedly for the Eastern Caribbean weather update from Chris Parker and then double checked our GRIB files this morning and it looks like we are all systems go to cross the Mona Passage over to the Dominican Republic!! In just a few short hours we will be heading out to sea for a two day passage to a new country.
The Mona Passage is the straight that separates Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The stretch of water is notorious for creating some less than desirable conditions created by several things: The straight is only 80 miles across with large islands on either side. The straight is also quite shallow – just a few hundred feet deep, with some even shallower spots. The Puerto Rico Trench lies just to the north of the Mona Passage which has the second deepest point in the world at 28,000 ft. To the south the Caribbean sea is also thousands of feet deep. The amount of water that has to flow through this skinny, shallow cut produces lots of energy which can translate into confused seas and tricky currents. The Mona Passage deserves respect and we are happy to oblige.
Our weather forecast calls for winds so light (sometimes less than 10 kts…I’ll believe it when I see it!) that we will probably have to motor sail and seas in the 2-4 ft range. These super calm conditions should give us a boring couple of days out on the water, which is exactly what we want. We are heading all the way to the north coast of the Domincan Republic to a town called Luperón, about 248 miles northwest of Boquerón, Puerto Rico. Leaving at noon today should put us there Tuesday mid-morning. We will be able to see the DR tomorrow morning and then follow the coast around to Luperón. HOPEFULLY somewhere between here and there I will spot a whale. Humpback whales migrate back to the North Atlantic via the Mona Passage, so I am crossing all my fingers that I get to experience whale watching from Stella Blue – a goal of mine since we set out a year ago.
As usual, we will use our Spot to track our progress and check our sat phone for texts in the morning. Adios Puerto Rico!