Marina ZarPar and Boca Chica

It's Marina ZarPar in the Dominican Republic

It’s Marina ZarPar in the Dominican Republic

Eventually I did arrive at Marina ZarPar in Boca Chica. The marina is comfortable and offers all the usual yachting services (though at a premium), from laundry to WiFi. Even free transport to the local supermarket. But it suffers one large drawback (for me anyway).

View from the marina

View from the marina

A marina that does not allow me to bring visitors onto the premises, or to my boat, will inevitably get poor reviews. To be fair, it is possible. Just pay a fee and sign the person on as temporary crew. But frankly, I find this requirement both cumbersome and borderline insulting.

My boat is my house, and I feel I have the right to invite anyone I please to it. Locals with boats at the marina have no such restriction! So what gives?

Now that I have expressed my indignation, I’ll switch to the proverbial “good stuff”… and even allude to the reasons why I find the marina rules so restrictive… 😉

Marina ZarPar is well placed, beside a popular beach that extends all the way to Boca Chica, and this beach is where “it” all happens.

One continuous party extending for miles.

Pictures describe the scene better than any words so without further ado let me present:

Life is a beach in Boca Chica

Life is a beach in Boca Chica

The beach.

See if you can spot the tourist in this photo!

As you can see, if you want crowds…, no problem,

Waiter...., bring me a beer!

Waiter…., bring me a beer!

If you are more the 5 star beach resort type…

Lay down on your deck chair and order pina coladas to your hearts content.

I think I will go and chill out over here...

I think I will go and chill out over here…

Want to idle away a few hours in rustic solitude…

Pull up a chair!

Fantastic! But what makes the Dominican Republic a must see tourist destination in my book are the people. Why?

For a start nobody here is camera shy. What a joy to have someone smile at you when you take their photo instead of looking at you as if you had just committed a crime.

Now don't be camera shy...

Now don’t be camera shy…

See what I mean?

The only place I’ve visited that displayed a similarly positive reaction to my camera was the Cape Verde Islands.

I'll buy 10!

I’ll buy 12!

For a smile like that I’ll buy a dozen bags of peanuts!

Who's up for a banana ride?

Who’s up for a banana ride?

Over Easter everyone was out to have a good time.

Music please maestro!!

Music please maestro!!

To the accompaniment of bachata music to be sure, whether on the beach

Music in the streets!

Music in the streets!

or in the streets.

Hello sailor...

Hello sailor…

I even found a bar that catered exclusively to sailors! Sort of…

Not quite the usual fish & chips

Not quite the usual fish & chips

Hungry? Take your pick. Fine dining or the Dominican Republic’s version of fish and chips.


Would you like to see my boat?

Would you like to see my boat?

I could have stayed a month or a lifetime…! If the marina had allowed me visitors.

Barahona not Boca Chica

One route to Barhona in the Dominican Republic

One route to Barhona in the Dominican Republic

It took almost 4 days to reach Barahona in the Dominican Republic from Ile a Vache, averaging approximately 50 nautical miles a day. Not a “Speedy Gonzales” effort, but fast enough to have my new friends (Andy and Trudy in the catamaran “Manureva”), when I met them again in Boca Chica (two days later), wondering about their boats performance.

Well my friends, I was cheating!

Without the aid of my little 10HP Beta Marine diesel, not only would I have taken much longer, but I might have found myself wrecked upon the eastern side of Cabo Beata.

After a night fighting a loosing battling for that all important “sea-room”, I voted on a “special dispensation” to start the motor. Despite the fact that my fuel reserves running worryingly low. While many sailors believe it is a cardinal sin to motor-sail, I’ve never claimed to be one of these “purists” and believe that if I have to lug an engine around in my boat, I might as well get some use from it. Especially when the alternative is running aground on a lee shore.

So you can see why I made such rapid progress and why I decided it might be prudent for me to make an unscheduled stop to stock up on more fuel.

The tiny marina in Barahona

The tiny marina in Barahona

Besides, Barahona is an interesting town and while I only stayed long enough to check-in with the authorities, I’d recommend it to other sailors as an agreeable port of call.

I had fun riding on the back of a motor scooter carrying my jerry-cans to the service station, listening to bachata music and having an informal beer with the immigration officer (out of office hours of course)!