The pickup time was slated for 8:00 am. That gave me just enough time to shower up, get dressed, return the rental car, and head over to the main reception with the guys. Today’s fun-time activity: Catamaran sailing between Playa Dorada and Sosua. One of those rough necessities of a Caribbean holiday, I suppose.
The bus picked us up sometime closer to 8:30. About the only thing that happens on time are TV shows and maybe flights on Island Standard Time. While people in other cultures try to downplay how long things will take, i.e. “just a minute,” or “two seconds,” islanders let you know that it will take a while… “One Dominican minute,” they say. Which could be anything from one actual minute to all afternoon.
It took us one or two Dominican minutes for our little bus to round everyone up at their resorts and drop us off at the beach, where we waded into the water and climbed aboard the Freetsyle II. We were pretty much the only Americans on board, the rest being Brits with varying degrees of sunburn and dental issues. Our objective for the day: Sail fast, snorkel deep, and make fun of the boatload of Aussies on the Freestyle I. Oi! Oi! Oi!
Sometimes, there’s nothing like cat sailing. It’s relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. You have the rocking motion that can lull you to sleep or throw you off your balance. There’s plenty of room to lay out and sun yourself to a crisp, while cool water occasionally splashes up from beneath you. And when Duran Duran’s “Rio” comes on the sound system, you can hang off the bow pretending to be Simon LeBon. Which we did, and the passengers who were old enough gave an appreciative snicker.
The anchor dropped at a reef near Sosua and we jumped in for a nice snorkeling session. We fed the fish, avoided landing on any of the gigantic sea urchins, and generally had a good time of floating around with our faces buried in the water. It was a bit crowded with everyone snorkeling the same reef, so Elena and I followed J’s lead of swimming toward the outskirts. Peaceful, floating bliss.
Back aboard, the bar opened up, and Mariela did a good job making sure we were never, ever without a beer or rum drink. Sometimes we were double fisting ‘em, unable to drink them as fast as she could make them. Every few seconds, she’d shout “Who needs anodder beer!?” “Beer, rum, or sex!?” The latter part was in reference to her specialty, Sex on the Boat. A cocktail. Along the way, I met my Dominican twin, Felix. Aside from a wider nose, curlier hair, and much darker complexion, we looked like we could be brothers. Freaky.
The crew and other passengers made for quite the festive atmosphere as we made our way to Three Rocks, our next snorkeling destination. With deeper and cooler water, it was a more refreshing swim. We ended our session there in a cannonball contest, competing for a bottle of Brugal rum. Eight of us lads or so had a go of launching ourselves off the side of the boat, trying to make the biggest splash we can. Winners were chosen by applause, and with a huge Mancunian contingent, there was no way team San Francisco could win.
The way back was even more fun and drunken. The crew put on a little dance show, and then some of us were pulled up to strut our own stuff with “Follow the Leader,” some local form of line dancing with a lot of clapping, a lot of putting hands in the air, and uncomfortably strange on a rocking boat, synchronized jumping around. We had plenty more drinks, learned and forgot a few Spanish phrases, and Elena exchanged numbers with Mariela so we could party in Cofresi later.
That’d be a Dominican “later.” We never made it out again.