We are here in Santo Domingo, hurray! We were able to 'sleep-in' today since the ferry did not leave until 1030. Jailbird took Sharkbait, Steph, Opie and his wife e-Stitch to the ferry port at 0800 since 1) Steph was traveling back to Colorado on the 'big' airplane (she only had 2 weeks vacation) 2) Sharkbait, Opie & e-Stitch flew to Grenada enroute to Brazil for their 'below the equator' run. We'll meet back up with them when we arrive to Grenada on April 22.
We got on the 1030 ferry, and after arrival to Trellis Bay, a van carried us the very-short distance to the terminal. We had pre-filled out our GenDecs at home so we proceded to the west (arrivals) door then pounded on the door (which was closed since no planes were inbound). A guard opened up, we showed him our pilot license and GenDecs then he escorted us to the Immigration office. No money was exchanged and he kept one of the GenDecs then sent us back out the door to pay the departure tax.
If there's one thing you need to know about Island life is "Patience is the key here in the islands". What you think should be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time may take much longer than you think. I was first in line to pay the 'little planes' departure tax for my passenger ($40 since Tuppergal could not produce a pilot's license). All week, the locals on the ramp referred to us as "The Little Planes".
After paying, Tuppergal/I went through the security line like everyone else, except you show your Pilot's license along with your Passport, and that is your 'ticket' to the ramp (unescorted access). We figured Keys, Jailbird and Indira would be right behind us...No, didn't happen. They were at least an hour inside...we had time to pull their planes off the grass to the ramp, and sort their luggage next to the planes. And we waited while it rained (short bursts then the sun comes out.
I believe we departed Beef Island around 1300 for the just-less-than-two-hour flight. We had quite the showers in the BVI area, and I actually called Axel to get a PIREP for Puerto Rico. He gave me a great one, and we departed with a little bit of zigging and zagging to get out of Beef Island. Once we cleared the western edge of Puerto Rico, it was clear skies. While enroute, I checked the GPS route that included our next over-water leg to Curaçao, and at 160 knots, flight time on Friday (April 19) is planned at 2 hours 15 minutes from Santo Domingo (MDSD) to Curaçao (TNCC).
Upon arriving the the eastern coastline of the DR, it was overcast with big puffies over the entire island, and we got rained on the last 40 miles. The controller had me at 3500' on a westbound
heading. I had to follow the coastline for a direct entry to the right downwind for runway 17 as I could not get to a base entry as requested. We flew the last 10 miles in light rain and funny thing was we got wet on downwind but not on the runway.
Customs was easy to get through since we NEVER had to go see them. The FBO Servair (and representative Jose) was very helpful after we ´called off´ the handlers that wanted to charge us for something we could do ourselves (Thank you Jim Parker). We finally convinced somebody that we needed to tie the planes in the grass and were allowed to place the nose in the grass just enough to beat a stake in the ground and tie the wings down (tail is not tied down).
We will be here for two nights so we have a full day planned on Thursday (April 18) starting with a 5-hour tour to see old town Santo Domingo.
For Friday (April 19), our goal is to depart the hotel at 0800 and be in the air by 1100 for Curaçao. We'll fill the tanks there then I'll be a 2-ship with Keys to Bonaire for some great diving. Jailbird/Indira will spend one night in Curaçao and two nights in Bonaire.
Thanks again for following along and keep poundin´them rivets!
Rosie & Tuppergal
Ground track of Today's flying courtesy of Daryl Tolliver
Notice that we had to again stay north of the island because the clouds form over