Sad news today: from that day on, we will be missing the team of Jennifer and John whose father passed away. While group was preparing to head to Terrenas, DR, John and Jennifer were making arrangements to head back to Canada. Everyone was very disappointed: Jennifer and John had already made many friends with whom they looked forward to sharing this experience.
Departing from San Salvador was easy and stress free as it is always in small island airports. Flight plans where faxed to the tower day prior to departure. We had a long journey ahead of us so we departed at 8:30. Our fuel stop along the way was Inagua Bahamas ( MYIG) Island of Sea Salt, Flamingos, and Sunken Treasure and so close to Cuba that on clear days you can see its coast line. It is there that the Morton Salt Company has the second largest solar saline operation in North America. They produce one million tons of sea salt a year! Morton Salt was happy to support the community in the hosting of the GGC Cup and kindly contributed 40 x 50$ fuel coupons to be applied to participants fuel purchase on site. This very appreciated contribution helped offset the Bahamas newest fee of 50$ per plane. Mrs. Colebrook Island administrator and primary school students as well as Morton Salt representatives welcomed the pilots at the airport with music and songs and gift bags. Refuelling took longer than expected but it was an opportunity for kids to visit the planes
Noon, Wheels up ! Next destination: El Catey Airport (MDCY), Dominican Republic. Always in touch with Miami Center or DR controller, this flight from Inagua to Dominican Republic would be the longest leg overwater: 100 NM
Though weather was not an issue, some pilots chose to do a full procedure vor with a dme arc to runway 7 for practice…
A welcome delegation was waiting at the airport with coconut refreshments. Custom clearance was facilitated by airport manager and customs officers. Carlos, DR tourism representative joined us there and was to spend the full two days with the group in Terrenas. The “slowly but safely” bus ride to the small town of Terrenas was an opportunity to enjoy the scenery. The peninsula of Samana has one of the Caribbean’s most stunning landscapes: Hundreds of cozy alcove beaches with turquoise clear waters, waterfalls & protected national parks. Samana is one of the breeding places of the humpback whale as thousands come to the coast off Samaná from January to March.
We checked in at the beautiful apartment resort of Albachiarra located on the beach in the center of Terrenas.
Apartments are two story and decorated with a Mediterranean touch. Terrenas has a distinct European flavor . From the hotel we could walk to the many beach bars, restaurants and shops. That afternoon, Josefine, owner of the hotel, organised a meeting with young kids attending the school of Centro educativo de Terrenas. Air rally ladies were happy to hand out the gifts and school supplies they brought with them.
The next day we boarded 17 ATVs. The group led by Patrick and his team took us for a fantastic ride across the countryside on the “Route de Café” The tour was professionally guided and we experienced the magic of the only “Egg tree” … not to be missed on your next visit to Terrenas…. We tasted the coffee the chocolate the medicinal drink of “Mamajuana”: Honey, rum wine and herbs. We stopped at Santi’s ranch for lunch. Santi is a Spanish national settled in Dominican Republic for over 15 years..Photo: Santi on the left.
The more adventurous ones jumped on a horse for a ride to the spectacular waterfalls of El Limon, others went to the beach on ATVs. This tour was one of the highlights of the rally. Everyone enjoyed it very much.
In the afternoon pilots gathered for a clinic on how to file the Caribbean EAPIS: Caricom. This was needed to enter Nevis, St-Lucia and Antigua. Caricom filed! Ready to go! Pilots have an apprehension about eapis. As everything, it is just a question of practice.
In the evening, a small group experienced a romantic candle light dinner prepared by Gérard Prystasz owner and Chef of the Hotel Restaurant Atlantis and private chef of former President Mitterrand. The restaurant is located on one of the Peninsula’s most beautiful beaches: Playa Bonita. Others chose to have a casual diner in town.
Tomorrow will bring another experience: Nevis