Sunday, November 20, 2011

Samana, Dominican Republic
Unfortunately, Samana is a tender port. One of the nice things about this itinerary is it’s the only one. They just take up so much darn time. I think Samana is a relatively new port to the cruise ships so there aren’t too many excursions available. There are even fewer available with a toddler. We decided to have a beach day. This left us with two main options: first, the ship excursion to their private beach (easy but so pricey) OR second, something on our own. Somehow I became the group leader of a private excursion to a beach called Playa Rincon. Supposedly it was voted in the top ten Caribbean beaches by Conde Nast. Getting there involved the tender, a 40 min taxi, and a 10-15 ride on a little tiny open air boat. Very exciting!

The beach was fantastic. Very few people (in retrospect I'm not sure there was anyone else there other than our group of 10), super clear, warm water and what may have been the softest white sand I’ve ever encountered. G loved playing in the water and digging in the sand. She can pretty much do it for hours. After a bit we had a very nice lunch at an open air palapa restaurant. While we ate our BBQ’d chicken I watched some men shaving the bark off some logs with machetes in preparation to build another palapa. Hmmm, machetes.

Driving through the DR made me feel like we were in another time. We saw lots of stray dogs as well as roaming donkeys and goats. There were even men and women walking down the street balancing huge baskets of stuff on their heads—no hands!!

Back on the ship we showered up and went to dinner. The food was pretty good. Again, I haven’t come across any dish that’s been particularly good but it gets us by. A lot of people skip the included restaurants and go to the upcharge places. Bobby and I have talked about it and it just seems like we can get by on the included food. I guess we could change our mind at some point. So far, my favorite dish has been the wild mushroom quesadilla. Yum! Next best was the buffalo wings.

G wanted to go to the kids club again but we’d just missed the group as they’d gone to a magic show. Plus, she was so tired after her big day and only a 30 min nap in the taxi we thought we should get her to bed.

Off the tender and waiting for the last few members of our group
G playing in the sand which was of the very, very soft white variety
Notice the "sand toys"? One of our goals for our $50 cab ride to wal mart had been to pick G up some sand toys. I figured its Miami, should be no problem even though its November. Ummm, no. The employees I asked looked at me like I was crazy. So I picked up a cheap stack of plastic cups, a couple dollar kitchen spoons, and a water pitcher. I also nabbed the cheapie plastic ice bucket from the hotel we stayed in. G didn't even notice they weren't the conventional toys and had a great time!

Ahhh, this is the life...

This is just a picture I took of the beach. It was so beautiful I kind of wished I would have brought my big camera on the trip.

On the boat ride back. G takes every opportunity to do the hands up/roller coaster thing. Goof.

We had an awesome day. I am so glad we managed to put this trip together. This was especially true after talking to some of my fellow cruisers who were less than thrilled with what was offered in Samana. Several were very unhappy with the town and had experiences so bad they were questioning why the ship would even sail.

Tomorrow: Tortola!

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