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Old 24-12-2009, 19:49   #1
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Dominican Republic and Haiti ?

Does anyone have any information on the safety of sailing to Haiti. We have heard that things are a little better or rather safer for sailors these days.
Would appreciate up to date information anyone has.
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Old 25-12-2009, 05:25   #2
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Witch, we have not visited Haiti recently but we did visit there in 2002 and later talked with a Belgian sailor who, while working for the UN, lived aboard his boat for 3 years there. The answer to your Q, based on our experience and his comments, is that it all depends on where you go.

Because of multiple previous reports from those who had preceded us, we chose to visit Ile a Vache, a large island of ~10,000 Haitians on the S coast. It was idyllic in many ways, completely safe (several excellent anchorages on the N shore at the W end; the people were warm, welcoming and a joy) and it was, to my mind, like finding a 1930's National Geographic and being able to walk thru the picture on the front cover. E.g. there was a shipwright building one to the typical unballasted all-purpose sailboats on the beach, just him and an apprentice, and they had two tools: a saw and a hammer. Took them most of a day to saw one or two long planks for the hull. The native women would go to the well each morning, each with a tall clay pot on their head, and the little girls would follow their moms while trying to balance their small pots. (To add some contemporary reality to the scene, the well water was a source of dysentery to the villagers, many of whom got quite ill drinking it...but they no alternative).

Ile a Vache is across the bay from Les Cayes, one of the major cities, and that's one reason its so safe to visit. The UN worker told me it's considered the 'resort area' (in fact, former French cruisers had built a hotel adjacent to the anchorage we used - altho' there were rarely any guests) and the Belgian snickered at me when I said we'd visited Haiti. "Not the real Haiti," was his reply.

I'd bet that today Ile a Vache is the exception to the rule and not typical or what one's experience might be elsewhere in Haiti, just as it was when we visited.

You'll find many threads on the DR so search is your friend. We thought the DR's S coast was excellent cruising and much more accessible than its N coast, which is usually the only one most cruisers try to visit.

Jack
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Old 25-12-2009, 05:36   #3
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thanks Jack, we have heard various things and thought I would put out the question and see what happened.
Happy Holidays
Fair winds
witchcraft
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