With all the things not going on and all, things worked out for us to take a little trip South with some other folks from around here to just get away. We went to the Dominican Republic, which is from Atlanta about a three-and-a-half-hour flight. Since no one else is going anywhere, the Atlanta airport was probably about as crowded as it was in the ‘50’s and getting through all the different security procedures was a breeze.
Our ride was a 737-900 ER, which is a good-sized plane, and there were about 25 passengers on board. It seats 180. I have no idea what things were like in the back, but in first class we got a couple of snack boxes and a couple bottles of wine. I watched the Ford v. Ferrari movie on the way down. I could watch that every day.
We stayed in a fairly vast resort area called Casa de Campo, in an area about 40 minutes southeast of Puta Cana airport. It was a pretty nice 4-bedroom villa with a private pool. It came with staff that made breakfast every morning and cleaned up after us.
On day three, the guys went deep sea fishing. We were picked up in a van at 8:30 a.m. and taken to the marina and to the boat. The boat was a 30-foot cabin cruiser and a three-man crew consisting of the usual captain, mate, and a boy who fetched beer out of the cooler for us. I don’t know what his job really was. I was told he was to be an interpreter, but he couldn’t do that at all. With the crew, there was barely room for us, and one of us had to sit in the “fighting chair,” which was a lawn chair facing aft and in a state of disrepair. One of our guys tied it together so it would support a person.
Just like in Mexico, there was no safety equipment such as life jackets, fire extinguishers, radio, or radar. The fishing equipment however, was first rate: Penn Reels International. The bait was wahoo.
We weren’t uncomfortable, but there was no room to move around, and the head was not useable. About halfway through what was supposed to be an eight-hour day, one of the rods had a fish on, and it really put up a protest. One of the other guys (who cannot be named) brought it to the surface, a 75-pound wahoo, about 5-feet long. It was not real happy being in the boat, and the mate had to beat it into submission with a short club. He tossed it into a compartment in the back of the boat and we continued on. We also hooked a barracuda, but it slipped off.
Around 3 p.m. the boat headed back to the marina, so we got back at 4 p.m. We were supposed to be fishing until 5 p.m., but we really wanted off that little boat, so we didn’t mind. We asked if someone would clean the fish for us and take it to our villa. They smiled, said yes and then just took off with the fish laying on the dock. The other two guys found a table and butchered the fish with what must have been a very sharp pocketknife, bagged it up and got it to the house. The carcass was given to a guy walking by who seemed thrilled to have it.
The filets we bagged and took back with us amounted to over 30 pounds of fish. Michelle cooked wahoo steaks that night and made ceviche with it the rest of the week. We gave away over half of it to the house staff. Wahoo is a really meaty, rich fish so no one can eat much more than about eight ounces of it at a time.
It was like all fishing experiences, worth doing. We had a great time and brought home dinner and then some.
Like other Caribbean countries, the Dominican Republic is a dichotomy of cultures. The famous frequent the resort we were in, and some own homes there. The staff live differently, most taking public transportation to and from their own homes a fair distance away. Others have tiny living quarters in the back of the resort villas like ours. At the end of the week we were appreciative of the service rendered by our staff, so we exceeded the suggested amount for gratuity on our last day there just before we were taken to the airport, and paid in cash. Our staff was assaulted that afternoon and relieved of their cash.
The trip home was just as trouble-free. This time the plane (the same one) had 15 passengers, with Michelle and I being two of the three in first class. I watched the same movie (I can’t stop watching it), and we landed in Atlanta a half-hour early.
It was indeed good to get home. Until the next adventure.