Punta Canta: THURSDAY OCTOBER 24, 2002

This story features information about our trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Join us — won’t you? — for this long-delayed fourth installment, in which the skies open, Wendy dives again, we eat Italian, and shoot a few rounds.

Today, we optimistically set the clock for 7:30am (it gets light early here!), but we finally rolled out of bed at 8:45am. It was down to the Palace’s buffet for breakfast and we learned — the hard way — to never ever be late for breakfast again — they were out of the morning’s supply of the delicious orange juice! We were still able to eat hearty, though, and the omlette guy, our new friend, taught Drew that “tortilla” means “omlette” down there. Drew tried in vain to ask what the traditional flour tortilla that we think of is called down there, but language failed us. 

After stuffing ourselves at breakfast, we waddled down to the beach to sit in the shade (near a topless girl!) and just watch the people go by.



The beautiful beaches of Punta Cana.

We noticed an interesting phenomenon with regard to topless women. While men glance at bared boobs, women out-and-out stare at them. The glance/stare seems to cross age and ethnicity barriers. Of course, Drew is the fly in that particular theory — he tries to take pictures of boobs.


Topless in the background. Squint.
Click the picture for the largest view.

Suddenly, rain clouds rolled in. And fast. We saw them coming in over the water, and had just enough time to gather our stuff and hustle back to the room before the clouds opened and drenched the area. The raindrops were giant. Wendy said that it, “Fucking Poured Ass”, which, though somewhat nonsensical, adequately describes the ferocity of the rain.



You can see the actual raindrops in this one…

It rained — hard — for about an hour, then the clouds disappeared almost as quickly as they appeared, and the sun came back out. We went out to LA PINA GRILL for lunch and met up with Ray & Belinda. We dined on Paella, turkey, beef, and hot dogs (which, we learned, are called “hot dogs” in the local’s Spanish).

Ray & Belinda had found the “Neptuno” dive shop, just past the flea market and off the Barcelo property, and wanted to dive there.


Neptuno Dive Shop

They invited us, and Drew decided not to, while Wendy accepted their offer. So, we walked down to the dive shop where Wendy, Belinda, and Ray met with Robert (short) and Robert (tall), the owners of the shop and Luna (cute) who worked there. Robert & Robert decided to honor Wendy’s first dive from yesterday and allow her to participate on a 12 meter dive.



Wendy, suited up and ready to go

Short Robert

However, Robert (tall) says that he’d stick with Wendy to make sure nothing happened to her. And stick with her he did! He held her hand the entire dive. Wendy’s report of her dive:

We took the flatboat out over the breakers into very high waves. Suited up, then another horrifying “Jacques” into the water. They moved to the front of the boat to the anchor line. Robert deflated Wendy’s BCD and down the anchor line we went. It took 5 minutes (a long time) to get to the bottom because Robert kept making us stop and equalize. At the bottom, you couldn’t see the top… A lot deeper than the first dive. 1/3 of the way down the rope felt as deep as we dove the first day. At the bottom of the line, Ray & Belinda were waiting — they waved and took pictures as Robert & I made it down. 


Tall Robert briefs Wendy before the dive

For the next 50 minutes, we had a great tour of the bottom. Lots more living coral than yesterday, and I saw giant sea fans, anglerfish (yum!), loads of “welcome wagon” fish, school of about 100 fish — yellow with leopard spots, then some yellow fish with black eyeliner, damselle fish, and 8 inch black with neon blue spotted fish.

On the way up, we had a timed safety stop before flopping back on the boat (there was no ladder). During the boat ride back, the boat captain saw a flying flamingo and wanted to chase it down for the $3000 reward, but the Roberts didn’t allow it.

We arrived safely back at the dive shop and got Wendy’s dive log signed.

During Wendy’s dive, Drew went back to the room, to the pool, the pool bar, beach, the beach bar, the pool bar, and back to Neptuno where he talked with Luna for about 20 minutes, waiting for the boat to come back. Once they were back, Wendy & Drew went back to the room to get ready for dinner with the gang. We met Rodney & Michelle and heard about their day… They were supposed to go on the Shark Trip, but were never picked up, so they went instead on the Speedboat/Snorkel tour and they loved it. Ray & Belinda joined us for a drink, then we jumped on the train to head to LOS PINOS, where we were meeting Max & Marie.

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