Located on one of the easternmost points of the peninsula, Las Galeras is arguably one of the most remote spots in the country. It’s not far from El Limón and its enchanting waterfall at the end of the Samana Peninsula.
Despite the remoteness, there are also some forms of tourism here. After all, there are no resorts here, more accommodation for individual travelers like us. We find a small cottage run by a nice Italian guy named Dario.
As long as the weather is so bad there isn’t much we can do. I think maybe we can do some motorcycling. On the street I ask a guy if I can borrow his motorbike. At first he laughs and thinks I’m joking, but then I ask him what he wants and we agree.
Jessica and I ride his little machine all day, but it doesn’t have much power and quickly gets gasped on the slopes.
After two days of storms and thunderstorms, we have the first real sunny day in Las Galeras. I want to set sail immediately in the kayak that I brought with me from Germany. The weather is warm and the wind weak. We are taken to a distant beach and paddle further out to sea without encountering any waves.
We cover a few hundred meters along the coast. Our destination is the end of the bay we are entering. The coastline changes rapidly, from idyllic beaches to sheer cliffs where waves crash. Why are waves breaking here? We notice that the wind has picked up and we are on an unfavorable line. To our left the waves are getting bigger and starting to break, to our right the current seems to be pulling us out into the open ocean.
We paddle along this narrow line, but the line is constantly changing. Eventually we get too close to the shore and the waves catch us from the side. I turn the kayak into the waves in time and we glide over it. Until a wave comes too fast. She breaks right over us and we are washed out of the boat with all our belongings.
I come back to the surface of the water and look around. The boat drifts upside down. I see other things floating around occasionally. Jessica struggles with the water. Waves suddenly break over us in unison. I swim to Jessica and hold her so that she can finally put her head above the water and breathe again. Then I pull her with me to the boat and turn it so that she can throw her arms into the kayak to steady herself. Then I push us to a beach that I notice on the coast between the cliffs. Things keep popping up from us, a paddle, my hat, which I throw into the boat.
Unfortunately my GoPro seems to have been washed away. I look around, but don’t give the small device a chance. We capsized too far out for that. Apparently I have no luck with GoPros. After losing a camera in the Philippines, this is the second camera that hasn’t found its way to my house.
I look back at Jessica, who is still having trouble breathing, and tend to her. Then I try to reach Dario with my soaked but still reasonably functional smartphone. He also picks up, but we hardly understand each other and the connection breaks down.
A large rock appears between the waves and at the last moment I navigate around it before we are washed onto the beach. I help Jessica out of the boat onto the dry beach, where she first has to get rid of the salt water in her body. I look around to see which of our things I can still find. Most of our things float in the water nearby and I can fish them out of the waves. The bag in which the inflatable kayak is packed is still firmly attached to the boat and all the objects seem to be in there too.
As soon as Jessica is feeling better, we’ll be on our way. I pack the boat, the paddles and things in the big backpack and after an hour’s walk we reach a small beach via a small trail through the jungle.
A policeman comes up to us and asks if everything is ok, if we had an accident? I say no and everything is fine. Jessica’s still in shock, but I don’t want the police to take care of us and end up charging us. In fact, there are some police officers on the beach and Dario is talking to one of them. When he sees us, he comes up to us and also asks if everything is okay and what happened. I explain to him a harmless version of what happened. “Don’t tell the police, or they want money for a large-scale search for you, which they never did!” Dario tells us that when he got my choppy call with the fragments “sunk — wrecked — in the middle of nowhere — help” he alerted the police. Yes, I’ve already told the police there was a “misunderstanding” and Dario quickly pulls us into his car before an enthusiastic officer could ask too many questions.
We are grateful to Dario for picking us up and taking care of us. When he found out that I lost my GoPro during the campaign, he immediately offered me his motorbike so that I could go looking for it the next day. I want to refuse, but he insists. He saw the photos of my motorcycle and insists that I look for the camera. Once again I am incredibly grateful to him.
Unfortunately, despite an intensive search, we were unable to locate the GoPro. The rumor may have spread that a westerner lost his expensive camera here, and the gold rush has already started.
For us, however, the day on the motorbike is actually the most beautiful one. We drive through the jungle, through the water and over the beach. On the streets there are no rules and no speed limit, instead there are goats, chickens, children, potholes, trucks and also a lot of nothing. I ride in sandals and an open shirt, there are no helmets, the front brakes don’t work at all, you can forget about the rear, all parts are rusted and all instruments are broken…
And I drive my speed and suddenly there is no road. I cripple through a lunar landscape and end up in a river that used to be the road, hoping you don’t drown in a hole.
Then I’m on the beach and I’m racing through the flattened sand, sliding here and there through the area, up down, into the tight corner, yeeeaahh… When does one feel so alive and free?
It’s warm and driving is extremely fun. Even if the camera was expensive, this beautiful day is worth it.