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Sailing Vessel Beruta Ship's Log

To be a man, one should plant a tree, build a house
have a son and look at his creations through... the bars.
(The ancient eastern wisdom with the Caribbean accent)

Curacao – Dominican Republic – Jail

Curacao - Dominicana
26 - 28 April 2013

The events of those days were recorded in my laptop that had been confiscated by the police among the other things. Hence, not many details left in my memory after five and a half months of imprisonment.

Anyway, a day prior to the voyage I had properly cleared customs and immigrations and had all necessary documents on board including so called "despacho", which clearly stated my departure and destination ports, a boat registration and valid Canadian and Russian passports.

The trip to DR started early in the morning around 7 o'clock local Curacao time. I lifted the anchor, left Spanish Waters, then went around the eastern point of Curacao and took course to the north. My destination ought to be the marina Cap Cana, located on the east shore of Hispaniola island, about one and a half miles south of the popular resort Punta Cana. The distance is 400 nautical miles or a little over three days of sailing.

The wind was ENE 15-25 knots plus the eastern current 0.5 - 1 knot. I had to sail close hauled all the time. The wind usually increased overnight. Then with a flashlight I had to replace a genoa with a jib and take reefs on the main. In the morning the sails were changed again.

29 April 2013

Last day the wind shifted to the north, so I had to help with an engine to stay on course and counteract the current from Mona passage that is between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. I was also in a hurry to get to marina during working hours and clear the formalities. I could have sailed easily to marina Casa de Campo near La Romana that is on the south coast of the island but I had an agreement with my ex-wife who lives in Bavaro that was close to Can Cana.

I intended to visit my 2-year old daughter Yana, who lived with her mom and a new dad. On my last voyage to DR in January we made a written notarized agreement where I stated that every 3 months I would pay child support and see Yana.

Around 20 miles to DR I passed the fishing open boat with a single man driving his vessel between waves using the outboard motor. I thought that if something was going to happen to it, it would have been impossible to row relatively big boat back to the land in such conditions. I even doubted that he had any oars and radio. Without VHF it would be extremely difficult to seek help.

Then I passed the Saona island on my port that was hardly seen on the horizon. Approximately at 1PM I rounded the south-eastern corner of Hispaniola. 30 minutes later a powerboat with 4 or 5 men passed me in a cable or so on my portside. They were moving slowly against the waves; therefore, for some time we were going parallel to each other. Then the boat took Beruta over and motored towards Puerto Rico or perhaps just east to stay away from the reefs.

Approximately between 2 and 3 PM local time around 7-8 nautical miles south of Cap Cana on my starboard I was approached by a drug control power boat (DNCD) with 4 men armed with guns and automatic guns. I was busy removing the jib and did not see them in advance.

They only spoke Spanish. I knew a few Spanish words but not many and could hardly understand the officers. I said that I was sailing from Curacao to Cap Cana. They asked to see my papers. Two men boarded Beruta colliding with her and breaking my toe rail when they got close without fenders. I was very disappointed by the collision and thought I should have reported it to IMO but that was nothing compared to the following events.

The first thing DNCD officers did was ask if I had a satellite phone.

I had not. They confiscated me cellular phone immediately after. Then they asked for documents. I had all the necessary papers including Canadian boat registration certificate, license for VHF equipment, radio operator certificate, the IYT professional captain license, despacho issued by Curacao customs that clearly stated the departure and destination ports, dates, boat information and ownership, the crew list issued by Curacao immigration, and valid Canadian and Russian passports.

After reviewing my Canadian passport, they said that I was not allowed to come to DR because I did not have visa and because I was in DR in January. I knew that all these were not true and just showed that either they just needed an excuse for my arrest or do not know the immigration rules. I tried to explain as much as I could that most vessels clear customs, immigration and drug control authorities in a marina upon arrival. Sailors pay $10 to get visa and about $150 in other fees.

DNCD officers did not allow me to touch anything, especially electronics. I had to argue with them to be able to remove the sun shade, which interfered with manual steering. They urinated on the bow against the wind and peed themselves and my deck all over! "Do they know anything about the sea?" I was thinking in my head. "Do they know how to shoot?" Later they proved that this they could do extremely well!

On my chartplotter they found a line, which I drawn to keep Beruta off the reefs near Cap Cana. Because the only way to draw a line on a Raymarine chartplotter was to make a route, the destination point of this line happened to be a little north of marina Cap Cana, which I did not care but which made the officers think that I was sailing somewhere else.

When we arrived in Cap Cana 1.5 - 2 hours later, the marina was full. That surprised me because on my last 2 visits it had been empty.

I had not made reservation. (This, of course, increased the suspicion of the officers about my destination.) The marina only had room along the concrete wall meant for bigger boats. My fenders did not really work because of the ribs on the wall.

The mooring lines were tearing off the wall. The DNCD officers put cuffs on my hands behind my back and ordered me to sit still in the cockpit.

After couple of hours their chief arrived and began investigating my chartplotter, making pictures on his camera.

One or two hours later a woman came who spoke little English. She was the prosecutor from Bavaro Politur. Her name as I found later was Elisabeth Rigo. She might have brought the orders for my arrest and to search the boat. During the search I had to assist the officers with my hands behind my back still in cuffs. I accidentally tightened them up and hurt my wrists. They refused to loosen my cuffs for another hour or two until we got to the police station.

They did not find anything illegal on my boat. They took my documents, banking cards, approximately $3000 USD in cash, two laptops, memory cards and keys from the boat. Most of the money was for my daughter. I had locked the boat but found later that most of it could have been sold out by pieces. I should have requested from the prosecutor a complete list of all the things on Beruta.

In Bavaro police station POLITUR they only made a list of things that they took with them.

I asked to inform Canadian and Russian Embassies of my arrest. The promised to do it next day but did it only 3 days later. I also asked to call my ex-wife Liliia. They gave me my cell phone for 5 minutes but it did not work, perhaps due to the roaming and insufficient balance in my account. The police did not allow me to use their phones.

While they were busy with papers, another man looking like Dominican, all covered with blood walked in. His arms were wounded. This proved that they did know how to shoot. Later in jail I saw many people with wounded arms and legs in casts.

The police asked if we knew each other. We both said "no". Later I found from the act of my arrest that they caught the man with some kilos of cocaine in his car that was arrested somewhere near La Romana. They thought I was going to move the drugs to Puerto Rico. On the first report there had been 39 kg of drugs but next day this figure was dropped to 6 kg. Well, police officers also have to support their families.

Besides the chart plotter's waypoints there was one more "evidence" of my involvement in drug trafficking - the recorded phone call. That was why the DNCD had been looking for a satellite phone on Beruta, and on numerous occasions had been trying to catch me in speaking Spanish fluently. The phone call was a real mystery; perhaps, something that was fabricated against me. Initially the prosecution was saying that it was me who spoke with the guy caught with drugs and the conversation was in Spanish. Later they changed the language to English. Even later the whole conversation was changed again back to Spanish but this time it was not me on the phone but somebody else had been speaking about some little sailboat that had already been arrested in some marine and searched for drugs with a help of a dog! Also, this recorded conversation had been done over cellular phones, not the satellite, at 18:35 local time.

Well, my boat was arrested by that time but it was searched much later and there were no dogs! Besides, in the conversation they did not mention that it had been the same boat that was supposed to transfer drugs.

Later that night the police moved both of us across the country to Santo Domingo DNCD headquarters and put in jail.

1 May 2013

Two days later (with no food or water for the entire time) I was interrogated by 2 USA DEA special agents. They explained that their role in the DR was to mentor and advise.

Arrest of Beruta

As I found from the news, Americans also sold DNCD an unmanned airplane that DNCD used to intercept phone calls and took bearings on the location of a call. This meant that there was another boat close to mine. And indeed there was a power boat that motored along Beruta approximately one hour before the DNCD arrived. Of course, they did not see that on their radar.

In my file I found the coordinates of the satellite phone: 18°30'N 068°11'W. This point was 11 miles exactly east of the entrance to marina Cap-Cana! I was arrested approximately 1.5 miles off the shore and 8 miles south of the entrance. From that position to the satphone location was 15 nautical miles or 4 hours of sailing! (At that time, against the wind, waves and the current I was making less than 4 knots.)

The DEA agents also said that if the connection with Puerto Rico became clear, then there was a possibility of transferring me to the US court.

The DEA agents appeared to be on my side and after I explained the chart plotter thing, they said that they would talk to DNCD immediately. I had thought that I would have been released the next day.

2 May 2013

But next day around 5 AM three of us (another young Dominican fellow was arrested in connection with this case) were moved to Higuey court along with the DNCD report (see page 1, page 2 and page 3). On the second page they mentioned that I was arrested 6 nautical miles of marina Cap Cana but did not indicate in which direction: north, east or south. On the last page, there is also a list of confiscated things, which is easier to read.

At that time I was able to get hold of a husband of my ex-wife, and asked him to find me English speaking lawyer for me, and he did.

The lawyer was able to postpone the court till May 7 based on the fact that I did not have an interpreter.

I was brought into so called "preventivo" - a local prison with absolutely unhuman conditions. In a 12 square meter cell (3 of which were taken for the toilet) the police kept 30 to 35 people! No food and very little water (300-400 ml per person a day). Prisoners had to pay 150 peso per cell for water to take showers twice a day.

Right after the police locked me in one of these cells, Gabriella, a girl from the Canadian consulate in Bavaro, paid me a visit. She collected some information from me mainly to notify interested parties about my situation, said that Canada could not interfere with the Dominican system because it would be a diplomatic scandal, purchased me cola with donuts and left, promising to visit me again in 3 months. The Russian consulate never showed up.

The television and newspapers were all talking about DEA and DNCD successful operation of intercepting a large amount of cocaine. Our names were announced and the pictures printed all over the internet. In the news we were already pleaded guilty before the court!

The prosecutor wanted $30,000 USD for my release. Because this information was from the third party, it was difficult to judge its reliability. Theoretically, I could have used all my limit of the credit card to pay this amount but there was a huge risk that the money would just disappear in my lawyers' pockets or somebody's else and I would stay in jail. The lawyers promised to free me within 25 days for only $6,500 USD. If at that time I knew that it had taken almost 6 months and cost more than $30 grands in various legal and illegal fees, then I might have tried to pay the prosecutor.

7 May 2013 (Tuesday)

The court was postponed again till Thursday May 9.

9 May 2013

Here is what the DNCD told to the prosecution: page 1, page 2, page 3 and page 4. On page 3 there are phone numbers that were tapped and conversations recorded. My phone numbers are not in the list. Based on this information the prosecution submitted to the court the following document: page 1 and page 2. On the second page, the prosecutor Pedro Nunez asked the judge for 12 months of preventive imprisonment. Instead the judge decided to give the prosecution in regards to my case 3 months to collect the evidence against me and ordered to keep me in jail despite the fact that the lawyers asked for the bail.

Anamuya prison
11 May 2013 (Saturday)

I was moved to a new large modern prison in Anamuya. It had 8 pavilions with 24 cells in each one: 12 cells on the first floor and 12 on the second. A cell had 6 people. Each cell had a toilet and a sink. The shower was in a pavilion for all cells. Each pavilion had a patio, which was half of the basketball field. Besides it, the jail also had 2 full basketball fields and a baseball one, which was also used to play soccer. Between the playgrounds and fences there were fruits and vegetable gardens. Their produce was mainly sold outside of the prison and on a black market. There were a library, a so-called hospital and even rooms for sex for those lucky ones who had their wives or girlfriends.

The food was provided three times a day. For a breakfast it was either a cacao or a porridge, both unpleasantly sweet. For a lunch it was always rice with beans, sometimes with a spoon of vegetables (toyota or eggplant) or small pieces of chicken or salty can fish. For supper most of the time there were boiled green bananas called platanos with a piece of a boiled sausage.

Drinking water of not very good quality was provided but was not easy to get. Once a day they brought 6 20-liter bottles to each pavilion. This was never enough for all 150 inmates. The line formed momentarily and one had to be very quick to be the first, otherwise, you were forced to buy water in the cafeteria or minimarket.

In the cafeteria there was slightly better choice of meal. For 100 peso ($2.5USD) it was possible to get a dish of potato with chicken. Salad plate cost 80 peso. 5-liter bottle of water - 60. A glass of fresh juice - 30. Together with a salad, this was the only source of vitamins.

In the minimarket they sold fish cans, milk, cheese, sausage, chocolate, soft drinks, soap, washing powder, toothpaste, clorox, telephone cards. The last ones were used also as a currency. The real money were forbidden. They could be exchanged for tickets at the reception. The tickets could be used to buy stuff in the cafeteria or the minimarket.

The newcomers were held in a maximum security pavilion A-1 for about a month. Then they might be transferred to other pavilions. The problem with A-1 was that it was locked all the time. They opened the patio only afternoon for about an hour. Other pavilions were open for couple of hours after breakfast and three hours afternoon.

2 June 2013

One of Russian inmates, Andrei, was released on bail, and I had an opportunity to tell the world about my case. I wrote an article for a web site that many cruising yachtsmen use as a valuable and reliable resource to plan their voyages. Andrei sent it to my friend in Canada Guennadi who then typed and emailed it to I wanted to warn other sailors about the danger of sailing in Dominican waters but has refused to publish my article for a very strange reason. You may read their reply at the end of the article. No wonder that other people refer to Noonsite in regards to my case saying that if something like that happened, it would have been published there. Well, now I know that I can't really trust their information.

3 June 2013

Due to efforts of all Russians (there were 6 of us initially) I was finally transferred to the international pavilion B-2 from A-1, the maximum security one. Half of the prisoners in B-2 were Haitians, the rest - from all over the world.

19 June 2013

The appeal in San Pedro court was finally set for 11 July 2013.

11 July 2013

The court was closed due to yesterday's thunderstorm. Funny, ah?

12 July 2013

The court was open. The police brought me in but my lawyers did not know about it. The hearing was postponed.

19 July 2013

The new court date in San Pedro was set to 30 July 2013.

30 July 2013

I was brought to the court by 11AM. My lawyers, Casimiro Beltre and Isidro Frias Castillo, were there but they did not bother to find an official interpreter. I told them many times that without the interpreter there would be no court! Could you believe that the Dominican lawyers did not know elementary things or perhaps, they did know but then why didn't they care? The court was postponed again.

1 August 2013

There was hearing in lower court in Higuey without me, so-called a case revision since 3 months given to the prosecution had passed and by the law they should either ask for an extension that was more than likely, provide formal accusation within 10 working days or let me free.

The good news was that there were no formal accusation, meaning that I still had a chance to be freed.

5 August 2013

My lawyers submitted a paper to the prosecution asking to either provide an accusation or free me.

15 August 2013

The once again appeal in San Pedro was postponed to 5 September 2013 due to the fact that the lawyers did not bother to check whether my name was in list for prisoners to bring to the court. I told them many times to do that but they simply ignored me.

19 August 2013

There was a court in Higuey but again I was not in the list and as the result was brought to the court late when the hearing was over. Everybody including the interpreter, were there. As far as I understood, the paper that was submitted to the prosecution on August 5, got to the court only on August 15. Therefore, 10 working days were counted starting August 15th but because of the holidays on August 16-18, they started counting from 19th. Hence, another 2 weeks in prison or more.

5 September 2013

The court in San Pedro. The same story - the interpreter did not show up! The lawyers said that this appeal was no longer necessary because the prosecution gave them the certificate confirming "no accusation" thing. It cost me $5,000 USD. The money supposedly were paid to the prosecutor in Higuey Pedro Nunez. At least, some good news! Now the lawyers needed to make another hearing in Higuey where the judge would make a decision of my freedom.

Yana Poliakevitch
8 September 2013

The birthday of Yana, my daughter. I was preying God to let me out of this prison by this date but it did not help. All her presents that I was bringing from Curacao, were still waiting for her on Beruta.

19 September 2013

One month passed since the judge in Higuey ordered to free me in 10 days if the prosecution would not provide an accusation.

23 September 2013

The appeal believe it or not, was not canceled. The police was looking for me all over the prison to bring me to the court. And I was waiting for my lawyers to bring the paper for my release. As it happened, the judge in Higuey still had not signed this paper. I had almost got into a punishment cell for hiding.

1 October 2013

As I found later, on this day the court made a decision to let me go free without charges.

3 October 2013

5 minutes to 3PM came my lawyers and said that if I wanted to go free tomorrow, then I need to sign a paper that stated that I had to pay them 150,000 peso ($4,000 USD) in addition to $8,000 that I had already paid them. Plus they demanded me to sign the power of attorney, so that $3,000 USD that was confiscated by the police during my arrest, were paid to Pedro Nunez in addition to $5,000 USD that he had already been paid. Otherwise, I would stay in jail for a few more months! Could you believe it?! Of course, back then I did not know about the court decision on the 1st of October.

I had no choice. I had to sign it.

10 October 2013. I'm finally out!

There is nothing more important than the freedom. After 5 and a half months the Dominican justice system decided that they collected enough money from their hostage and let me go without charges. The process had not finished yet as I needed to get my stuff back.

11 October 2013

The prosecutor Pedro Nunez in Higuey returned some of my documents: both passports, credit and debit cards, boat registration certificate, Curacao id card. They probably lost my Russian driving license, the Curacao residency permit which was not possible to restore and some other miscellaneous papers like the Curacao Customs check out form.

I saw Beruta, which was almost at the same place in the marina. Almost undamaged. They used running lines to tie the boat up and they had been torn, so I would need to replace jib and main sheets, and possibly the reefing lines. They used the wooden cleat for sheets to tie the boat up and it was broken too. The GPS antenna for the AIS was also broken because of a contact with a concrete wall. They replaced my cabin lock with their own. The toe rail on my starboard was broken during the collision with the DNCD boat at sea, when they approached Beruta to board two officers.

The boat was still under the arrest. Next week I needed to go to another prosecutor in Bavaro to get some papers and might be then they would let me pick up Beruta and hopefully not charge me the marina fees for 6 months.

I want to say big thanks to everyone who offered and provided their help, some financial and some in other forms during my imprisonment and after my release. God bless you.

17 October 2013

I had to hire a new lawyer who would try to get s/v Beruta and my other stuff back from the prosecution through the legal procedure. I wasted the entire last week trying to receive all my things and at the end the prosecutor said that they wanted to keep everything till the end of investigation, which could last up to three years! My case involved three people and one was still in prison waiting for the sentence.

22 October 2013

My new lawyer, Elbby Payn, got a certificate of my liberty (see page 1 and page 2) and a certificate of no appeal.

24 October 2013

Elbby Payn filed my case for returning my belongings (see page 1, page 2, page 3 and page 4).

31 October 2013

In marina Cap Cana I was able to find out that the boat was under the arrest of DNCD and that the office of prosecution in Higuey had no control over it. Another words, I spent an entire month trying to get Beruta from Pedro Nunez, for nothing. I should have gone to DNCD headquarters in Santo Domingo instead. Too late - I had to fly to Russia in a few hours for family matters and to sell my apartment there to pay for the debts.

11 November 2013

As I found later upon my return to Dominican Republic in December, this day Pedro Nunez during court hearing in Higuey agreed to return all my things back to me volunteerly.

5 December 2013

I went to Santo Domingo to DNCD headquarters and on the reception left a formal request to return all my things including my boat to me. The secretary said that it normally takes 3 to 4 weeks to process such requests.

10 December 2013

Elbby Payan's secretary (his wife, in fact) called me and said that Pedro Nunez agreed to return me everything. I just need to come to the office of prosecution in Higuey and get the paper from him. Ok, when we came, Pedro said that his boss Lucas had to sign the paper and he was not in, as usual.

11 December 2013

In the morning Lucas was in a court. Pedro said to come at 4PM. Of course, at this time Lucas had already left home.

12 December 2013

I made an agreement with a DNCD guard in a marina that he would help to accelerate the process at DNCD for some gratuity. He said that I need to go to the DNCD again and meet with their lawyer. Ok, I got on the morning bus to Santo Domingo. Unfortunately, the police had Christmas party last night and I had to wait for the lawyer till 4PM.

He said that they had a process and they must follow the process and that it would take a few days. Interestingly enough that he did not have my request that I submitted one week ago. Where did it go?

13 December 2013

Friday! It was understandable that on such day, it was impossible to do anything. In the morning in the office of prosecution there was Lucas but there was no Pedro. Then Pedro appeared and thanks god, Lucas was still in his office but he was very busy. We had to wait. By the time we entered his office, Pedro had already gone. Lucas said that he had nothing to do with us and that everything should be done by Pedro. The circle closed. Catch 22.

As I found on January 20, 2014, Elbby Payan filed my case in the court of Higuey for the second time later this day.

30 December 2013

I made another attempt to talk to the DNCD lawyer, lieutenant Gonzales, in Santo Domingo. I explained the situation as much as I could. I said that I was in jail for nothing for almost 6 months, spent $40,000 for all kinds of fees, had huge debts, had no money left for living in DR, had to return to my work on Curacao by New Year or could be fired, that I had three children who still depends on my support, that the boat was my home and I had no other place to live but nothing worked. The stubborn lawyer insisted on the process and that I had to wait.

2 January 2014

Sent the petition to The Inter-American Commision of Human Rights complaining about violation of Article 21 - Right to Property of American Convention of Human Rights "Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica (B-32)" by Republica Dominicana.

6 January 2014

Sent en email to the Canadian Consulate in Santo Domingo and to the Marine Safety and Security Department of Transport Canada Ministry. In both cases I received a standard automated reply. I also spoke to Katya from the Canadian Consulate in Bavaro. She promised to make a call to DNCD.

I have also sent numerous emails to the Canadian media as well as local newspapers and TV and received no response what so ever. CBC Community Blog censor, for example, rejected publishing my news for "unknown" reason.

7 January 2014

Spent a day in Santo Domingo. First, I spoke to the DNCD lawyer, lieutenant Gonzales, again. He informed me that this week he was supposed to receive a response from the department that arrested me and based on that information next week would make a decision about release of Beruta.

Second, I spoke to DEA special agents (Mike and another fellow, don't remember his name). I wanted to know how it happened that I spent almost 6 months in jail without any evidences. I also wanted to inform them that corrupted Dominicans were playing a dangerous game of arresting innocent people for ransom and that honest Americans probably should not be a part of it. As well, I asked them to help me get my boat back.

Third, I visited the office of ombudsman who was appointed last week after 11 years of the decision made to established such office according to the United Nations report. I told them my story in Spanish and they accepted my complaint (see page 1 and page 2) against DNCD and the Ministerio de Republica (the office of the prosecution).

8 January 2014

I found that my lawyer Elbby Payan submitted my case to the office de prosecution (Procuradoria de Ministerio Publico) once again.

I finally digitized all the documents related to my case that I had on hands.

10 January 2014 (Friday)

I made another trip to Santo Domingo to visit the National Human Rights Commission. They said that they could help by assigning their public lawyers to my case if I bring them the letters from my previous lawyers stating that they no longer represent me. Yeah, it would probably going to take long time again.

After that I went to the newspaper Hoy (Today) and they promised to publish an article next day. I am not sure if they actually did; perhaps, in the paper version only but not in the digital Internet one. Another popular media in DR, Listin Diario, said that they did not make interviews on Fridays!

13 January 2014 (Monday)

Elbby Payan informed me that the meeting with the office of prosecution was postponed till next Monday.

I called the DNCD and they said that I need to bring them the certified copies of the court documents. When I asked the Payan's secretary (his wife) about that, she said that it would take a month to get them!

14 January 2014 (Tuesday)

Well, apparently she lied! As I found from the court house today, it only takes 48 hours to receive the certified copies. So I submitted the written request for them in the court in Higuey. It cost me four stamps of 30 pesos, plus 40 pesos the payment itself, a total with a motoconcha ride (100 pesos) to the Ministry of Internal Affair for stamps and payments, and printing the request in the local Internet cafe (25 pesos) plus 2 pesos for two photocopies of the documents - 287 pesos or less than $7 USD.

As it happened the truth was somewhere in the middle. I received the certified copies only two weeks later! Ironically they were no longer necessary because later DNCD came up with an idea of different kind of documents that state the judge's decision to return my belongings.

20 January 2014 (Monday)

Finally today there was a hearing in Higuey and the judge ordered to return my boat and other stuff. In 2-3 day the papers of this decision will be ready. Well, it seems like a progress.

3 February 2014 (Monday)

My lawyer and his secretary were trying to get the resolution of the court for two weeks with no luck. Today to prove it for myself, I went with them to the court. Indeed, the judge, Yohan Carlos Morales Peguero (1-809-554-7838 ext. 228), said that he was busy but would print the resolution this week before or on Friday. This will be the third week after the hearing! Unbelievalbe!

10 February 2014 (Monday)

Friday last week they finally printed out the resolution but the judge was away. Monday morning he was busy and in the afternoon he refused to sign because he had found many mistakes. Today is 4 months since I was released from the prison. For how long will this nightmare continue?

14 February 2014 (Friday)

This week I spent all days in the court building trying to get the resolution. Finally, Friday I got it (see page 1 and page 2) but it said nothing about my belongings, i.e. laptops, cellular phones, photo camera, etc. It was only about Beruta.

Another interesting thing was that I needed another paper from Pedro Nunez, similar to "Entrega de cuerpo del delito", which would have stated that they indeed returned me the boat. Pedro as usual said that he was busy and to come later and also added that we needed to talk to his boss Lucas! This was too much, or course because I knew that the combination Pedro-Lucas did not work at all.

I decided to test my luck with DNCD but spent the rest of the day travelling to Santo Domingo and back for nothing. Senior Gonsalez was also busy and his secretary said to come next week.

15 February 2014 (Saturday)

I did not want to wait till Monday. Therefore, I went straight to the marina. Unfortunately, the DNCD officer was in Santo Domingo and said that he would return at 4PM. He did not allow me to go to Beruta.

I spent the day on the beach in Cap Cana - nice and quiete place compared to noisy and fumy Higuey.

The officer, Torivio Santos, got to the marina around 5PM. He took the resolution and emailed it to his boss in Santo Domingo, Camilio. He allowed me to stay on Beruta but said that the matter would not be resolved till Monday. Wow, at least I can sleep in my home now and make my food and tea! But moreover, I can use Sunday for preparing the boat for a departure.

That evening I was only able to clean the fridge and make a little order in the cabin. Lots of mold, rotten food with fly's eggs and cockroach's droppings - awful.

16 February 2014 (Sunday)

Cleaned the bottom - removed about 5 cm of shells and half meter sea weeds. It can sail now!

Charged the bateries from a solar panel. Got rid of the air in the fuel system and started the engine! Great! I can exit the marina now. It has a narrow passage through the reef right against the wind. The diesel had dark color but Yanmar ran for a couple of hours without a problem.

17 February 2014 (Monday)

Fixed GPS antenna, sheet cleat and other minor things. Partially cleaned the bottom of a dinghy.

Torivio informed me that DNCD freed Beruta from the arrest. Now I need to sort out the bill with the marina.

Torivio offered his help and said that he arranged a meeting with the general manager at 4PM but he did not come.

18 February 2014 (Tuesday)

The meeting was moved to 9AM, then to 5PM but again the manager did not show up.

I drove on a bike to supermarket Nacional in Punta Cana Village and got some food. It is expensive to buy it in the marina.

When Torivio saw my bike on a pier, he was surprised. Is it yours? he asked. Did you keep it on board? I understood that if he had found it there, it would "have been lost" like all other things such as LED flash and running lights, micro screwdriver set, etc.

19 February 2014 (Wednesday)

I got tired waiting for the manager and went to the office asking the receptionist to call him. Indeed in 30 minutes or so, he came and we talked. I explained the situation. I said that I was arrested at sea and brought to the marina forsefully. I had never cleared it and signed for dockage. I spent lots of money to get out of jail. I had many damages to the boat done while it was in the marina and a few things have been stolen from the boat, probably by the police during the search. I had no money and I had to return to work. The manager said that he was sorry and offered me to pay half the bill. I reminded that they charged my credit card for 2 and a half months and that they could keep the money. Finally, he agreed to let me go without paying. Wow! Very kind! They would give me despacho in one hour.

I ran to the boat to get ready for departure. Senior Torivio came to me soon after. He asked me sign the paper that I received the boat from DNCD. I guess the same kind of paper that I was to get from Pedro Nunez on Friday last week. With my signature he also got 8,000 peso that we agreed upon for his help.

In one hour the cost guard, the customs and the immigration arrived to Beruta. They asked me to pay 20 dollars. I only had 500 peso, which is about 12 dollars. I got them from "my friend" Torivio out of the money that I paid him. He was kind enough to pay the officials out of his pocket. Funny enough that during a routine boat inspection they spotted my China Rollex watch on the desk in the cabin and asked: Rollex? I guess that they meant one of the two things: how come that you have an expensive watch and not 20 bucks or could we have it for a payment or as a gift?

I got the despacho to Curacao and off I went. Farewell, Republica Dominicana - the country of thieves and bandits! This ends a supposedly weekly see-my-daughter trip to DR that had begun almost a year ago from Curacao. Quite an adventurous year it was, wasn't it?

Just to reiterate: TO ALL SAILORS, CRUISERS, TOURISTS AND ALIKE: STAY AWAY FROM THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC SHORES UNLESS YOU'RE LOOKING FOR TROUBLE! The media sensor stories like mine. You won't be able to read this in newspapers or magazines. Nevertheless, it is a true story that happened to me.