From his office on the hill above the Bay of Luperón, Günter Dresler is looking down on the groundbreaking of what is going to be the realization of his dream: a marina in the safest spot of the Dominican Republic at the “hurricane hole,” Luperón Bay. Since time immemorial there has not been any damage in or around the bay caused by a hurricane. It’s a unique, valuable and desirable spot in the Dominican Republic.
The 69 year-old sailor and former builder Günter Bruno Dresler left his home town of Toronto, Canada in 1997 for a solo circumnavigation on his Dufour 42 Slope. After a forced stay in Bahia Luperón, he saw the enormous potential of this hurricane hole. It didn’t take long for Dresler to change his mind and stay. More than ten years later he hardly can hide his excitement over the groundbreaking that took place in the beginning of July this year.
To realize his plans, Dresler created the company “Marina Tropical SA” in 2001. The biggest challenge was the obtaining of environmental permits, which required a protracted and tenacious lobbying of the government officials. The result, building permit No. 0053-03 of the Environmental Protection Agency for Tropical Marina Luperón, is proudly shown on the office outside wall. The permit not only took many years, but about US $50,000 to accomplish.
The plans call for 250 slips measuring 30 – 80 ft., with electricity, water, TV and phone connections plus additional berths for seven yachts measuring more than 100 ft. After the groundbreaking, the constructing of the dry dock with repair shop and hauling facility on the south of the site takes priority. A marine filling station for diesel, gasoline and oil will also be constructed soon.
In phase two, a shopping center with cafeteria, restaurant, supermarket, stores, sanitary facilities, laundromat, communications center and offices for yacht club and harbor police will rise.
New investors are sought for the planned 4,000 square meters of apartments, in the form of a stepped building and approximately 50 villas with 800 – 1,200 square meters of land, fully developed.
Luperón is located on the Northwest coast of the Dominican Republic, 30 miles west from Puerto Plata. It’s a small remote village whose inhabitants survive on farming, fishing and tourism. The Bay of Luperón has always been a place of refuge for sailboats and yachts on their way from Florida to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. Between 100 and 200 boats are anchored there at any time. During hurricane season, fishing boats and mid-size commercial vessels also take shelter in this protected bay.
The Bay of Luperón is a nature reserve and, therefore, marina projects hardly have been granted permits during the last 15 years. That’s one of the reasons why the huge Atlantica project went broke, even before the start. Dresler however succeeded. His biggest concern now: how to stay healthy to live through the full realization of his dream.
Els Kroon is a Dutch former teacher who now lives and works as an award-winning free-lance photojournalist on Curacao.