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Thread: Some Comments About the SouthWest

  1. #1
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    Default Some Comments About the SouthWest

    Sorry, no pictures. Maybe next time.

    We did the SW recently and here are some conditions folks may want to be aware of:

    • There was major road construction in downtown Bani resulting in a rather confusing detour. If you didn't know the area it would be easy to get lost in a barrio.



    • The road from Cruce de Ocoa to San Jose de Ocoa has suffered some damage in several areas with the road being degraded and in poor condition. Passable, but in many places it's slow going.



    • The damage to the bridge between Bani and Azua that got washed away has been repaired, and there seems to be major work being done to deepen and re-route the flow from the dry river bed. Good luck messing with Mother Nature.



    • The road from Cabral to Polo Magnetico has been completely resurfaced!



    • The uphill mountainous section of the road from El Limon to Jimani is completely covered with a layer of nasty oil. I had a rear tire break lose in a right turn about 1'+. Checked my skivvies later.



    • The entire border area in Jimani is in extreme danger of going underwater. No matter how high the make the road, the water from Etang Saumatre is encroaching everywhere. In fact, it is 6" deep in two areas for maybe 10m, and water is now deep on both sides of the road. Because of this condition, the road is just for going in from the DR side, and a new road has been built behind the customs houses going out. Of course many don't follow the rules and problems with traffic ensues. The entire border area, on both sides, is not crammed into a space less than 20% of the old, pre-flooded space, and it is pure chaos on market day. The road leaving has two areas where the water is 18" deep for 20m+. I can tell you it was quite interesting fording them, not knowing what was benrath, on motorcycles. True adventure, and one guy dropped his bike in loose gravel right as he was going into the first stretch of water.



    • There is a new detour around the west side of Lago Enriquillo to replace the old detour that replaced the submerged road last year. This detour is serious: 800km west of the old, and at least 4km long. Huge construction and it looks like it will ultimately be paved. It's large, looser gravel now and made for interesting riding to say the least. It is at least 15-20' higher than the lake. There are a lot of houses in the Boca Cachon area that are submerged in the salt lake.



    • The windmill farm at Juancho has expanded many times over. It's HUGE now with at least 30 windmills and more being built. Quite the sight. I'm sure the local impact is very positive.



    • The coast road from Barahona to Enriquillo is falling into disrepair. However there is a 2km stretch with new construction. Unfortunately, they had put chip seal it making for some slip and sliding on bikes. I hope there are plans to repair the many areas that look like a Beirut street. Doable, but bad spots.



    • Cuevas de Pomier between San Cristobal and La Poma is still one of the most interesting, unknown attractions in the DR. Take your own flashlight.

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    Speaking of the SouthWest, the MotoCaribe SW Carnival tour, Feb. 23-March 3, will be the subject of an article for a large national magazine.

    Drop me an email or PM for a special DR1er deal for both motorcycle and van tours.

    If you ever wanted to check out the SW on two or four wheels...and experience Carnival in La Vega...this might be the ticket. AND be part of a magazine article that'll look epic on your coffee table.

  3. #3
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    The whole Enriquillo Basin will probably end up becoming a sea channel, as it was thousands of years ago. It is said that Christopher Columbus sailed into what is now Lake Enriquillo and if you've ever read Christopher Columbus' log (there is a book by a guy named Tavianni that published Columbus' logs in the 1970s, quite interesting), he even describes seeing Manatees in what is now Lake Enriquillo.

    According to some geologists, at some point within the last 500 years, a strong earthquake in the area lifted the part near Barahona (or just north of it, not sure but most likely) and that ruptured the connection with the sea. The result was the creation of Lake Enriquillo as it was known a few years ago, one of the few salt water lakes in the world and it is at the lowest elevation in the Caribbean, some 40 meters below sea level. In recent years the lake itself was evaporating and many people were predicting that Lake Enriquillo was going to disappear in the next couple of decades. Many people, mostly farmers, tried to claim land that was formerly underwater.

    Then in 2010 was the huge earthquake in Port-au-Prince and not long after that, the evaporating lake started to grow and it hasn't stopped growing since then. Apparently the Lake Azuey on the Haitian side is also growing, which I had not known until I read the OP. I thought it was just Enriquillo.

    My take on this is that the Haitian earthquake did some serious land shifting in the area and not only will Enriquillo and Azuey unite, the whole basin might be on its way to becoming not just an extension of the Caribbean Sea, as it was in time of Columbus, but a channel as it was thousands of years ago.

    This could spell future trouble for Port-au-Prince (and Barahona, Duvergé, Neyba, etc; but Port-au-Prince is much bigger and in critical condition.) Not good... unless the plans for the city (if there are any) include the possibility of converting it into the Caribbean version of Venice. For now, this is just speculation, but I think its worth taking into consideration.
    Last edited by NALs; 12-31-2012 at 02:23 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NALs View Post
    Then in 2010 was the huge earthquake in Port-au-Prince and not long after that, the evaporating lake started to grow and it hasn't stopped growing since then. Apparently the Lake Azuey on the Haitian side is also growing, which I had not known until I read the OP. I thought it was just Enriquillo.
    Something I didn't mention but you reminded me:

    Riding from Jimani toward Lago Enriquillo...which is pretty much a slope downhill...there are stretches where fresh water is flowing across the road, like if a gutter had overflowed after a rainfall. But it hadn't rained in quite a while.

    And after turning north on the west side of the lake there are numerous areas where fresh water is flowing downhill...from the lake in Haiti...where it hadn't flowed before, and we've gone that route often in the last 5 years. There is obviously a new and substantial flow.

    And it looks to be permanent, because there has been engineered earth movements to channel the water in desired directions, instead of over the road.

    Very odd, and doesn't offer a lot of hope for Lago Enriquillo not growing.

    Already the habitat of the iguanas in the National Park/Reserve past La Descubierta is being significantly encroached by the rising water, and the rangers are saying the big lizards are having a tough go of it.
    Last edited by cobraboy; 12-31-2012 at 02:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NALs View Post
    The whole Enriquillo Basin will probably end up becoming a sea channel, as it was thousands of years ago. It is said that Christopher Columbus sailed into what is now Lake Enriquillo and if you've ever read Christopher Columbus' log (there is a book by a guy named Tavianni that published Columbus' logs in the 1970s, quite interesting), he even describes seeing Manatees in what is now Lake Enriquillo.

    According to some geologists, at some point within the last 500 years, a strong earthquake in the area lifted the part near Barahona (or just north of it, not sure but most likely) and that ruptured the connection with the sea. The result was the creation of Lake Enriquillo as it was known a few years ago, one of the few salt water lakes in the world and it is at the lowest elevation in the Caribbean, some 40 meters below sea level. In recent years the lake itself was evaporating and many people were predicting that Lake Enriquillo was going to disappear in the next couple of decades. Many people, mostly farmers, tried to claim land that was formerly underwater.

    Then in 2010 was the huge earthquake in Port-au-Prince and not long after that, the evaporating lake started to grow and it hasn't stopped growing since then. Apparently the Lake Azuey on the Haitian side is also growing, which I had not known until I read the OP. I thought it was just Enriquillo.

    My take on this is that the Haitian earthquake did some serious land shifting in the area and not only will Enriquillo and Azuey unite, the whole basin might be on its way to becoming not just an extension of the Caribbean Sea, as it was in time of Columbus, but a channel as it was thousands of years ago.

    This could spell future trouble for Port-au-Prince (and Barahona, Duvergé, Neyba, etc; but Port-au-Prince is much bigger and in critical condition.) Not good... unless the plans for the city (if there are any) include the possibility of converting it into the Caribbean version of Venice. For now, this is just speculation, but I think its worth taking into consideration.
    Very interesting information but the Lago Enriquillo started growing before the earthquake 2010. I visited the area in 2008 and the water level of the lake was already higher than before.

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    From what I've read the water level increase is due to increased rainfall and combined with the native soils poor water capacity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mido View Post
    Very interesting information but the Lago Enriquillo started growing before the earthquake 2010. I visited the area in 2008 and the water level of the lake was already higher than before.
    I was under the impression the lake started to grow at a much later time than that. However, as Chip says, it appears to be an effect from some sort of climate change. If it's a permanent change, things are not looking good for the area.
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    Right, because soon the Dominican Republic will need a real Navy to protect the borders...

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    A short video of the road going into the Haiti border at Jimani on market day in early December 2012. It was HOT and his GoPro kept shutting down, but he caught enough to see the chaos and flooding in the area. I had the gray/blue shirt on.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    From what I've read the water level increase is due to increased rainfall and combined with the native soils poor water capacity.
    I've heard that the deforestation of Haitian lands for charcoal, has been one of the primary reasons. A satellite photo of the Haitian/Dominican border is grey (Haiti) and somewhat green (DR side)

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