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fppilot

Caribbean Trek - Fat Tuesday trip, Part Two

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This is Part Two of our trip from Kingston, Jamaica,  to Ponce, Puerto Rico.  This segment after our fuel stop at
Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port Au Prince, Haiti. We plan to reach Ponce in time to catch  the
final day of the annual festival there.  I will post more about the festival on below if we get there in time.

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Off of Rwy 10 at Port Au Prince, leaving the city and Port Au Prince Bay behind.  We actually got a better look at the bay, though distant,
this afternoon as the weather cleared up somewhat during our stop here for fuel.  Of note: I always fly with real time weather (FSGRW)
and my screenshots depict that.  Would love to turn off just haze, but then that would not be real!

 

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Very happy to have the upgraded RXP Garmin GNS 430 with terrain awareness and warning.  As you can see on the GNS screen,
there is some dangerous terrain ahead.  Our flight route for this segment will take us over Étang Saumâtre, the largest lake in Haiti,
then over the Dominican Republic, where our route takes us between two mountain ranges and then over landlocked Lago Enriquillo,
a large hypersaline lake

A hypersaline lake is a landlocked body of water that contains significant concentrations of sodium chloride or other salts,
with saline levels surpassing that of ocean water.  Always something interesting to learn on these treks. 

We will then cross the Republic, flying near its southern coast, then across the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico.

 

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In and out of a layer of puffy cumulus, we get some views of the mountains and Étang Saumâtre, a large inland brackish water lake. 
A brackish lake has a saline or salt level in the water, but less than ocean or sea water.

 

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Étang Saumâtre is also known as Lac Azuéi (Lake Azuéi). 

 

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The layer of cumulus became broken to overcast and we did not get good views of the Dominican Republic’s Lago Enriquillo or its island,
Isla Cabritos. I have overflown it previously and it is worth seeing.  The surrounding terrain kept me from descending below the clouds.

 

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Our path took us out over Bahia de Ocoa, the Bay of Ocoa, along the south coast of the Republic,
about halfway from Port Au Prince to Santa Domingo.

 

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While still over Bahia de Ocoa we encountered some lightning and caught this rare photo of what is known as “spider lightning”. 
Here is a link to a short video showing more about spider lightning:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s9QlnVdtWo

 

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The lightning got my attention and I climbed from 5,000 to 11,000 to stay clear of it.

 

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A view of the Caribbean Sea near the Republic’s  Parque Nacional Del Este, otherwise known as East National Park. 
It is a broad peninsula at the southeast tip of the Dominican Republic, extending forward and to the right in this image.
We crossed it just before flying over Mona Passage (Spanish: Canal de la Mona)  which is a strait that separates the islands of
Hispaniola and Puerto Rico.

 

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We had hoped for some views of Isla de Mona, an island in the Mona Passage, but the overcast prevailed.   Now over Puerto Rico
and on initial approach into Ponce, we get a view of the blue tropical water of Bahia de Ponce ahead.

 

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As we further approach Ponce, PR, we get a view of a coal-powered electric power plant, still quiet months after the damage from
hurricane Irma. Other power plants are being brought back on line, one by one, as the large island country’s electricity infrastructure
is gradually repaired.

 

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A nice view of Ponce through a slight haze as we transition to final approach.

 

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The RNAV approach to Rwy 12 at Mercedita Airport, just east of Ponce, requires a course change on short final to avoid the large hill
of Cerro Los Negrones on the left in this shot and in the one above.  The runway is now visible ahead.

 

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The roll out after an uneventful landing in Ponce.  We landed just after 2130Z, easily early enough to get settled in our rented
condominium  in time for the famous festival.

The airport scenery is TJPS 2015 for FSX/P3D by David Rosado, Photorico Scenery Project, downloaded from Flightsim.com. 
It requires two separate zip files and also has a P3D patch.

 

Here is a good description of the festival, Carnaval Ponceño.

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 Ponce-L A beautiful photo of the Vejigan

A beautiful photo of the Vejigantes in parade.  Colorfully masked and-dressed, clown-like characters,
wearing paper mâché masks with scary teeth & horns.

 

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No character street festival would be complete without regional in-character food!

Edited by fppilot
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A delightful tag-along experience. Very informative as always.

John

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Love the detail flight plan and discriptions....The Ponce Carnival with pictures was very interesting...Thanks very much!

HLJAMES

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Great shots and theme, I loved my visit to Puerto Rico in '97....

John

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12 hours ago, HLJames said:

Love the detail flight plan and discriptions...

Having fun and learning a lot as I put those together.  It all has influence on where I am choosing to fly as well. my original first destination in Puerto Rico for this trip was Aguadilla, at the northwestern corner of the island.  Then I stumbled onto information about the festival in Ponce.

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21 hours ago, Cactus521 said:

I loved my visit to Puerto Rico in '97....

PR really needs tourism to rebound to aid its recovery.  I was there in 1992. Considering going back!

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13 minutes ago, fppilot said:

PR really needs tourism to rebound to aid its recovery.  I was there in 1992. Considering going back!

I'd go back in a heartbeat if I had a romantic, Latin companion.... (smile).  I remember walking the old town, up to the fort, watching the waves crash against it.  Then my clients there, they took us to a dusty cafe where I had the most fantastic salmon in a red cream sauce, it was as delicious as anything I have ever eaten.  We were there after a hurricane had just brushed the Island, to install a property management system at one of the hotels there, and we just relished the beauty and history of the place, and the people were so nice and kind to us.

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