The Mona Passage is a strait that separates the islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. The Mona Passage connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, and is an important shipping route between the Atlantic and the Panama Canal.
The eighty mile stretch of sea between the two islands is one of the most difficult passages in the Caribbean. It is fraught with variable tidal currents created by the large islands on either side of it, and by sand banks that extend out for many miles from both coasts.
Most cruising boaters entering the Caribbean from the north do so via a stop at Samana in the northeastern part of the Dominican Republic, then continuing more than 380 kilometres (150 mi) across the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico without stopping. Under sail it means an even longer distance because of having to "tack" a zig-zag course into the easterly trade winds. Add this to the twisted currents and seas encountered while crossing and a haze in the air in this region which often blocks visibility until only a few miles from land, and you end up with a very dangerous sea crossing for almost any boater.
There are three islands in the Mona Passage:
Mona Island lies close to the middle of the Mona Passage and it would make an ideal resting place to split up the passage for vessels coming from Samaná if it were only farther to the north. But for boaters wishing to take advantage of the island to break up the crossing into two more manageable pieces, they need to depart from the south coast of Hispaniola rather than the north. Currents are also less treacherous to deal with along the southern route.
Five kilometers northwest of Mona Island is much smaller Monito Island.
Fifty kilometres Northeast of Mona Island and much closer (21 km) to the Puerto Rican mainland is Desecheo Island.
At the stop of Saona Island on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic, boaters can sit and wait for a lull in the trade winds when seas are down to start their eastward crossing. This is an advantage which is not possible when departing from Samaná. It is only about 40 miles from Saona to the protected anchorage inside the barrier coral reef on the west coast of Mona Island. And from there it is another 40 miles to the popular and spacious cruising anchorage at Boqueron in Puerto Rico.
FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES ARREST 2 DOMINICAN SMUGGLERS, SEIZE $4 MILLION DOLLAR COCAINE SHIPMENT IN MONA PASSAGE
Oct 04, 2011; SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Oct. 3 -- The U. S. Department of Homeland Security's U. S. Coast Guard, 7th District, issued the...