Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Lobster sunset at Cabo Cruz - 7th March 2018

Turning out of the protected bay at Marea del Portillo just after 8am into the long rolling ocean swell from the south east we had a leisurely motor sail down the coast. It was a really relaxing trip, viewing the coastline as the sheer mountains gave way to gentle hills and some green pastures. We had light easterly winds and the 25 miles trip was easy. We felt sure we would catch a fish on this trip but no luck.

About 10 miles out we spotted the lighthouse at Cabo Cruz and then the small fishing village with several boats along the shore. At this far out the looked to be sitting right out in the ocean swell as we couldn't really make out the 2 mile reef that stretches out from the point in an easterly direction. On the other side of the reef is a narrow channel with some coral patches and then mangrove extends out from the northern shore, making a really protected anchorage for anything other than westerly winds.

Cabo Cruz Light House

We studied the charts carefully and the water was super clear so we could make out exactly where the reef came to an end; which was actually quite a bit further out than the red marker buoy. Then we turned into the narrow gap and gingerly edged our way into the anchorage. We were about 2 miles from town but didn't want to push our luck by going any further as it was pretty shallow. We dropped the anchor in a great sandy spot and had our first swim in Cuba.

As soon as we arrived a fishing boat came by and Jorge (yes I think every second person in Cuba is called Jorge) offered to get us some lobsters - perfect! We had read you could just anchor here and that the Guarda were not that friendly so it wasn't necessarily worth going ashore. However, just after our snorkelling trip a rowing boat arrived with two very young Guarda aboard. Again shoes off in the their boat and very polite, if not a bit shy. They quickly checked us in and out, confirmed we were welcome to come ashore and told us the restaurant served good fish - they took their beers away and then spent about an hour rowing against the breeze back to town. We felt a bit bad to bring them out so far but not as bad as for Jorge and his mate who appeared in the water at the back of Askari an hour later with 4 lobsters.

The Cuban's are not allowed to approach or come onto our boat in any circumstances; and the Guarda are always watching. So the boys had ditched their fishing boat in the mangroves and then swam out to us about a mile. They were exhausted and I couldn't let them on the boat - typically Andrew was busy talking weather with Chris Parker on the SSB so I was left to deal with the lobsters. They drove a hard bargain but eventually we did the deal for 4CUC plus a Fremantle 'Dockers' hat and an old t-shirt. I tried to explain that the hat was special and about Australian Rules Football but I think they just wanted to swim off back to their boat and stop shivering. So if you find yourself in Cabo Cruz look out for a guy sporting a AFL hat!

Just before dinner another guy swam out from the reef passing by us on his way back to the land, a four mile round trip, and offered us another lobster and a snapper - gosh these guys can swim a long way. After he left I wish we had traded it as I could have frozen it and we could have put something into the community - a lesson for next time.

We had a great nights rest in this amazing spot, ate lobster and jacket potato for dinner with views of the village and the cliffs behind at sunset - it really was very special.

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