Friday, April 27, 2018

Heading to Havana

We left Cayo Largo not really with any great plans beyond our first night stop at Cayo Rosario, we had a lovely slow sail on the outside of the reef and then went through a well marked reef pass to a gap in-between two islands. One of the islands has monkeys on it and we had heard the rangers may offer lobster.

Shortly after we anchored a fishing boat approached us - did we want lobster - of course we did! We asked for two and how much - no, no money! Then he came over with five live lobsters and wanted nothing... of course we gave him a bottle of rum and he didn't refuse. That's dinner sorted yum!

We got the weather that evening and saw light westerly winds coming our way which would be perfect to make a run for Havana so next morning we got up early and started the long trip around the West End of Cuba. We were sad to miss the island of Juventud which apparently has great diving but this weather window looked too good to skip and our time left in Cuba was fast passing by. Once you get around the West tip you can anchor but no go ashore and we hadn't heard great stuff about the places we could go so opted to go offshore and do it in one shot with two nights at sea.

As we passed by Maria La Gorda, we spotted the boat belonged to Addison Chan who is co-author of the guide book we are using and the guy who started the Cuba Land & Sea Facebook page which has been so helpful. We were sorry not to meet him, and we later found out he was helping out a lovely family who had quite a scare when the forestay broke - we later met them in Hemmingway and learned what an amazing community sailors can be when shit happens!

Dolphins on the West Coast of Cuba

The trip was pretty uneventful with light winds and mostly motorsailing in glorious hot conditions- although the current was a bit tricky going against us for alot of the way. We did however pole out for one day of slow sailing and had dolphins and a lovely bird come to visit.

Coming into Marina Hemingway
We arrived at Marina Hemingway, just West of Havana just before 3pm on 24th April - the entrance chanel is only about 100 feet wide and any north swell breaks on either side. The fairway buoy was vastly off position, they did tell us this on the radio however they said it was West not East of where it should be - too funny! At the end of the narrow channel you turn hard to Port into the Customs dock area, a speedboat with a water ski-er zoomed by - that's a first in a marina.

At the customs dock
We cleared in quickly, re-fueled and then made our way to the slip on canal #1 - the music from the bar played the song Havana and the dock master and his mates were all dancing - so cheesy but what a perfect arrival in this city of cities!

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