Marina Hemingway turned out to be a destination in it's own right. Here we met up with cruisers from all over the world who had spent the majority of the season in all corners of the caribbean and were all heading in so many different destinations. It was a really interesting time learning not just about Cuba but of lots of sailing stories too, over quite a few rums. We even had a rum tasting on board one night that ended up a little messy.
We spent time at the Hemingway International Yacht Club, where all were welcome. The pictures on the wall showed the infamous fishing trip with Hemingway, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara where they went out together from the marina and Fidel caught a bigger fish than Hemmingway. Che was pictured looking very relaxed - not something that often was caught on camera.
|With our friends from South Africa, Denmark, USA and Australia at the Yacht Club|
|These pictures show a very special tine in history|
|We spotted the OCC pennant too|
|With Ley & Neil Crystal Blues under the flags|
|Here she is in Havana|
Meanwhile Askari took pride of place on canal 1 in the first berth - this was great for fantastic internet and being so close to the bar. However every weekend a party took place at the public water front area and every person under 30 in the whole area turned up for a crazy afternoon. However, in Cuban style it was pretty controlled and very friendly and all was done by 8pm. We really enjoyed seeing all the kids having fun, but Askari became the object of the 'selfie' for all so was given her own security detail- no seriously.
|Wild afternoons at Marina Hemingway|
|Askari with her security guard|
|These guys also liked to visit us at Hemingway - I promise there's no stow away but it was tempting|
Towards the end of our stay it became time to provision. Neil and Ley had met an Australian who lived in Cuba who spotted their flag at the marina. Steve had made a life for himself in Havana and had a beautiful old car and is building a home on the waterfront near to the marina. Steve was really generous with his time and took us all out shopping. What a different insight to see how an ex-pat lives in Cuba. The good thing was that Steve knew exactly where to find the sort of goodies we wanted and his car had air-conditioning.
|I get to ride up front|
|Posing in front of Crystal Blues|
|Amazing fresh veggies from an organic market Steve took us to|
|Anyone for smoked pork?? Totally delcious.....|
After our provisioning trip I posted a picture on Facebook to our Cuba Land and Sea page that has been so helpful, just to show how fantastic the produce is - people often worry they can't eat here. What I didn't expect was a social media bashing for being an imperialist taking advantage of Cuban's who apparently were struggling to feed themselves! Wow where did that come from?? Oh and also how did I know it was organic?? Cuba certainly divides all and I feel so privileged to have spent enough time here to judge for myself. My view is, whilst the system isn't perfect, the people here are so much happier and healthier than nearly everywhere else I have travelled and lived I feel that there is a lot the rest of the world can learn from Cuba - both, so called developed as well as developing countries. Oh and as a sailing cruising destination, I honestly think this is one place that has it all - what an absolute privilege and honour to spend time here.