Sailing from the Cayman Islands to Cuba – February 2013
First Impressions of Cuba – February 2013
From Montego Bay, Francois and I headed North for the Cayman Islands en route for Cuba. With a nice Easterly wind blowing we rocked into Grand Cayman in the early morning….
The Friendly Cayman Islanders
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’ve never come across port officials as friendly as they are in Grand Cayman! As we motored towards the 4 cruise ships anchored in the bay a small boat came out and told us to follow him in to the checking-in dock which was close to the centre of town and seemed perilously close to some reefs which we could see through the crystal clear water. That done we went over to a commercial pier to top up with water – that was a feat in itself as the edge of the dock was about at head height when we were alongside, there was a horrible swell tugging at the mooring lines and the water came through a fire hose!
Our same friendly port authority boat then showed us to a free – yes, no charge – mooring bouy. The Caymans are excellent at protecting their underwater life and the reefs and corals close to the boat[pullquote_right]”the Caymans are excellent at protecting their underwater life”[/pullquote_right] and along the main seafront are excellent for snorkelling. It was here that I saw a huge stingray swimming over the wreck of a small cargo ship, sunk in about 6 metres of water. We did attempt to go around to the North of Grand Cayman to anchor in the sound there, however, we couldn’t make out the correct entrance markers for the channel and with the area surrounded by reefs, and we took the safe option and went back to the main town and our safe bouy! It took a lot longer to get back against the wind than to go there.
Whilst hanging about for a couple of days, we did spy something we’d never seen before – a contraption that works something like a jetpack, squirting water out of 2 nozzles and whizzing the wearer into the air something akin to James Bond.
At $10 for a beer ashore, Grand Cayman isn’t a place to hang about for long, but we could stock up at a normal, if expensive, supermarket before heading off for our next destination….Cuba.
Francois and I were both excited to be going to Cuba and we found a warm welcome at Cienfuegos, a large bay about halfway along the South coast. We pulled up to the marina dock just after dark, [pullquote_left]”we pulled up to the marina dock just after dark and the authorities were on us in minutes”[/pullquote_left]and the authorities were on us in minutes, crowding into the boat, eating all out sweets, taking our pens and drinking our beer….the doctor, the veterinarian, the customs officer, the coastguard, drug enforcement, immigration and possibly other…I lost count!
We had a few days to kill before the next trip started so it was a pleasure to spend a few days looking around Cienfuegos and taking a first look at Cuba. We walked around the streets, marvelled at the cars and other forms of transport, ate local street food, rode in a Bici-taxi and played pool at the local Games Room…
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