So from Inagua we left for Cuba but before that something happened that could have been rather nasty…..
Came back from the beach in the dinghy and the sea was choppy. We came alongside the boat and Chris took hold of it. At the same time a bigger waive hit the dingy and Chris lost his balance…to knock the throttle of the outboard engine into full speed…..me and kids in it and Chris was left hanging on the side of the boat. It took me a few seconds to actually understand what the heck happened as the dinghy went bananas around in a tight circle at full speed…..I sat there thinking I got to stop it but couldn’t move as I also had Alice in my lap. Finally Chris shouted ” you got to stop it” and that got me going. I climbed over beach toys, bags and other junk to get to the back at the same time shouting at the kids to hold on tight as the dinghy was churning around like a whisk. Finally I slowed it down, shaking as I went back to mothership to find Chris still hanging on the side of it. I went mad asking where is the red cord that you are suppose to have attached to your wrist so as if this happends the engine will stall???. Mumble mumble was the answer…..oh well. I can laugh at it now but it could have been an awful accident!
So we left for Cuba. All exited. Few days sail where we caught mahi mahi and tuna. Beautiful starry nights and perfect downwind sail.
Came to Puerto vito as it is the official port of entry. We anchored but the officials wanted us in the marina. To shallow, we said. Our draught is 2.3 m and the depth in marina was 2-2.2 m. They didn’t want to believe us until Chris got the dinghy and measured it with line and sinker. So finally they understood. So on board came the customs, immigration, guardia ( border police) and a doctor. They all love their paperwork. They all want bribes so out comes beers, soap and more beers. All happy. Glad to say that the doctor classed us all fit to enter Cuba and off they all went on their merry way:)
There was not a lot going on in the marina, we cleaned the boat, did school and organised a taxi to take us to the nearby town called Santa Lucia. That was on my birthday and in comes our taxi, a lime green lada. Hehe! Yes, a lada.
On our way we passed a lot of horse and carts and it’s amazing to watch and know that this is their mode of transport as most people are very very poor. A horse is cheap. A lada costs £ 15.000! Walked around the little town and met lots of smiley friendly people. They all want to talk but my Spanish is none existing but we do still understand each other. Oscar, a local wheeler dealer helped us to translate and the boys loved him.
He was like a big brother to them joking and being interested
In what they were saying. We also got a ride on a horse and cart with this young family to the boys delight and I paid them 5 cuc for the ride….yes, it was to much and the young man nearly fell of his cart. Now, money is confusing, there is local pesos for local people and cuc for tourists. 1 cuc is 24 pesos or $1.20. A hairdresser gets paid 15 cuc/ month or a doctor gets 60 cuc/ month. Doesn’t matter if you work 2 or 5 days. That’s your salary.
Before we left for Cuba we were told that you can’t buy certain things like bread, butter or meat. You can, so we found the bakery with a long queue and joined in. No luck. Bread finished before we got anything. This old man came over and wanted us to have some of his bread. No, we managed. He insisted so we took the bread and gave him money. He wouldn’t take it so we insisted….the generosity of Cuban people makes you humble. They haven’t got a lot but still they want to share what they have. We saw it again and again on our travels.
We left Puerto Vito to carry on to Havana. We stopped few times at anchor but had real trouble to get in anywhere as the boats draught is to deep. The guardia watches your every move as they got posts all along the coast so they know exactly where you are. Very safe to sail.
We arrived in Havana early morning with a broken auto helm, yes another thing to fix again, and got a great mooring spot. Across the road was a hotel with a pool. Yes!! Very friendly and helpful staff at the marina Hemingway and we did end up meeting many new and lovely people but that will be for the next chapter…..