Tales of the Itinerant Sailor

Cruising 2009

Political Peril and the Itinerant Sailor

By

Steven Jones  

The Cuban Procedures

At 0800 June 9 I am at the oficna de capitania de Puerto ready to check out and get underway.  Here, as it was 16 years ago when I first started cruising in the waters of Latin America, nothing is done for you.  The Captain (me) must prepare and provide his own Crew List (Listado de Tripulantes) and multiple copies of all required documents.  This means several trips to various venders.  Three hours later I top off with diesel and am underway. 

Marina Cabo San Antonio

Marina Cabo San Antonio

I cross the reef and raise the main sail for a motor sail across the Yucatan Channel for the closest official Cuban check-in port. During the night I notice that the head is not working properly and the navigation lights are not working at all.  The main halyard comes loose and wraps around the topping lift.  Fortunately, the full moon and clear skies allow me to drop the main sail and secure the loose halyard.  I proceed from that point under power only, arriving at Marina Cabo San Antonio at 0800 hours, the new state of the art check in point for cruising vessels coming from the west.  On charts, this location is Punta Morros. 

Dock workers come out to help secure the Sirius II, but after that nothing happens for nearly two hours.  Desayuno  (breakfast).  Bad timing on my part.  While waiting I have time to eat my own breakfast, repair the pump handle on the head, and replace a 12í section of electrical wire for the navigation lights.  Then, seven officials swarm aboard the Sirius II, all with medical masks, led by two medics, as this is the era of the Swine Flu.  And this is Cuba.

Depart the next day around 0900 hours after the contingent of seven give me the once over again.  I am in no big hurry to depart as the next stop, Isla de la Juventud, is less than 20 hours away and I donít really want to arrive before dawn.

The Earthquake The Reunion

Cruising 2009: Political Peril and the Itinerant Sailor
Copyright © 2010 Steven Jones. All Rights Reserved.

Contact: siriusii@hotmail.com