Four days later I am approaching the isolated resort island of Cayo Largo. I cross the shallow Archipielago de los Canarreos at least a half dozen times and the last eight hours I've been sailing in coral infested waters only seven to ten feet deep. I keep one eye on the depth sounder and the other eye on the GPS and the compass. I am mentally exhausted. So, of course I go aground on an unmarked shoal as I near Marina
Puertosol. Fortunately, it is just mud and a passing dive boat easily tows me off. In three months of cruising around Cuba, in and out of coral reefs, this is to be the only occasion that the
Sirius II goes hard aground.
It is three weeks later before I leave here. During this time, however, I fly to Seattle to settle some unpleasant legal matters. This turns out to be quite an
odyssey. Due to the US Embargo on Cuba, there are no direct flights to the United States. First, I fly to Havana on a Cuban domestic flight, then to Jamaica, then back to Miami, Florida, and finally to Seattle. Ten days later, when I return, I fly from Miami to Nassau, the Bahamas, then to Havana. From Havana I fly to Cayo Largo in a vintage DC something that looked as if it would have trouble moving on the ground let alone fly. On landing, the European tourists and I release our tension in spontaneous applause for a successful flight.
While in Seattle I stop at The Captains Nautical Supplies, a marine supply store that prides itself on having charts for every destination in the world. My "complete" set of Cuban charts did not include chart 2.16. This chart covers the area from Cayo Guano del
Este, a few hours east of Cayo Largo, to Cienfuegos, my next planned port- of-call. It would seem that the omission was deliberate, as this chart includes the still prohibited area around Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs). This is the site of the misguided attempt on April 17, 1961 by American CIA trained Cuban exiles to invade Cuba and depose Fidel Castro. Some historical events are hard to forget.
When I mention Cuba, the chartmaster in Seattle equivocates. Finally, he locates the exact chart that I need. Bravo.
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