Anchoring at Punta Frances (eng) 21.4.2011

Sat 23 Apr 2011 16:37
21:35.5360N 83:10.1858W
Punta Frances, Isla Juventud, Cuba

Yesterday, we got back from Havana - with the ferry! Since there were no plane seats available for the next two weeks, we had to take this mode of transport and got a real feeling what every day life in Cuba means. Not that Cubans constantly go by ferry, but the way the system works and all the security involved if you get close to the border. We had to confirm our seats (meaning our names and passport numbers are being registered on the passenger list) on the bus that took us to the southern ferry port in person one hour prior departure. In the National Omnibus Terminal with hundreds of people doing the same. And that's not only because it's vacation week and Easter is coming up, it seems to be the normal procedure. The overland bus stopped various times to give people along the road a ride. Transport is a real problem here and everybody hitchhikes.
Arriving at the (national) port of Batabano, an official checked everyone's credentials, then we got to the highly secured ferry terminal, where we had to undergo the same confirmation procedure again. All in all, that trip took us about 6 hours. But nobody seems to mind. I guess people are so used to live this way and being treated this way. Everybody endures, willingly or unwillingly.

But all in all, we had some wonderful 12 days ashore. We spent 5 nights in the colourful, loud and a bit crazy capital. Then we explored the green western province of Pinar del Rio with Las Terrazas and Vinales with great hiking and biking trails. Will write in more detail when we have internet again in about 2 weeks and I can upload some pics.
Traveling is great, but especially in Cuba (at least if you don't book any preorganized thing) pretty exhausting, so we both were looking forward to heading home again.

Upon our return, we busy fixing some electricity and refrigeration issues and cleaning the boat. There's a draught on the island causing many bush fires and their ashes must have been the cause for the oily gray film covering Andromeda. But today at noon we were finally ready and started our trip further east. We're heading for Cayo Largo, which will take a few days, since the winds are predominantely easterly at this time.
We found a nicely sheltered and quiet anchorage with three other boats and lovely blue water. The underwater fauna and corals though look as they have been destroyed by one of the hurricanes a few years ago and are only slowly recovering. Still pretty nice.
Tomorrow, we'll hopefully make the 50nm to Cayo Matias.

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