21:54.083N 84:54.438W Los Morres, Cuba

If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Thu 7 Feb 2013 01:08

Tuesday 5

Kodo, Nicole and Jean Marc, Canadians left with me at 1300, took an hour to motor up the inside, an hour to motor down the outside and an hour to motor away from the island.  Then we sailed, I could do over 5 knots N because of the current, but no East and it got worse.  On port tack the over 50E the current is against us.  I put my kitchen timer down and it slipped straight under the flap of the hood and disappeared.  I didn’t hear it hit anything or splash, but it was gone.  I had to get the phone out and set alarms every half hour, which works.  0200 Kodo were way off to the West and their topping lift had broken, so they were going to have to motor.  I motor sailed to try to gain some E and to keep up with them.  0545 we lost sight of each other and they stopped and waited half an hour for me to catch up, which was really good of them.  We have only made good about 45 miles, with another 90 to go.  It is too close to wind for the sails to help.  The heading is 150, to make 80 against the Gulf Stream.  0600 changed over fuel tanks, tank 1 has a gauge, tank 2 I can see and fill from indoors.  By 0800 I was wondering if we were ever going to make it. 1200 tank 1 is down to half in 6 hours, switched back to tank 2. Now making 2.3knots as the current is lessening for now.  My motor and autopilot did not sign up for this, but I cannot risk going off course to get the wind.  In 24 hours I should be about half way.

Am I having fun yet? Not particularly, but luckily the conditions are calm to motor in.

Wednesday 6

Well yesterday was a bit disillusioning.  I did not want to motor, but the Gulf Stream is not to be sailed against. If you are thinking of doing that then have plenty of time and another body on the boat, you could be at it for quite a few days. The wind was on the nose the entire trip, but most of the time was not strong.  I was managing less than a knot at one stage and my ETA was in the night of day 4. 

The current was much stronger on the Mexican side and decreased on the Cuban side, so I was able to speed up, but sailing and tacking was still not a sensible option. 

The motor and autopilot did well.  Thinking that I had used 40 litres in 6 hours had panicked me a bit that I would not have enough fuel.  I realized the return valve or fuel line must have a blockage in it because the diesel from tank 1 had returned to tank 2. 

There were lots of ships, which certainly kept me awake on the second night.

1000 day 3 I arrived in the marina with Kodo and there were several other boats.  There is one concrete dock, only one side was usable in the conditions and so I am on the dock, Xanadu is rafted up next to me and Kodo next to them.

The first man came with a sniffer dog, then the other 3 officials all came on the boat and sat down at the table to do the paperwork. US$40.  My eggs and vacuum packed turkey has been sealed, I have yet to find out if I can eat these and keep the shells and packaging on the boat, or whether it has to stay sealed until I leave Cuba.  The stamps cost 40CUC, they do not stamp your passport.  This is the only place to check in on SW Cuba, there is a bar and a tiny shop, 3 KM up the road is the hotel where I managed to change some US$ and GBP to CUC.  Who says they don’t take US$!

I topped up both tanks with my diesel in cans and just to be safe I refilled the cans, for which I paid by credit card with no problem.

Time for a sleep before getting my cruising permit in the morning and setting off to cruise the south coast.

So this is Cuba!