21:37.063N 82:59.233 Isla Juventud
The anchorage was a bit rolly and my spare mast ropes were noisy, but it was lovely. Anchored in 13 feet of clear water, but only stop here in settled conditions. I treated myself to episode 1 of Downton Abbey, series 3. It did not seem to flow from the end of series 2 and I remembered the 2011 Xmas Special, which might be the link. I woke up to be able to see the diving buoys that I knew were around, just not where they were in the dark. By 7.30 I had showered, ran the watermaker, checked the engine oil and burped and greased the shaft seal as there was a small amount of seawater in the bilge. There are just the three yachts anchored off a small dive resort, a few buildings on a palm fringed beach. The coast of Cuba that I have been past so far has been virtually uninhabited, but feels very safe.
Kodo went in to collect the Garda for me, because I couldn’t go ashore until he had done the formalities on the boat. He said to fetch me to do the paperwork, he was not going to inspect the boat. I went in, everything was quick and easy. Xanadu were going to do internet, first we have found in Cuba, and then have lunch. Kodo took me back and I baked a cake for when they popped by after snorkeling. Then they were going to do internet and lunch with Xanadu.
I was leaving at noon, but the anchors were not set at all and the wind gusted, so I left at 11.50. Kodo decided to leave also and Xanadu would realize that they would be on their own for lunch when they saw the boats leave.
We had to motor out of the bay and round the coast, but there was no wind. I had just got round the point and Kodo radioed to say they had engine problems. I waited for them, drifting with the current down one side of the point, they sailed in the other direction while Jean-Marc looked at the engine. This was 1pm. Later Xanadu were coming out and wanted to know what was going on. I told them and asked them to make sure Kodo got round the point, then we could sail. Xanadu towed Kodo to me just after 5pm and we drifted down current. The wind was in the right direction, normally it is completely on the nose, but it was too light to make any headway. If it did go over 5 knots it was a rarity and just a puff. Jean-Marc thinks the problem is the alternator and has a spare which is too difficult to fit at sea. I don’t have a spare one of those, but I am not sure if you need one to run the engine, or whether it is just to charge the batteries. 7pm we motored away, with about 80 miles to go. The wind did pick up and it was strong and on the nose and I cannot get much speed in that. We were all tired and stressed, but made it through the night. I treated myself to watching the Downton Xmas Special in the cockpit and it was the missing link.
I have a problem with the propshaft, it is grating. I am dreading looking, after the issues with it in the haulout. I could have done with sailing, but needed to stay next to Kodo. Xanadu caught us up in the morning, we had overtaken them in the night when they had been sailing for a while. We thought it was a fishing boat as we tried them on the radio, but they did not answer.
Slow going in the head on mid teens wind, but we made it to the buoy by 9.30. Kodo took a photo of my boat and told me that my Cuban flag was upside down, meaning I had declared war on Cuba. One 33’ boat and my do not make an armada, so I turned the flag round. I am so pleased to see the light or buoy when arriving somewhere, but when leaving I am not so pleased that it takes ages to get away from. The bay was 15 miles across 15 to 30 feet of water to the anchorage. We were tired and in shallow water, so what would you do, get out the fishing line. The wind had dropped and the boat speeded up. I caught a red snapper, but I pulled it in too fast and it spun off the hook. Later I caught an 18” King Mackerel, I think. Something had chopped through its tail and made some nasty cuts, probably a barracuda. Kodo lost a lure, broke a line and landed a barracuda which they threw back. It was nearly 2pm by the time we anchored.
Another boat had gone and collected the officials and they came to our boats and did the paperwork. The Ministry of the Interior man had to write out the headings and answers for each boat in a notebook, they could have a form printed up. The guys were very polite and we have to be inspected and get our paperwork back before we leave. We are going to try to do this the day before we want to leave, but we shall have to see.
I tried the watermarker and it lasted one second, I will have to check the fuse tomorrow. I did the washing and had a shower anyway. I cooked the fish for supper, I put the frying pan in the sea and it is easier to clean.
I will treat myself to another episode of Downton Abbey and then early to bed for a well deserved sleep.