Puerto Rico to Cuba - Arrived!

Karma Daze
Chris and Penny Manley
Fri 22 Apr 2016 19:20
“21:04N 075:57W”
Friday 22nd April – Marina del Vita
Yesterday’s winds continued unabated overnight. If anything they were stronger, more like constant 20-30 knots with the very occasional higher gusts.  As the wind was from the E-ENE and we were heading west it didn’t appear  quite as windy on the back of the boat.  The seas also seemed to lessen –still probably 2 metres.  We sailed mainly on our heavily reefed mainsail, but occasionally put out a small genoa – we were trying to time our arrival here after sunrise, which was at 06.39 this morning.
The entrance into Marina de Vita is through a long channel through the mangroves; the pilot book says the marina will come out and guide you in, but that offer did not seem to be available this morning.  By 08.30 we were into the lagoon by the marina where we had to anchor until given health clearance.  The doctor came on board and we had to fill in 3 forms, he then took our temperature, declared us fit and healthy, and we could proceed into the marina.  Before we left the harbour master arrived and took with him our passports, and ship’s papers, and told us we must come into the marina NOW!
We are now tied up in the marina, and have had 2 more visits. First from the customs man, and the agriculture lady.  We had to fill in one more large form which included a list of food stuffs we had to declare.  The agriculture lady wrote this down in her own note pad, and the Captain (Chris) had to sign 2 bits of paper saying we wouldn’t put any food waste in the normal rubbish.  After declaring how many GPS receivers we have, TVs, mobile phones, computers, VHF radios on board, but no guns, animals or drugs, and having signed that form we were done – well almost...
Next to arrive was the harbour master with our tourist visas, and our passports; plus a man with a dog who searched the boat for ?drugs, but the dog was only interested in a  bowl of water.  The harbour master informed us what we now have to pay – 75 CUC$  (convertibles) each for the visas, and 55 CUC$ for everything else.  All finished by 14.30.
Cuba has 2 currencies – Cuban convertibles CUC$ and pesos MN$.  They are trying to combine the 2 but not sure if they have yet.  We have some euros that we can change and some sterling, but we hope to find an ATM tomorrow.  At the moment we have a thunderstorm passing over with some lightish rain – quite welcome as it’s very humid in the mangroves.....