Leaving Cuba & Hurricane Maria

SV Meshugga
Nicholas & Deidre Mace
Tue 19 Sep 2017 13:08
We’ve spent an interesting week at Marina Hemingway and enjoyed many excellent meals at the new restaurant Marea which is on the waterway and welcomes visitors by dingy.
On approaching the staff rush to open the rope boundary fencing and take your dingy painter. Day beds and loungers overlook the water and many people swim from the restaurant – steps leading down into the water. All fresh and beautifully decorated in blues and white. The food is excellent and well priced, as well as great cocktails.
We did try other restaurants but kept returning to Marea as they outclassed all the others.
Today, we have changed our plans to go sightseeing in Havana and will leave Cuba.
Hurricane Maria has crossed into the Caribbean Sea, and will cross back to the Atlantic over Peurto Rico. Any slight change to the expected path will have her coming too close for comfort to Cuba. We will begin to feel the outer winds tomorrow which will be from the north, so we will leave today and head north up to the west coast of Florida – probably to St Petes, a 280 mile trip, two slow days or one and half fast days – all depends on our crossing of the Gulf Stream current, winds and sea state.
Sightseeing will have to wait for our return visit to Cuba in December with Connor, Genne, Kieran and Katie.
However, we have seen tons of old cars both here in the marina, and on our trip to banks, shops, markets etc.
Interestingly, it seems to be a status symbol for people to own the cars, and they are all in great condition and driven with pride.
And contrary to my expectation, there are also loads of normal modern cars both older and new models which is the majority on the roads.
On a sad note, we are exhausted of people coming and asking for ‘tips’ or ‘presents’. Everyone expects foreigners to arrive with loads of brand new clothes, household appliances and a ton of cash to give out to them, and for locals to work on the boat they are not shy in asking for rates higher than those we pay in the states. It confirms all the write up I’ve read on Cuba that everything has begun changing fast over the past 2 years.
Take Care