Day 14 - Varadero - Havana Cuba
Phil, Di and Annelise
Sat 8 Apr 2017 20:34
Preparing to leave mid-day - that is clearing out procedures (not too dissimilar to clearing in!) involved getting the invoice from the dock-masters accountant, walking round to the marina restaurant to pay, walking back to the dock-master with the receipt, passing this on to the customs officer and . waiting. and waiting - by 11:30a.m. the customs officer came out to the boat and made the same inspection of each cabin - issued a "Permiso Especial de Navigacion para Embarciones de Recreo Extranjeras" - basically a cruising licence to enter and leave other Cuban ports without going through customs clearance each time (apparently.).
At last we were clear to leave in the fresh northerly wind that had developed whilst we were waiting! Lines slipped and out into the narrow channel of Canal de Buba (well marked with bouys). After half an hour of heavy motoring into wind and waves towards the Cayo Pierdras del Norte lighthouse - we decided to take a westerly route off the bank, followed by new friends on "Black Swan". Sails set in deep water, course ordered for Havana, we settled into routine shifts for the afternoon and overnight passage. Closely watching "Black Swan" - it was nice to have company for once on this short passage.
Company of another sort joined us along the way - a pod of over 100 hundred "short" (3-4ft) dolphins - a little unnerving as they sped towards the boat jumping and swimming at great speed - passing under (not over thankfully) and playing in the bow wave for a good 15 minutes before moving on - we were probably too slow for them to stay long!
Night fell, an almost full moon to light our way, wind gusting but beginning to drop, we sailed past a few minor ports off the north coast of Cuba - mostly industrial, oil terminals and cargo bays and eventually to the lights of Havana. Old orange (sodium) lights of "Habana Viejo" and then white lights of the newer, high rise Havana. Arriving a little early at the entrance to marina Hemingway - we hove-to and waited for full light as the narrow entrance was reported to be difficult in cross winds and flanked by reefs either side!
Phil and Di