After one and a half
days motoring, our second morning at sea at last revealed a sailing breeze
which held for the final leg of Iain and Karen's 270 mile
shakedown passage. Occasional dark squall clouds came past and mid morning a
soaking wet and exhausted bright blue bird landed on the spray dodger. It was so
tired it couldn't keep its eyes open and made no attempt to move even though it
was within easy reach. Over the rest of the morning about
another dozen small colourful birds of at least 6 different species used SG
for a rest, one preferring the comforts of the cabin to perching outside.
They were all new to me and a real treat to see at such close quarters. I wonder
where their migration route was taking them and where they had started from. Our
first visitor perked up considerably having snoozed and dried out and
eventually flew off without a backward glance.
Approaching Marina Hemmingway, with finely honed
navigational skills we negotiated the narrow channel between waves breaking on
the reef close either side by simply following Jem. The downside of such
laziness was that having arrived only moments after Jem at the check-in
dock they were cleared in first while we waited at least an hour until the
horde of officals moved on to Sarah Grace. By the time they and the sniffer
dog had done their bit it with us, it was pitch black for the last half mile to
our berth in the marina.
As seems to be the
way in Cuba, the marina hosts only a handful of boats, supervised by numerous
staff and security guards. Coming in past the resturant and bar, the only people
in the place were the chefs in their tall white hats sitting watching the TV.
After our late
arrival Jem kindly cooked supper for us and by the time we went to bed we were
all too tired to bother putting up mosquito nets- something we soon
regretted. Fortunately the mosquitos don't seem to bite much but their
buzzing is quite enough to disturb sleep.
Today we have been
into Havana- the full Cuba experience: a taxi ride in a dodgy 70s Lada,
an eight piece salsa band accompanying the usual unimaginative fare in a
bar at lunchtime and strolling the amazing back streets among
delapidated but still beautiful colonial buildings. Tomorrow it is out
with the voltmeter, pliers and spare wire to sort out the
electrical problem that nearly knocked out the autohelm and VHF on the way
here and to try and work out why the batteries seem to be overcharging- such is
the variety of life aboard.