Cuba arrival II, thursday 19/4.
Sarah Grace goes to sea
Chris Yerbury and Sophy White
Sun 22 Apr 2007 04:48
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.