Ensenada de los Barcos, Isla de la Juventud

21:54.886N 82:59.293W

Thursday 26th January 2012

Distance run: 23 nmiles

Up reasonably early to get the boat ready for sea, get a weather forecast and go ashore to collect the Guarda so they can search the boat before we leave. The same two guys came aboard, actually both very nice. They removed their army boots on the aft deck without being asked, and the older guy, the boss, had huge holes in his socks, so he took them off too and then laughed about them all the way down to the saloon. They were much less shy about accepting our offer of a cold drink this time, and tucked into the plate of biscuits we offered. The paperwork was completed fairly quickly and a hasty whiz around the boat served as a search by the younger chap. He apparently is 20 years old and doing 2 years with the Guarda, then he wants to go to school to learn English. Not sure what he plans to do with it though as his English doesn't stretch to discussing that yet, and neither does my Spanish. I had to almost insist that they take the chocolate brownies I made the evening before for the young guys at the Guarda post (maybe they knew about my cooking!) which was just so different from all the officials who expected and asked for handouts at Hemingway. I asked to take their photo, but they said they were not allowed to as they were in uniform.

Once they were safely back on dry land we pulled up the rib and the anchor and set off for the north-west tip of the island. It was a lovely sail on a broad and then a beam reach in very calm seas which were only about 6 metres deep for much of the way. As we turned into the wind to enter the anchorage we put the engine on and motored the last couple of miles into an enormous bay with not another boat in sight. We chose our spot and dropped the anchor.

Right on cue, around 1800, the wind died away and the light chop disappeared from the sea. Now it is very quiet and still, and very, very dark and we're off to bed ready for an early start tomorrow.