Punta Francis

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Thu 5 May 2011 20:39
21:35.53N 083:11.96W   Punta Francis
On Monday we set off from Maria la Gorda but on rounding the first headland we hit some very rough water and high winds, straight on our nose. We persevered for couple of hours, but then turned back, as it was terribly uncomfortable. We then decided to wait until Tuesday night and do the passage, as the winds drop back significantly at night. We only had 80nm to go, so took it slowly, conserved fuel and arrived in Punta Francis early yesterday morning.
This bay is on the south western end of Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youths), the biggest of the many Cuban islands It was renamed by Castro when he settled many young people here - he was previously in prison on this island and I guess was keen to change its image. It is very quiet down here, with nothing but white, white beaches, blue, blue sea and lots of sea-life.  The bay is known for diving trips, but until this morning the only sign of life we saw in the whole bay were two local spear-fishermen.  On our first snorkelling trip, we did discover a HUGE bug ... which served us well for dinner. Tom & Mike had also caught a small snapper and grouper, which we had for lunch!
This morning we woke up and were very surprised to see a large cruise ship in the bay, ferrying tourists to the beach. They were also being taken on dive and snorkelling trips in the bay. This must be one of the first cruise ship trips over here and apparently came from The Caymens.  We also saw a Pilot boat which later came over to us. We were a little nervous, as we had heard conflicting stories about whether or not we could stop and anchor in this bay. Information for cruisers is limited to 2 guidebooks that were publishes over 12 years ago!  However the Guardia on board simply asked a few questions and were not interested in seeing our "papers". They were obviously in the bay to check that no Cubans 'escaped' on the cruise ship.
This afternoon we went snorkelling again - and took a drive around the bay in our dinghy.  Tomorrow we head further east to Archipielago de los Canarreos.