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Our Sail to Cuba
Sail to Cuba and Check-In
Gaviota to Darsena
Santa Marta and Varadero
Farmers Market Day
Trip to Habana
Bus Trip Day One
Bus Trip Day Two
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Trip Home and U.S. Arrival
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Sail to Cuba and Arrival at Gaviota

Our sail from Marathon to the north tip of Varadero was fairly uneventful.  The gulf-stream slowed us down a little but a little wind with our big sails up helped enough to keep on schedule.  It was our first overnight crossing away from land in many years and we stared at the multitude of stars for hours.  Near the coast with city lights you can see the constellations and many other brighter stars.  When you get out on the ocean, away from land on a small boat, the whole sky is blanketed with stars and the brighter band around the Milky Way is clear and wonderful.

Morning came and we approached the Cuban coast.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Gunboats zooming out to meet and search us? Instead, we were greeted by this beautiful island with a large lighthouse - Cayo Piedras del Norte.  Our first sight of Cuba!

Our cruising guides said to call the marina harbormaster on our marine VHF radio starting around 12 miles out to let them know you are coming and approximate arrival time.  We did this at 12 miles, 6 miles and 2 miles without any answer.  Finally, a Canadian boat that went in a couple hours ahead of us called us on the radio and said we should keep coming.  As we approached Gaviota Marina the harbormaster called us on the radio with directions to the dock where we would clear in.  We tied up at 10:30am – almost exactly 18 hours after leaving Marathon.  We were in Cuba!

The dockmaster had helped us tie up and asked us to wait on the boat for officials.  Our friends on Southern Cross arrived 10 minutes behind us and 3 Penny Opera had arrived an hour ahead of us.  I mentioned Addison Chan and his new cruising guide in the planning section.  3 Penny Opera is his boat that he sails along with his wife Pat.

Our next several hours were taken up with Cuban officials.  First the harbormaster (in a military uniform) came aboard to collect our passports and ask us questions like how long we were staying in Cuba.  He left and a short while later the Doctor came aboard to ask more questions about us and the boat.  After a short wait the health / agriculture team showed up to inspect the boat.  We had plenty of the things they didn’t want to see like fresh veggies, fruit and eggs.  We just kept saying that everything was going to be eaten on the boat and they eventually left without taking any of it.

We then sat for about an hour before everyone came back with paperwork. The harbormaster with our Cuban visas and the Doctor with our health paperwork. Another hour and we were moved to the transient docks for overnight at the resort.  So far, no money had changed hands.  Everyone said we would pay and finish our check-in tomorrow. 

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