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

Thursday morning, we checked forecast with Chris Parker.  Good weather tonight for crossing and next possibility would be the following Tuesday.  Laura and I talked a long time to figure out when we should leave and what else we wanted to do in Cuba.

Our main objectives in Cuba were to do a little sightseeing but mostly find some beautiful islands for swimming, snorkeling and hanging out.  After spending over an hour talking with Addison (the Cuba expert), I realized there was no chance for us to travel to islands for swimming, snorkeling, etc.  Nice islands were on the west and south coast which was too far and weather not good in 3-4 days.

We walked over to Southern Cross and had a long talk with D and Don.  They wanted to stay and learn more about Cuba, it’s people and history.  Since we couldn’t get to any islands in the next few days and the weather was excellent for the crossing tonight, we decided to leave.

Not sure of the process, I talked with a Canadian boater, Gary, who said I needed to start with the marina manager Ismale.  It happened that Ismale was in the marina lobby when I walked up and he agreed to organize all the officials for us leaving around 5pm.  We had two main procedures – 1. Pay and checkout of the marina and, 2. Check out of Cuba with the harbormaster. 

There were some difficulties in rounding up the people later in the afternoon but it eventually all worked out.  The marina charges were $280 for six nights including $50 for electric and $8 for water.  I paid the marina with some of the Cuban CUCs I had left then sold the rest of them to D and Don.

Around 4pm the harbormaster came over to check us out.  After filling out a few papers I happened to notice that he wrote “Marina Hemmingway” as our next stop.  I then told him (for about the 5th time) that “No Hemmingway.  We leave Cuba.  Back to Florida.”  Finally he understood and said he had to go back to the office and work on the computer.  Since he had been early, it really didn’t matter to me so I sat back and waited.

½ hour later he came back with a big smile.  “I have everything now!” he said as he handed me our passports and a paper to sign.  We had a laugh as he kept saying, “to Florida”.  As he was leaving I offered him $5 for his help.  This was the first time in Cuba that somebody turned down a tip.  He told me, “Not allowed.” And walked away.

We said our good-byes to D, Don and Bruce while getting the boat ready.  Just before 5pm, Ismale, the accountant who did my marina invoice, the harbormaster and a few other people came down to say good-bye and help us off.  We untied our lines and motored out of the harbor onto a smooth ocean.

I think I will always remember our last view of the marina - all the Cubans waving and smiling while Ismale shouted, "This is not good-bye.  See you soon!  See you soon!"

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