Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Montego Bay (Jamaica) to Cienfuegos (Cuba)


Dear Friends,

We left Jamaica after a typical cold front had passed the region...The 250 miles to Cienfuegos in Cuba was ahead of us, and all seemed going nicely, were it not for a sequence of silly mistakes by the captain (trying to get from reef 3 to reef 2, whilst not really navigating close to the wind, and still having the fishing line in the water, and starting the motors in order to help steer into to wind, and then noticing that the fishing line got stuck in the port engine propeller, and ... and... and...). This is not the first and won’t be the last time... It is always amazing to see how in a few seconds one can get from a bad situation into a worst situation... And I thought to be experienced enough.. Ok, enough about this... Dora’s comments were spot on: Just stay focused and solve the issue at hand one by one (and not all at once together.. )..

After the initial stress (and me in mildly bumpy sea trying to cut away the fishing line, holding on with one hand on the safety line and the other the fishing knife... took a while, but managed...) on our way again.. Winds increased somewhat, and died out as well, so it was playing with the sails but all in all we did decent mileage... Hardly any traffic around so it was a calm night, and half way through the second day, the wind died again so had to motor sail for a while.. then winds picked up and at this rate we were going to arrive at the entrance of the channel in Cienfuegos way too early (around 3 in the morning), and it is always better to arrive in a new location by daylight.. so, had to figure out how to safely slow down the boat speed... Furled the genoa to just a small triangle, and had the main back to the third reef, plus the boom pushed into to windward side.. this kept the boat speed at around 4 knots and would put us at around 9 in the morning in Cienfuegos...This tactic worked well.. According to information we hailed the GuardaFrontera on VHF channel 16 but to no avail... No worries, we continued to move to our destination... Then a call on the VHF by a boat asking for a tow to the marina, as they had motor problems.... Ofcourse helped them out (Karma) and slowly we entered the huge Bay of Cienfuegos... We tied up the Onda Boa at the píer of the Marina and waited for the things to come. All very friendly people, and we had nothing short of 9 different people on board (a doctor, the custom guy, the imigration guy, the port authority guy, the drug sniffing dog guy, the transportation guy and so on.. various papers, documents and stamps), but all very friendly and as Dora had kept the Onda Boa in tip top shape, they all were kind of surprised to find everything so neat and clean... To stay tied upo n the píer of the marina was going to cost US$ 24 per day, and on anchor only Us$ 8, so we left and anchored out, calm waters, light breeze. Another dream realized... being cleared in in Cuba... what a great feeling.. As we needed both to check some e-mails and internet related issues, tried our luck at a hotel nearby...They had run out of prepaid internet cards so, nothing possible... On our way back we met with Sr Condido who told us he could arrange for a taxi ride to La Havana etc, so that was great. Tired but satisfied went back to Onda Boa. New adventures awaiting in Cuba.

… Hasta la Victoria, Siempre   (Che Guevara)..


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