Saturday, 18 January 2020

27 December Renewing a visa in Cuba - the computer says No.

From what I'd read before we arrived it should have been a simple process to renew our thirty day visas while we were staying at Hemingway Marina.   We'd arrived in the country on 9 December and were given 30 day visas by Immigration at our port of entry.  The rule is you can renew for up to two additional thirty day periods for a cost of CUC 25 each time. We were 16 days in to our visa with 14 days left and our next opportunity after Havana would be Cayo Largo approximately 350nm away on the south coast.

I thought we might be able to do the paperwork with Immigration at the Customs office at Marina Hemingway but the port captain phoned them for us and we were directed to the Immigration office five miles away on the road into Havana.  Before applying we needed to have CUC25 each in stamps for the fee.  These can only be bought at a bank.  We needed letters of support for our application from the port captain at the stating the reason for renewal, proof of medical insurance and our passports.  We also needed a car and driver.

Port Captain Gabriel phoned his friend Jorge to drive us in his '49 Chevy. Jorge has driven cruisers before, knows the process, and most importantly, knows where to find the Immigration office in its back street location.  First we went to the biggest bank with the most number of tellers and joined the line outside the doors.  Jorge was there to ask who was last in the queue and stayed with us while we waited an hour on the steps.  Plenty of time to chat and find out he had been a ship's captain before he retired and had commanded a ship of 25 crew and had sailed to South America and across the Atlantic to Russia.  He told us he spoke Russian better than English and his English is good.  He has one son who is working in Moscow and another who is also a captain in the Cuban navy.

A digression from the main story...the Russian embassy in Havana is a massive six storey, brown concrete tower perhaps built in the '80s, which is set behind a high spiked fence.  Lined up inside the compound and in front of the building is a fleet of big silver motors.  It's the biggest of all the embassies we saw and the most fortified.

Back to the bank.  An hour after we arrive we are at the front door which opens and a lady allows six people to enter the air conditioned hall.  We are given customer numbers and then wait another 45 minutes for it to be called but now we have leatherette sofas with broken springs to sit on.  Jorge comes with us to explain to the teller what we want, CUC50 worth of stamps.  It takes less than 3 minutes and we can now proceed to the Immigration office around the corner.

Jorge is brilliant.  We would never have found the building as it is in a back road.  It doesn't have a sign on the fence to tell you what it is and we wouldn't have known we had to go to the upstairs office. In luck today we only had to wait half an hour before it was our turn. Jorge was our interpreter once more and explained what we wanted.  I handed over our passports and she examined the visas, tapped her computer keybo and said 'Non'.  The computer system cannot renew a visa more than three days before the expiry date although we do have three days grace after expiry to renew.  Through Jorge we explained we were travelling on a sail boat and travelled with the weather.   Staying in the Marina Hemingway for another 11 days wasn't possible because we needed to move on westwards along the coast and the weather was good to move now. This cut no ice with the Ice Maiden it was still Non, rules are rules and they are there to be followed.   All we can do is hope to make the next port of entry by 11 January and hope the officials accept we tried.  We have the Port Captain's letter dated today, the stamps from the bank and our receipt for them dated today.
It wasn't an entirely wasted day.  Jorge found a hairdresser for me for a much needed cut at a modern salon for only $5.  Then it was to the produce stalls for fruit, vegetables and smoked pork and a bakery for french baguettes on the way home.

The trip took three and a half hours.  Jorge usually charges CUC/$10 and hour but he either enjoyed David's tales, or took pity on us, and reduced the fare to $30.
The saga of renewing a visa to be continued....

Christmas Day in Cuba

Christmas Day on Jackster was cancelled this year.
David woke with a start in the early hours of the morning and leapt out of bed.  In my sleepy haze I wondered if he was looking for his presents under the tree? Or had he heard Santa landing his sledge on the deck? No.  After our day in Havana yesterday he had food poisoning and needed to get to the bathroom fast.  Poor David spent the next 36 hours in bed feeling dreadful.   I spent the day quietly, bringing the patient drinks when he was awake, and when he was asleep I went to the Hemingway yacht club to check emails and then for a ride around the marina on my bike.  Our Christmas dinner stayed in the freezer, the bottle of fizz in the cupboard.

24 December Havana

You can't come to Cuba and not visit Havana.  We shared an old taxi and the day with Linda and Chris of Mon Ark to visit the historic city.  On this day the wind was blowing strongly from the north and waves were breaking across the Malecon, the coastal road, which was closed to traffic.  Our driver dropped us off next to the entrance to the port of Havana which forms the natural heart of the old city.

With guide books in hand and Google translate at the ready we started our sightseeing at the fort, a stronghold for storing Aztec gold from South America for the Spanish fleet to carry back to Spain.   Around the cobbled square we came to Calle Obispo which is one of two well known destinations for the tourist.  Here we found a group of musicians and dancers on stilts, even on stilts their rhythm was undeniable.  Along Obispo the shops are unchanged in appearance for a hundred years with painted signs and tiled walls; a barber which claims to be the oldest in Cuba, a pharmacy with the wooden drawers and tradtional glass bottles, a lace shop and one of the numerous hotels which claim Hemingway as a regular patron.  He must have done a lot of drinking in a lot of bars.

We strolled around the back streets, music seeming to come from every room, every restaurant and every corner, past the cathedral whose doors were closed, past a bar offering salsa lessons to foregners.  We had coffee in a shaded arcade serenaded by three talented ladies playing classical arrangements of popular songs on violins, wondered at the lines of cerise Cadillac taxis and beautifuly restored classic American cars.

We were too late in the day to visit the Capitol building but strolled around it.  It is an almost exact replica of the Capitol building in Washington, but bigger.  Not much bigger, just a couple of metres longer, a couple of metres wider and with the second largest interior statue in the world. Unfortunately my guide book omitted to disclose which is the largest.  We did see the huge gold figure through an open door and it's impressive.  Havana's Capitol was built in the 20s as a nod to the US when Cuba had close political and economic ties.

Another building from the former age has been repurposed to house the Museum of the Revolution.  The grand 19th century Governors house now has a Russian tank from the 60s which it says Castro took command of and fired a shell from, possibly something involving the Bay of Pigs invasion.  The museum had also closed for the day so our visit was limited to reading information boards written in Spanish and gazing through the fence at the outdoor collection of Russian rockets, a bit of Sputnik, the fuselage of an American spy plane and in it's own glass sided room, MV Granma which brought revolutionaries Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and 60 men from Mexico in '56 to start the revolution by ousting US supported President and all round oppressor, Batista.  Batista finally fled Cuba on 1 January '59 and settled in Portugal leaving the island for the new man, Fidel, to run.

Havana is fascinating.  The historic buildings have been restored.  Their are plenty of foreign visitors, but look behind the glitz and shiny international hotels, past the pink Cadillacs, upwards and around corners and you see everyday life continuing.  In the centre of the city there were traditional produce markets, people apartments with crumbling facades, a spiders' nest of electric wires and lines of washing on the balcony, windows without glass or wood to protect from the elements or to deaden the ever present music.  Walking the little streets we would have to press against the wall as a big dustcart squeezed along.  Finding a rubbish bin to put your ice cream pot into took ten minutes. A rubbish bin, and presumed collection, is something we take for granted.

For me Havana is a city of contrasts and well worth visiting for its exuberance, its joie de vivre.  What it did (refreshingly) lack on Christmas Eve was any Santas or Jingle Bells or any of the commercialism we get force fed at home.  Hurrah for Havana and Happy Christmas!

Thursday, 16 January 2020

18 December Marina Hemingway

We arrrived at the Customs dock in Marina Hemingway at 8am just as the rain and wind of the approaching frontal system arrived.  Celarance inward was simple.  We were inspected and passed good to proceed to the marina dock.   We were directed to canal number two next to the marina office, the showers, etc and next to our British friends Jason, Anita and grown up kids Natasha and Nick on Aventure who we'd met in the Bahamas in May.  Sometimes it's a delightfully small world.  Mon Ark followed us on to the dock a couple of hours later.  We had done our tie up in the rain.  They had dry conditions.
Once we were on the dock the dock master came on board for his inspection and paperwork.  His name is Gabriel and we think he looks like Denzel Washington - a real gentleman.  The health inspector and the vet stopped by to say hello and see Polly.  David was telling the vet how he fishes for Polly when he can and the vet said he was a fisherman too when he had hooks.  A small gift of  packet of hooks was found in the fishing cupboard for him.
What can I say about Marina Heminway?  It's nine miles to the west of Havana.  Ernest Hemingway was a frequent visitor in the forties and fifties and took Fidel and Che out on his boat on fishing trips.  Today it's glory is fading.  The four canals are mostly empty with most boats in number two between the marina office to the north side and Hotel Acaurios on the south side of the canal.  Today we are one of six international cruising boats visiting.  More boats, mostly sports fishers, some owned by Cubans, are permanent residents.  Our neighbours are a Chilean family visiting their Halbery Rassy Williwaw for the holidays, Amorie and Maria from Canada (via Iran) and Spain on a Hunter 36, Dutch Rob and Bowdeen on Bojangles, British Balls on Aventure with their two little dogs Chloe and Fluffy and lovely Canadians Linda and Chris on Mon Ark.

17 December Clearing out from Varadero

The distance between Marina Varadero and Marina Hemingway is too far to complete in daylight on a short winter day.  Both Mon Ark and Jackster cleared out with the Guarda Frontera yesterday to make an overnight passage to Hemingway in light winds ahead of an approaching frontal system.
The procedure for moving from port to port in Cuba is first you pay your marina bill and then you are directed to the clearance dock to collect your despacho.  We'd calculated if we could leave the dock around 3pm we'd arrive in Havana about 8am next morning.  Check out time for the marina was advised as 12 noon, but with no other boats we were hoping there'd be some leniency.  We went to the office early in the morning to ask for our bill. When we were given it it wasn't right.  We'd been on the dock for 4 nights yet were being charged for six.  The accounts office had calculated one days' charge for each calendar day instead of four 24 hour periods.   When we questioned the maths a new invoice was prepared.  This time it was for five days because we'd indicated to the manager we'd like to leave the dock three hours after midday.  This was when we realised rules are rules when dealing with a government owned business.  There's no flexibility on their part, but there is on hours - we changed our departure time to midday and saved $35.
At midday port captain was there to pull the plug on our electricity and to hand us our lines.  We tootled over to the Customs dock and tied up ready for our clearance inspection.  This time the officers were two ladies around twenty years old.  Their military uniforms were quite the statement - tight white blouses over uplift bras showing plenty of cleavage, short, short blue skirts and fishnet pattern tights.  Each girl had full make up, long artificial nails with diamante applique and the senior of the two played music on her phone throughout the interview. Very relaxed ladies and no English.  All they wanted to do was stamp our paperwork and go back to lunch.  They were so relaxed we were able to stay on the dock for a couple of hours while we had lunch and waited for our preferred departure time.  Thank you Guarda Frontera Varadero.

15 December A trip to market

We're cruisers. We mad enough to travel twenty miles to a the local market.  In Varadero it is also a sightseeing trip on an open top double decker bus.  The 17 miles strip of sand has hotel after hotel along it's length with a fleet of the tourist buses travelling along the length from about 9am until 7pm.  The marina is on the eastern extremity and the market in a village a mile beyond the last stop on the west end of the spit. We hopped on the bus outside the hotal anWid for the princely sum of CUC 5  for ride all day ticket and rode down to Varadero town which took 45 minutes.  It was very pleasant to gaze out on the way down.  Alighting from the bus I pulled out the phone for the Cuban road map I'd downloaded earlier and we started walking to Santa Lucia.  Our path took us along the river bank and up steps to the main road and over the river and onto the village.  It was reassuring to see people walking towards us with bags of produce. I assumed they were coming from the market and for once the assumption was spot on.
An agro pecaurio is a farmer's market.  This one was in an open yard.  On one side were the shops and stalls selling pork and beef.  On another side there were trucks loaded with pineapples being sold off the back and in the middle stalls with produce.  What is available is limited to the time of year, nothing grown under glass or treated with chemicals, only natural manure and the orange soil.  Our first purchase was a bottle of honey from an old man.  He was sat on a chair with a dozen bottles on a sack in front of him, some of the bottles were half size rum bottles, other full size wine bottles.  Recycle and re-purpose through neccesity.  Using spanish and body language he wanted us to try his honey. He took my hand and poured a nugget on the inside of my wrist to lick off. I had half and David had half.  I didn't like think how many germs there might be after riding a bus and handling unwashed vegetables.  Honey's a natural disenfectant isn't it?  The honey was really good so we bought a bottle and paid a lot less than I had in the US.
To this we added sweet potatoes, fragant pineapples, green tomatoes, some cucumbers and a large bunch of lettuce.  I was careful to confirm the prices per pound were in local pesos versus CUCs before agreeing, careful to avoid produce with bug holes.  Next door to the market was the bakery which had large white rolls at 15 for £1.   The customers in line spotted we were not locals and were all smiles and help.  One lady pointed to the bread and gave us a thumbs up, a man handed me a large plastic bag.
It was a good day and a positive experience of meeting local people, finding my poor Spanish wasn't a barrier to communication and seeing real Cuban life.  People really are all smiles, colourful and welcoming to guests in their country.   And the quality of the fruit and vegetables?  The tomatoes ripened to red over the next two to three days.  The pineapples were sweet, no blemishes and lasted over a week.  I did wash everything in a weak bleach solution in the cockpit before bringing anything down below.  We don't need any stowaways in the form of cockroaches or ants.
When we returned to the marina we had neighbours!  A Canadian boat called Mon Ark with Linda and Chris on board - a lovely couple - and the first cruising boat we'd met.  They had come across from Marathon in Florida.  We had dinner together at the tapas bar and David and I both feel this could be one of those special friendships that will last a long time.  We hope so.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

13 December Marina Gaviota Varadero

We began the 320nm passage from Puerto de Vita to Varadero with 15knots on our starboard quarter and a favourable current on Wednesday morning. At dawn on Friday morning, Friday 13th, we arrived at the seaward entrance into Varadero twelve hours ahead of the onset of strong north winds.  The channel is wide, clearly marked as per Navionics and with a least depth of 6m through the five mile course from sea to Customs Dock.  It such a long way in and around two sides of a mangrove covered island we questioned whether our GPS was correct as we seemed to be in the same spot for a long time.  GPS was still working. It was our eye to brain co-ordination which was faulty.  
I had first hailed the marina when we arrived at the beginning of the channel and called again every fifteen minutes.  It was when we were outside the entrance that we were answered.  I think they only have a hand held VHF.
We were impressed by the quality of the marina entrance which lined us up to kiss onto the Customs dock straight ahead.  The marina manager and port captain were there to take our lines on a morning without a breath of wind.
Port Captain Felix left his shoes on the dock and came aboard to check our paperwork. He was followed by his tall assistant. All papers were in order.  Felix searched the boat, presumably for stowaways, checked we still had a cat and went through the checklist of electronics and equipment we carry.  He sealed the box we keep our flares in with official tape and included the hand held Garmin GPS inside.  This was to stay sealed while we were in the marina.  Felix had accepted a can of cold Coke while No. 2 declined, but when he was about to leave he asked for a tip for Christmas lunch.  Quick as a flash I returned 'cook it well'. Not an original riposte but the best I could manage at short notice. Like most cruisers, we strongly resist giving additional remuneration to officials, we feel it doesn't help the people travelling after us, so avoiding a direct 'no' we offered an alternative of a Coke or soap or biscuits which were declined.
Once finished with Guardia Frontera marina manager Jose directed us to our slip in the eastern side of the marina.  Boy were we lucky to get a slip!  1,000 spaces and only 7 boats here.  We had a dock which could hold 25 boats to ourselves.  It was designed for Med mooring but with so much space we went alongside.  Transient boats used to go to the western basin close to the shower facilities.  We were told this has been closed since hurricane Irma damaged it in 2016 and it still needs repairing.  With our bikes the eastern section is not too far and there are showers under the bar playing loud music 200m to the east.  OK not all the lights work and they haven't been assaulted by a mop and bucket for a while and there wasn't any hot water until we asked for the electrician to take a look. He fixed it.
The electrician, Liber (sp?) is a great guy, built like a Russian shot putter, always smiling and good English.  He knows his electrics and reconfigured our plug to allow us to take 220V from a 110V supply.
Laundry service was excellent with our washing collected and delivered back same day for CUC6 a big bag.

10 December Settling into Cuba

What are the first things we need / want after arriving in a new country, after clearance of course?   First local currency and then internet.  In Bahamas we'd go from the ATM to the phone shop and buy a SIM card and a data package.  It's not as simple in Cuba though we had read the guide books and were prepared for the differences.  Addison Chan's Waterway Guide to Cuba is the most up to date guide we found and he has excellent information and tips on how to do things.
Puerto de Vita is a military base 5 miles from the nearest town.  Our choices were either to walk a mile and a half to the main road and flag down a bus.  Possible because we already have local CUCs (tourist currency where CUC1 = US$1) and CUPs (market currency where there are 24 CUPs to one CUC) from a Frenchman we met when we were diving in Bay Islands Honduras earlier in the year.  He'd left Cuba with currency still in his pocket and nowhere outside Cuba will exchange Cuban money.  We bought it from him.
Our other option was to ask the marina to book us a taxi.  For CUC25 we would have a car and driver to take us wherever we wanted to go.  This is what we chose, first day in a new country, we were going to the bank with a large amount of pounds sterling and it would be easier.  Victor arrived in his '59 Dodge Comet; a splendid red and white beast of a car.  Being sixty years old, the car, not Victor, there had been some upgrades; the original engine replaced by a diesel Mercedes straight 6 turbo, new upholstery, LED lighting and set into the back of the front seat headrests , DVD screens and a rudimentary air conditioning.
The road into Santa Lucia was rough, plenty of potholes which weren't a problem for the many horses and carts we saw.  Very few cars, a bus and some electric scooters.  One of the first things we noticed about the town, a real country town, was the absence of any commercial advertising. In their place were statements along the lines of 'one for all and all for one' and 'for the benefit of the country'.
At the bank we learned how to queue Cuban style, a tip I'd picked up from our cruising guide.  Approach the group of people hanging around outside and inside the door and ask Ultimo? Who's last? A hand shoots up and then we watch until that person is served and we know we are next to be served.  Likewise next person walks through the door and asks who is last in line and I put my hand up.  But it takes forever to be served.  We waited for nearly an hour to exchange sterling for Cuban convertible pesos, or CUCs which are set at parity with the US dollar.  When you have CUCs, the tourist currency, you can then buy Cuban pesos, CUPs at the rate of 24 for 1 CUC.  This is the money for going to the market, buying bread and catching local buses.
After the bank we stopped at a corner stall and spent our first CUPs on tomatoes and fruit. On the other corner a stall was pressing fresh sugar cane for drinks at CUP1 a glass, or about 3p a glass, and a meat stall with a fresh pig carcass stored under cardboard to keep the flies away.
Everyone was very friendly, lots of smiles and a good first experience of rural Cuban life.
Our stay in Puerto de Vita was brief, 48 hours and we were ready to be on our way to Marina Gaviota Varadero 320nm to the west.
First we had to settle our bill for the marina and pay for our cruising permit (CUC 55) and tourist visas (CUC 75 each for one month). All monies for marina and clearance fees are paid through the marina because the Port Captain is not allowed to handle money, nor is the Guardia Frontera.  Our Despacho with clearance through to Varadero was delivered promptly, lines were cast and we waved goodbye to Puerto de Vita.

9 December Arriba Cuba! Puerto de Vita port of entry

At dawn on the second day we are approaching the coast of Cuba.  There is 20 knots of wind and two to three metre seas, but as we close on entrance to Puerto de Vita we come into a wind and wave shadow giving us perfect, settled conditions with which to navigate the winding channel.  The navigation marks line up with our Navionics charts and the least depth is 8m on a mid, falling tide.
The channel widens into a protected hurricane hole with the Guardia Frontera building in front of us and channel markers just before it leading to the marina, the anchorage and the Customs dock.  I've radioed ahead to the Harbour Master to announce our arrival and request permission to enter.  His English is fair though not entirely clear over the radio.  We are lucky he does speak English because I have no Spanish.  I ask about the depth of the channel to the marina.  All my research pre-arrival indicated it would be a close call for our 2.1m draft and the tide was falling.  A cruiser who came here two years ago wrote it was 2m deep and they went aground on the west side in 1.8m.   The Harbour Master told me it was 'about 2 to 3m'.  Still not feeling confident.  Our electronic charts showed depths of 1m in places.  Finally the marina sent out a young man who was leading a group of tourists in little speed boats and he said 'it is 4 metres all the way'.
Very cautiously we followed him setting our bow half way between the green and read bifurcation mark and the red marker to starboard.  From there there are sets of greens and reds and we kept to the centre all the way to the last red and green bifurcation mark.  At this point you can continue south west into a large anchorage or turn sharp left onto the Customs dock (21�04.31N 075�57.34W).
What were the depths?  Plenty deep enough. We calculate that the shallowest we saw keeping to mid channel would be 3.6m at MLW and that was for a brief moment.  For the rest of the time it was 4m (as the man from the marina said it would be).  The depth in the anchorage is about 3.8m and on the Customs dock 3m.
The Customs dock is the first section of the concrete jetty and painted grey.  There were plenty of hands to take our lines and tie us off to big and solid cleats.  The marina manager is a lady called Janey.  Her English is excellent and she took the time to explain everything to us from procedures to costs at the marina before handing us over to the authorities to begin the clearance.
First on board was the doctor who asked a number of questions and took our temperature by pointing a laser beam on our foreheads.  We were clear and issued with a certificate.  Next came Port Captain, Yulexis A. Napoles Garcia, with the sniffer dog with handler.  Spaniel Sula looked less than enthusiastic about her work and needed lots of encouragement from her handler.  She went around the decks and then inside.  It wasn't clear whether she was drugs or explosives or both, but she didn't detect our flares in a box under the floor.  Sula went ashore and handler stayed on board. Port Captain went on a tour of the boat with David, opening some cupboards and asking questions then meticulously filled out the forms.  He is a charming man with excellent English, very polite.  A man from Customs joined the party briefly and he and I had a chat about our sailing life and family.  He opened a few cupboards within his arm reach.
Port Captain departed with our passports and papers.   Everyone else left with him and we had time to have a lunchtime BLT sandwich.
Port Captain returned with our passports with visas on a slip of paper folded inside.  They understand that a Cuban stamp in your passport might cause trouble further on and offer the removable paper.  He also brought the Ministry of Agriculture inspector and the vet.  Mr Agriculture inspected our stocks of fresh fruit and vegetables, believed me when I said we had no fresh meat (only frozen and tinned), and issued a certificate to say we had passed.  The vet spoke no English, was the most timid vet we've encountered.  David had to hold Polly while he tentatively checked her legs and paws.  Was she well? Yes. Do we have a certificate of vaccinations? Yes. Rabies too, but he wasn't interested.  He gave us a piece of paper to say our cat had passed inspection.
By now we had a nice pile of certificates and papers and we could step ashore.  Directly above the customs dock, two flights of steps are the marina buildings.  We needed to see Janey to sign a contract setting out the terms and conditions of Marina Gaviota Puerto de Vita.  We could anchor for free or stay alongside on the Customs dock (they weren't expecting any other boats to arrive) for $0.70 per foot including RO water and electricity, showers too.  However...the showers were rural with a resident insect population, no seats on the toilet and basic.  There is a restaurant on site where we were able to order food and drink on the promise of paying once we'd been to the bank to change money.
Getting electricity nearly cost us our boat.  Despite the power towers being new, top notch American style provided by a Spanish company they were wired incorrectly.  We were told there was a choice of either 110V or 220V.  As we are able to take both David opted for 110V because we had the right adapter.  Mr Electrician and David communicated with hands, words and drawings and the plug was pushed in.  I was inside and smelt burning rubber before seeing smoke pouring out from the cupboard over the sink. Fire! Fire!  If I hadn't been close to call the alarm we would have set on fire.  As it was was our transformer damaged beyond repair?  Something was very wrong with the power supply.   Mr Electrician tried another power tower and the same thing happened � the wiring overheated and they was a horrible small of burning rubber.
We decided we would cope with power to avoid risking more damage.  When David had time to run checks he found there was no permanent damage to our system. Thank goodness.
The restaurant closes in the evening so I cooked on board and while we ate we in turn were eaten by No See-ums until they disappeared after sunset.

26 November Bahamas quick step

Leaving Charleston on Tuesday morning with Jackster filled to the top with fuel and provisions we sail south with the wind on our starboard beam for a day and once we are abreast of Jacksonville turn east to cross the Gulf Stream at a narrower spot.  The wind clocks with our turn and stays on the beam.  At dusk it's been a comfortable day's sail and we're across. Time to turn for the Bahamas and as we do the wind clocks again.  It really is fortuitous and we sail all the way.
From landfall at Spanish Wells we day southwards until a series of weather fronts keeps us holed up in a protected lagoon at the south end of Eleuthera.  We're waiting for a 48 hour slot to allow us to continue on to Cuba but all we're seeing is no wind or wind from the wrong direction.  Never mind it's a pretty place to hang out.  Of course departure day comes around as it always does and we have a brilliant sail to Puerto de Vita on the north and east coast of Cuba.