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
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
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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