Thursday afternoon I gave up on the blog……the internet kept falling over and the photos wouldn’t load……and I was fed up with using lots of internet access cards too. While I was doing all this Richard had been chatting and ended up challenging the crew of Florentina to a game of boules – so the guys came and played – with the German female contingent opting out. Richard wore his French hat to gain a psychological advantage but was let down by my shoddy performance. The final result of the tournament was Germany 2 – England 1. Oh well, never mind…..
Back on board, feeling a bit chilled from the north wind, we had some dinner and an early night after a nice sunset.
Friday morning I tried again to publish the blog and it failed. So we decided to walk to the hotel for a better consistent signal – this is just so frustrating. Richard listened to Chris Parker, the Caribbean weather guru, on the SSB. These cold fronts just keep on coming through. The northern coast of Cuba is pretty inhospitable and, although there are lots of cayos and mangrove areas inside the vast reef which runs along the coast (10 miles out in places) this inside run cannot be attempted at night as the charts are pretty sketchy in places and it needs eyeball navigation. On top of that a north wind makes the cuts into these areas pretty difficult too. So we are thinking instead of doing a straight 30 hour passage to the end of the island rather than days of daylight hops – especially as we are not allowed to go ashore at our destinations – before making an overnight passage on to Mexico across the Yucatan Strait. We want to avoid north winds and, guess what, Chris is predicting three cold fronts coming through on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday….and the front that we are in the middle of hadn’t even blown itself out yet. So it was starting to look like we might be here for a while.
At the hotel – I finally got the blog published. Yay! We need more internet cards so decided while we were out and about we’d walk to Club Havana where we know they had some previously. Walking along from the hotel I spotted a hair salon – so popped in and made an appointment for Saturday.
We walked slowly and checked out the fishermen’s village and some of the local streets along the way. At the Club they sold us some cards – that’s a relief. But will have to be more careful about how we use them this time!
Walking back we spotted some unusual shapes and colours down a side street so went off to take a look. Well – it is a tribute to the architect Antoni Gaudi – and there are all sorts of mosaics and strange buildings. We also spotted a little dog up on a roof who thinks he is a mountain goat LOL.
As we went past a pretty ordinary-looking building we were tempted in by the guy outside who promised us a garden oasis in the city.
Sceptical but interested we followed him in – through a modern nightclub type bar – and were amazed to find ourselves in a little paradise. It is brand new and only been open a month, we never expected to find anything like this here in this small town.
We sat down, ordered a beer, looked at the menu and got tempted. We ended up with chicken and pork from the open fire pit with rice and salad. Was absolutely lovely….and the total cost was only 17 CUC and that included four beers! And clearly the hummingbird thought it was an oasis too as he flew from flower to flower…. What a treat – we suddenly didn’t feel quite so fed up about having to stay here because of weather.
Moving further down the street we explored more of the Gaudi-inspired area and were absolutely fascinated by this hidden gem of mosaics. On the way back the sky was full of mare’s tails – which indicates another front is coming. Great…..sigh…..
We walked back to Morphie and Richard continued with the construction of port fillers. What are they for I hear the non-sailors asking? Well, in extreme conditions, it is possible for ports (windows) to get smashed by big seas. That can be a catastrophic event and so we are thinking about what we would do in those very rare circumstances – and this is all Richard’s idea. So that was what the jigsaw was for!!! Pretty good so far eh? He’s such a clever clogs. We didn’t do anything else for the rest of the day other than chilling in the cockpit and having another early night.
Saturday morning I left Richard continuing with his port fillers and wandered off to the hairdressers. And, of course, it wasn’t open. Oh well…..obviously I had the first appointment of the day…and she is on island time. So I sat at the bus stop opposite and read my book for a while – but gave up after 25 minutes. Clearly she was going to be a no show. Feeling really fed up I wandered back.
Richard had by now finished the port fillers and had thought of a way of securing them in place – there will be wood batons fixed inside across the hole…. Great job! I must reiterate for all the family and friends that read this that this is a very rare occurrence – so do not worry! But we certainly feel happier knowing that we have something ready if that situation were ever to occur.
Forced back down below because of the cold we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening watching movies….
Sunday morning and we did a few boat jobs – and the wind has died down and the wind is now coming from the north east. Hmmmm……interesting! We decided to return to the outside bar which is located between the end of Canal 1 and Canal 2 – and it was rammed. There was some sort of car event going on……there was loud music, people dancing, and cars doing doughnuts! It was kind of funny – here we were taking photos of the old cars – while the locals were all posing in front of the BMW that was centre stage. We sat out on the wall for a while enjoying the sun and watching some boat traffic – the declining wind had encouraged people to get on the move.
We went up the stairs to Papas restaurant – which is actually a Chinese. It is pretty shabby chic but the food smells were good so we ordered a late lunch. Wow – it was great!!! Thoroughly enjoyed it – and clearly it is a favourite as there were many locals in there having family occasions. And we would have taken photos of the food but we couldn’t wait to tuck in LOL.
Back on board and we sat in the cockpit and listened to music – waving at Pieter and his crew as they headed out to a restaurant in their dinghy – and watched the sun go down. It was another moody one because of the heavy cloud cover.
This morning – Monday – and Chris Parker thinks that the weather patterns are moderating which means we can make a passage to Mexico on Sunday / Monday of next week. So we used one of our internet cards to confirm it with other weather websites – all looking good…. But first we have to get down the coast – and there are north winds forecast during the week. So we’ve decided to get out of here tomorrow, Tuesday, and make a direct run to Cabo San Antonio. We’ll chill down there for a while on anchor and wait for the passage window. We’ve checked it out and we can go ashore there as it is an official port of entry which means we can also get our exit Zarpe for Mexico. It is slightly exposed in north winds so we’ve been doing a bit of research and have found a couple of cayos we can tuck behind if we need to….so all looking good.
So I’m blogging while Richard is doing engine checks. We’ve also dropped some laundry off – no self-service allowed here – and have been to the Dock Master to start the checkout process. We’ve been told to come back at 5pm to finalise it and then we’ll be good to go at 10.00 am on Tuesday after a quick detour to the customs dock for our official Despacho.
I’m not sure if we will be able to find internet at our next destination – so it may be we’ll be off line until we arrive and have got ourselves legally checked into Mexico. But we’ll be in touch when we can. Oh yes, and Happy Mother’s Day to my mum for this coming Sunday – hope you like the flowers! Lots of love xxxx
Bye for now.