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CUBA Part II 0f III By Bradd Wilson

BEYOND HAVANA — the Northwest Coast of Cuba By Bradd Wilson


lthough Havana offers a great destination and introduction to the “forbidden island,”there is much more to this country to discover. For cruisers, Cuba’s 2,200 miles of

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May 2009


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islands, inlets, mangroves and reefs are the real treasure of this island. The northwest coast is perhaps the easiest to access and the most cruiser-friendly in terms of well-spaced anchorages and protected sailing, offering a “plan B” should the weather kick up. A trip to Cabo San Antonio, the western tip, and back can be completed in a couple of weeks with time to explore the secluded cayos and to take an on-shore excursion to Pinar del Rio, the heart of tobacco country. I have included waypoints for our cruise, but charts and a cruising guide (available from Bluewater Books) for this area are absolute necessities. Three days after arriving in Marina Hemingway, we were ready to move on. We had recovered sufficiently from the culture shock of Havana and the hustle of the big city. Before leaving Marina Hemingway, you may wish to purchase a temporary membership in the Club Nautico International. This will give you access to the clubhouse, which sells beer at the lowest price, serves good meals and can provide you with some assistance if you run into problems along the coast. It may also be worth touching base with your embassy (just in case). We had filled our tanks, exchanged enough money and provisioned with enough rum, cigars and food to last the two weeks we’d allotted for our expedition so we cast off before dawn and moved back to the customs dock. The night before leaving the marina, you’ll need to pay your bill and give the dockmaster a list of proposed destinations, show customs your paid bill and advise them of your intentions, then disconnect power and water. In the morning, you can re-launch your dinghy, which MUST be out of the water each night. By Corrections/Addendums to PART I of this Cuba series in the March issue: Anna’s La Bella Sunrisa hospidaje (guest house) phone number is 879-5940 Prostitution is NOT legal in Cuba

Southwinds May 2009

Southwinds May 2009