Sunday, 18 Jan 2015
We left Key West mid-morning to a fanfare of conch shells a’blowing, plus blaring boat horns, and waves from friends plus a few people I had not even met. I think if our “sea trial” had gone badly, we would not have wanted to return to the same marina after such a farewell! But things have gone well.
I am SOOOO happy to be moving again!!
As a bonus it has been a beautiful sailing day. Now getting dark, and we are ambling across the Gulf Stream, which is relatively peaceful for the time being. Flying just our large spinnaker, and fiddling with the hydro generator, trying to get it working consistently. We’ve stocked our freezer for the first time, so we are drawing more current than in the past, and we need the hydro power or else we’ll have to run engines to charge the batteries.
Monday 19 Jan 2015
During Bill’s night watch he was hailed on the VHF radio by an invisible Coast Guard boat. They must have been close by, since they referred to us as a catamaran. But no lights or AIS signal on their part. They asked a lot of questions about the boat, the crew, and our destination. And then off they went, apparently, still unseen.
At sun-up we discovered a new problem with our port engine. It ran, but the control system to give it throttle and shift gears was non-functional. We put in to Club Hemingway near Havana to sort it out. Quite a parade of officials came aboard. All very nice, but all asking for “tips.” In addition to cash tips, one gentleman searching the boat took a liking to Bill’s deodorant, which fit neatly into his pocket. Then we also had to pay for visas and a sailing permit, and of course a docking in the marina. This is all the stuff I don’t like about cruising, that I thought would be good to have Jimmy take care of for us. But this time we’re on our own.
In any case, we had an interesting meeting with the Comodoro of Club Hemingway, who told us the long history of yachting in Cuba. We took a taxi to downtown Havana, and had a walk around. I’m glad I got to see Havana, but it’s a shame that we’re in a hurry. We hope to be ready to leave in the morning.
Tuesday, 20 Jan 2015
Although we spent hours tracking down our problem, in the end it was just a loose wire connection to a terminal strip deep in our electrical locker. We managed to get underway around noon, and now we’re sailing westward along the north coast of Cuba. The wind is being somewhat fickle, and we had a brief thunderstorm, but once again I am happy to be moving. I’m looking forward to getting around the western tip of Cuba, so we have a clear shot to Panama.