Sailing and travel tales

Cuba ….. Hemingway Marina

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15 January 2011

And guess what ? Today , two days later, a 37 – 40 ‘ yacht tied up next
to us. A Kiwi man with a Swissy wife from Whangarei on a boat called Barnstorm.
They too had been out there in the rough weather but ended up choosing not to
come through the Hemingway Marina entrance and went further west to another
easier looking harbour entrance. They were put under guard and were sent on back
here as soon as the weather settled a bit. There are only a handful of harbours
foreign pleasure boats can come into in Cuba!



We tied up for officialdom – 1st an old white man, a doctor who declared
us fit and our boat uncontaminated. Then MAF equivalents, a fifty plus paunchy
negro man and a skinny similarly aged negro woman. They did not look for much, filled
in forms then surreptitiously asked us for a tip. I think instead of a thorough
inspection but I am not sure about that. We were a bit taken aback because I
had read that there is no tipping in Cuba. However as it was all very convivial
and we were just so glad to be tied up Andreas tipped them ( overtipped them
because he got five thank yous out of them !) – all of course out of sight of
the harbour managers who were waiting to be next to come in.

Two very young good looking male harbour masters then boarded, while,
from a small office adjacent and on shore, a fat bulldog looking immigration
lady ( she looked like she had been exported directly from Russia for the job )
was firing questions down on us. The young men spoke good English and we dealt
with the business of how long we were staying, any guns on board and “we hold
your flares until you leave” etc as well as what were our next plans. Then one
left with our flares in a plastic bag and a very young, attractive,
immaculately presented – painted fingernails in uniform and not a hair out of
place, negro woman took her turn with us . Customs officer. She spoke very good
English and after another round of form filling and signing, sealed up our
GPS,s and our satellite phone but left them with us. We were not allowed to use
them while in Cuba. A Spanish looking man and a cocker spaniel arrived next to
sniff out all the cocaine on board and because he was disappointed not to
quickly find it asked for a tip – asked of course when we were down in the bottom
of the boat so the other officials would not see. Finally we were issued with a
docking site and once there were assisted by a small rabble of men and a woman
or two… all it turned out hoping to get some boat cleaning , laundry or
whatever work off us.

Finally we got settled in, “our helpers” dispersed and we went off to
sleep. It was lunchtime.

Written by teoranga

September 29, 2011 at 9:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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