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Old 18-12-2014, 10:57   #1
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Bound for Cuba

Looking for a buddy boat leaving Marathon or Miami on or about Jan 15, 2015 to Havana. Also interested hearing from anyone who has been there recently. Anyone selling charts of the North-east coast? How about clearing in? Passport, Ship's papers, proof of insurance, cost etc? Marina Hemmingway - how much per month without services?
Any and all info appreciated. Ship, captain and crew all CDN.
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Old 18-12-2014, 11:28   #2
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Re: Bound for Cuba

I was just there (2 weeks ago), although in the south.. Its definitely not the Cuba you have heard about. In the last 3 years Cuba has gone through a fairly radical change and is more like Chinese Socialism now. People have cell phones, houses, cars, internet and *GASP* independent businesses.

The one thing I will tell you.. The people of Cuba make it worth it. The are the most honest genuine people I have met in my travels. It was a shock as my last travel was to Cancun and I still had my guard up from there. The Cuban people are not at all like that, they DO NOT lie, scheme and connive to make money off of you.

Here is a free cruising guide with tons of information.
Cuba Cruising Guide
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Old 18-12-2014, 11:30   #3
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Re: Bound for Cuba

Here is the direct link to the cruising guide as it can be confusing to find on that site.

http://freecruisingguides.com/guides....07.27.pdf.zip
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Old 18-12-2014, 11:41   #4
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Re: Bound for Cuba

We're bound in that direction; PM sent.
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Old 18-12-2014, 15:15   #5
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Re: Bound for Cuba

Thanks for the info. That is the reason for wanting to go this year before it becomes "Americianized". Looking to discover something new rather than re-running the Bahamas, although there is always something new to discover there.
Appreciate the input.
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Old 18-12-2014, 15:37   #6
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Re: Bound for Cuba

Look into south Cuba.. The cruising grounds on that side of the island are unbelievable and pristine. That cruising guide contains some information about the south.

Cienfuegos is a fair sized city with most amenities and is OK for provisioning. I believe you can also check out here if you want to head to Cayman Islands (about 2 days sail).

Trinidad is another city you don't want to miss. Its a world heritage site and has buildings dating to the 1500s.

Another good resource is Matt and Jessica's sailing page. The cruised Cuba in 2013 and give information on many of the spots.
Cuba | Matt & Jessica's Sailing Page

One piece of advice if you want Cuba to remain a great place, hold the tipping. Its tempting to throw money around when you learn they only earn $45/month, but it hurts more than it helps. Instead bring personal items, toothpaste, deodorant, ect. or some small tools (they went crazy over a cheap multitool I gave away). Cruisers are usually really good with this but I wanted to mention it..
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Old 18-12-2014, 16:30   #7
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Re: Bound for Cuba

We recently traveled to Cuba a few months ago for a 3 week jaunt around the island by land. One thing that really surprised us was the large number of tourists. It's a huge destination spot for Europeans, etc. But very few Yanks. I think we met maybe 2 couples from the US. People were friendly, food was good and the music was to die for.

Hopefully is will all get opened up for trade and travel by the US.





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Old 19-12-2014, 07:56   #8
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Re: Bound for Cuba

I have sailed to Cuba twice in the past few years and can't wait to go back.
However have only sailed the southern coast but did drive to Havana.
Also I have probably been to just about every island in the Caribbean over the past 20 years.
Cuba is truly a magnificent place for many reasons....history, geography, marine life, architecture, music, food and wonderful people.
But I am VERY concerned that they will succumb to capitalism gone wild.
That would be a tragedy after what they have endured on the other end of the spectrum.
I do wish them well as I encourage many of you to go and see this very special place.
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Old 27-12-2014, 08:53   #9
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Re: Bound for Cuba

Quote:
Originally Posted by chouliha View Post
We recently traveled to Cuba a few months ago for a 3 week jaunt around the island by land. One thing that really surprised us was the large number of tourists. It's a huge destination spot for Europeans, etc. But very few Yanks. I think we met maybe 2 couples from the US. People were friendly, food was good and the music was to die for.
That's because its still illegal for US citizens to spend money in CUba without a special permit which is usually reserved for people with family living in Cuba.
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Old 27-12-2014, 21:38   #10
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Re: Bound for Cuba

It's so, Cuba is a great place to go. The people make it. They're warm and friendly, and they talk straight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
One piece of advice if you want Cuba to remain a great place, hold the tipping. Its tempting to throw money around when you learn they only earn $45/month, but it hurts more than it helps. Instead bring personal items, toothpaste, deodorant, ect. or some small tools (they went crazy over a cheap multitool I gave away). Cruisers are usually really good with this but I wanted to mention it..
Hold the tipping everywhere. Tipping is organized crime practice.

",,,they only earn $45/month..." This a bad metric, a misleading measurement. Cubans live quite well. They have a commune style of economy, not a capitalistic one where 'they live on $3200US/month' would apply. They get co-operative (not free, they have to work for it) food, housing, medical care, education including university, and stuff. If you must apply the $45/month criterion, they all live on about 1.5 X US social security + $45US.

And yes, the small luxury gifts are acceptable.
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Old 28-12-2014, 00:29   #11
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Re: Bound for Cuba

Ten years ago I was on my way to Mexico with a young American from new York State, who had never sailed before. His name was Tom and he became a real aid to me in the weeks that followed. We left Key West in not the best of weather and later that night I heard ominous clacking noises from the base of the rudder. We changed course and ran for Marina Hemingway in Cuba and spent the next month exploring Havana and having the boat repaired. At first we tried to rush things but after a few days we relaxed and started to enjoy ourselves amongst the hospitable Cubans. There is much to see and experience. Tom found a young Canadian friend and off they went on bicycles to explore western Cuba for a week or so.

After retuning to the US I wrote an article for a yachting magazine and I would like to quote the last few paragraphs. Remember this is back in 2004.

"
And so to sea.

Eventually the rudder fitting returned and it appeared that a good job had been done by all involved. Once again Chino dived below the boat and an hour later we had a workable rudder. It felt good to be mobile again. But strong north east and easterly winds kept us prisoner for another week. Several other boats were also waiting for a break in the weather and we would have little dock meetings to try and interpret the plethora of information coming from several sources. The morning of the 10th of May saw the wind almost still and an oily sea slapping against the breakwater. The forecast was for more easterlies during the day going round to south east during the night. I decided to leave. But once again we were given a thourough search by the Customs, including a drug sniffing dog, which Tom decided was totally untrained. Indeed the dog seemed far more interested in playing with us than looking for hidden drugs. Immigration and the Coast Guard had to do there bit as well and I signed more bits of paper than I care to remember. At last we were free to go, so at three in the afternoon we exited the channel and put up the main and a small blade jib, as the forecast predicted gusts above twenty knots or so.

Within an hour the wind had risen considerably and we realized we were in for a very rough ride. Once into the Gulf Stream the seas heaped up in a decidedly nasty fashion and every now and then an “anvil topped” wave would hit us, throwing the boat sideways. In the middle of the night a US Coast Guard cutter approached us asking the usual questions. But all seemed to be in order and we passed on northwards to Key West without hindrance. At five in the morning we dropped the anchor where we had been three weeks earlier and collapsed into bed for a well earned rest.

We awoke to find that the wind had backed to the east again and the harbour alive with early morning traffic. Once US Customs and Immigration had been cleared we went to a small restaurant for a late breakfast. I idly scanned the newspaper, but was jolted by the news that the Cuban Government had that very day made the US dollar invalid as a legal currency in Cuba. Panic buying had started in Havana and the “dollar shops” were being stripped of all goods.

Despite the two rough crossings and several drenchings, Tom has decided that life at sea has it’s good moments. He is currently planning to cross the Atlantic on a 36 foot sloop to Holland and then venture on through Europe and Russia.

Since getting back to the States I have been asked several times if I would ever return to Cuba, and the answer is probably no, or at least not until the Government there lightens up on the endless petty beaurocracy that one has to deal with. Living under the constant gaze of security guards is not my scene, and after a while even the grandeur of the colonial architecture cannot hide the fact that the bulk of the people are incredibly poor. On the other hand a three week sojourn in Marina Hemingway gives one only a small taste of this enormous island. With its population of eleven million, its four thousand miles of coastline and innumerable islands, Cuba needs months to explore properly. A German couple we met had spent five months circling the place and claimed they could have still done with more time.

While in Marina Hemingway we took part in an age old custom. Visiting yachts are prone to leaving their “mark” on the concrete dock, and we did the same. Some of these are real works of art while others leave just the name of the boat and the dates they were there. One evening as I was wandering the docks reading these messages I came on one that summed up my thoughts on Cuba. I don’t know if the message was a play on a boat’s name or not, but it certainly encapsulated my feelings. Neatly written were the words, “Welcome to the Twilight Zone”.

*******
The new relaxation that seems to be in the pipeline following Obama's recent announcement is probably sending shock waves through the Caribbean and the Bahamas. If Cuba is opened up to US tourists they will be badly affected. Being a "foreign flagged vessel" I have no problem visiting Cuba......so would I go there again? Certainly! Maybe later this year.
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Old 02-01-2015, 07:19   #12
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Re: Bound for Cuba

I have always envied my Canadian friends visits to Cuba, especially now. I am excited to cruise to Cuba in the future.
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Old 06-01-2015, 12:02   #13
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Re: Bound for Cuba

We are planning to sail North from Trinidad to Maine this summer with various crew changes. I understand crew can join us in Cuba with the permission and clearance of Immigration, but can we then clear out of Cuba with the additional crew and sail on to the Bahamas? Thank you.
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Old 06-01-2015, 14:51   #14
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Re: Bound for Cuba

Sure should not be a problem as long as you are not headed directly to the US.
Although I have not personally picked up crew in Cuba, I have let crew off and they then flew out of Havana and had no problems.
Same type of immigration/customs bureaucracy as it is anywhere although they may be a wee bit slower than the usual.
Just give yourself extra time.
They are thorough but always courteous and they love cookies and coffee while aboard.
Enjoy your stay, it will be a mind expanding experience.
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Old 15-01-2015, 15:19   #15
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Re: Bound for Cuba

The Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is amending the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 515 (the "CACR"), to implement policy changes announced by the President on December 17, 2014, to further engage and empower the Cuban people by facilitating authorized travel to Cuba by U.S. persons, certain authorized commerce, and the flow of information to, from and within Cuba. The CACR amendment will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow (January 16, 2015), at which time the changes will take effect. OFAC is also publishing a number of Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to this regulatory amendment.

http://www.treasury.gov/resource-cen...a_faqs_new.pdf

2015 OFAC Recent Actions
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