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Old 24-12-2013, 19:02   #16
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Re: Cuba developing a mega marina

tomfl, Not sure if you have ever been to Cuba but the Cubans actually do very little fishing let alone "mine". We found just the opposite to be true. Absolutely pristine reefs with more fish than any place else we have ever seen. We found lobster under every rock we turned over. You drop the hook, launch the dinghy and in a half hour have lobster and fresh fish for a month. They don't have fuel most of the time for long offshore runs and the government restricts them quite a bit because once offshore in their boats, they may very well not come back. The islands along the south coast put any parts of the Bahamas to shame and the diving is much more superb than anything we have encountered in any other part of the Caribbean. The people are poor but friendly and willing to share what little they have. We found no one with their hand out and traveling the countryside will bring you to some beautiful areas. We have only traveled in the northern and western Caribbean, but Cuba was by far, our favorite. Don't know who cleaned out the Cay Sal banks, they still seem to be fishing there, but it sure was not the Cubans. The BDF, along with the Coast Guard is there in force because of the Haitian refugee problem, as as far as we can tell, nothing else. Chuck
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Old 24-12-2013, 19:19   #17
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Re: Cuba developing a mega marina

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnchorageGuy View Post
SNIP

We found lobster under every rock we turned over.

SNIP
Not sure what you are smoking but it has to be good.
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Old 24-12-2013, 19:29   #18
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Re: Cuba developing a mega marina

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True different folks will have different impressions of the same experience.

I am not sure what a typical Caribbean island is. Cuba is part of the Greater Antilles and not really much different in geography than the others, except for the environmental disaster in Haiti caused by over population. Jamaica has some great water falls and rafting rides. Diving on the Silver Banks with whale out of the DT is one of the most interesting experiences I have had anywhere.

Also not sure how pristine the whole place is. There is a reason the BDF has more boats on the Cay Sal banks than the rest of the Bahamas. The Cuban fishermen are miners that harvest everything. They have cleaned out huge areas close to the island and tried to do the same thing in Cay Sal till the Bahamas put a stop to it.

Again I am not trying to dis Cuba and would definitely like to go back. But to me it is just another place, not an attraction head and shoulders above the rest of the Greater Antilles.
Cuban reefs are known to be some of the healthiest, like Chuck says. The Cuban government simply has more control over their shoreline than does the Bahamas. The Bahamas resource management is in sharp contrast to the Cuban approach, and I can't speak with the authority that Chuck does on the historical picture as far as Cubans fishing in my native country. In the Bahamas, we've lifted our skirt to anyone with money, and there are marine disasters all over the place. Cuba does not give industry nearly the leeway, but again, I'm not saying the Cuban system is "right". It simply has taken much better care of the marine environment. That's not opinion, that's just a matter of fact, and a product of circumstance too.

I have no desire to convince others that Cuba is a special place, it is just that to me. I've spent a lot of time there for work, and I am never in a big hurry to get home. I'll be back there next week for a couple of weeks. One thing I LOVE about Cuba, is it is so close. It is a far from perfect place, and after all the time I've spent there over the last few years, it is very hard to wrap my mind around it completely. That's having access to much more than a typical visitor, but I also spend time in the same places a tourist might too.

I think it will be a very attractive destination for US cruisers one day, but unlikely they will jsut open their waters and say "make yourself at home". They can look at Florida and Bahamas and learn a lot from us.

And Tomfl, what I mean by typical Caribbean island, is one that has not had the political situation that Cuba has. The political situation there has made it unique. If you spend a few weeks there you will see the differences. For one, I feel safer nearly anywhere in Cuba after dark than nearly anywhere in Miami.

As far as natural beauty? You decide:



Nos vemos-
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Old 24-12-2013, 19:43   #19
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Re: Cuba developing a mega marina

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I have always maintained that the other (mainly northern) Caribbean islands need to get their collective acts together in preparation for the American Cuban embargo to be lifted. Considering the potentially easy access and interesting locationn the island of Cuba has the potential to completely undermine or at least to take a big chunk out of the tourist income of many current Caribbean destinations.
.
One thing to keep in mind is that Cuba has a very developed tourist industry. Not many Americans of course, but Europeans and Latin Americans everywhere, all the time.

The US is a different market, we really like the kind of crap they dish up in all-inclusive resorts in Bahamas, etc. The Cubans don't have as much of that going on but they are already major players in Caribbean tourism. When the blockade is lifted, it will definitely increase visitation, but in ways you might not suspect. The Cuban-American populations are so affluent and connected, and their families have so much history there. I think they may have a major influence on the course of things there one day. Right now, the Cuban state under Castro still maintains absolute control.
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Old 24-12-2013, 20:34   #20
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Re: Cuba Developing a Mega Marina

Legal considerations related to American citizens traveling to Cuba forces me to claim discretion is the better part of valor in commenting about traveling Cuba.

But my Canadian friend Addison is able to travel there legally and as far as I am concerned is the guy who wrote the book on cruising in Cuba. I have spent pleasant hours talking to Addison about his multiple cruises in his boat Threepenny Opera in Cuba. As I posted earlier I am not trying to dis Cuba and as Addison points out there are things to like about Cuba. But there are down sides as well.

As I also posted anyone who claims you will find lobsters under every rock in Cuban waters loses a lot of their credibility. I agree with almost everything Addison says, but would point out while lots of male cruisers are big boosters of Cuban food often times their wives think it is rather ordinary. Here is link to

Addison's blog
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Old 24-12-2013, 20:35   #21
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Re: Cuba developing a mega marina

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Not trying to dis Cuba as a tourist destination, but....
....I will anyway
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Old 24-12-2013, 21:34   #22
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Re: Cuba Developing a Mega Marina

cheoah, Couldn't have said it better myself. We traveled the entire south coast from east to west on an assignment for Soundings Magazine. We spent considerable time exploring and visiting with the locals. It's too easy for those that have never been there to comment negatively about something they have never experienced. Cuba is by no means south Florida. But then most of the Caribbean isn't either. For anyone interested in details of our trip, you can find it here, The Trawler Beach House: Cruising the South Coast of Cuba – East to West . Hope we see you there some day. Chuck
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Old 24-12-2013, 21:47   #23
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Re: Cuba Developing a Mega Marina

Reality check time.

When someone posts that they find lobster under every rock in Cuban waters and I claim that is not realistic I do not consider that a dis. There are lots of great places to visit with a lot less hassle that Cuba. It is basically a poor country, as are the rest of the countries in the area. Problem Cuba has a very strange government and you definitely do not want to do anything wrong on the North coast. In fact you can get in trouble anywhere if you violate any of the rules about buying things from the wrong person using the wrong currency or having the wrong electronics.

No one is saying Cuba does not have an upside, but lets not pretend there is not a big downside as well.
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Old 29-12-2013, 19:26   #24
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Re: Cuba Developing a Mega Marina

Anybody knows what are the restrictions on anchoring and getting on land outside major ports and marinas? I have heard that there have been some changes for the worse last year.
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Old 30-12-2013, 05:05   #25
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Re: Cuba Developing a Mega Marina

It was ok to anchor in 2009 pretty much anywhere. We had heard a few years before it was not possible to visit the island west of Havana, that Hemingway spent time at. We asked if we could stop, they said, no problem. Ended up not due to depths.

Also was allowed to anchor in Cayo Largo away from the Marina and all night disco, which I have heard is not usually allowed.

In early 2009 many had high hopes that the embargo would be ended quickly so I think they were particularly happy to see Americans.

Seems like things change a lot cruising rules wise and you hav to just go and see the situation. Pricey trip though especially if you end up stuck in a marina.
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