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Old 29-06-2008, 14:37   #1
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Cuba to Belize

Just checking out the possibilities...

Any opinions on a route from cuba to belize?

mm
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Old 29-06-2008, 14:48   #2
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I've done it Cuba, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel to Belize. It was a tough slog across the strait. It was quite a few years ago (94) If you stick close to the NW end of Cuba there is a counter current that will help you get to the south side, then you can cross on a good weather window. Route depends on what places you want to visit or if you want to head straight through.
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Old 29-06-2008, 14:52   #3
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Thanks deep,

I had heard that the current in the strait can be a bugger.

anyone else?

mm
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Old 29-06-2008, 15:04   #4
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More water flows through there than all the world's major rivers combined. One 24 hr period we averaged about 1 kt. over the ground. It was rough most of the way across with very steep waves.
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Old 29-06-2008, 15:30   #5
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Start here at post 10 and use the links on the left hand column to read the rest on our trip from Floriduh to Belize and Guatemala

Voyages of Sea Trek: 10. Let It Begin
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Old 29-06-2008, 17:34   #6
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Don't go in the hurricane season, otherwise it's a short , fairly easy trip, enjoy.
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Old 29-06-2008, 18:04   #7
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Chuck: Just visited your blog. Very nice. Thank You.
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Old 29-06-2008, 21:05   #8
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I did it single-handed on a Kaiser 26 back in early July '92 after checking hurricane reports thoroughly. I had two completely windless days. My 8 hp Suzuki outboard pushed the boat through the water at 5 knots and though I was steering a bit west of south, the LORAN (remember that?) told me I was going DUE WEST!

And it's BUSY between the western tip of Cuba and Isla Mujeres. Once I had EIGHT ships in sight at the same time. It felt a little like trying to cross the Interstate on foot.

After spending 50 straight hours slogging along under power a little bit of a breeze sprung up. By then I was well west of the steamship routes and hadn't seen another vessel for nearly 12 hours. I hove too, and for the only time in my passage from Key West to Isla Mujeres and the return, I went below and slept for five hours straight. When I woke up I was 14 miles NORTH of where I'd hove to at. It took me almost a day in light winds to make that back.

But it was worth it!
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Old 01-07-2008, 08:43   #9
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I did the crossing from western tip of Cuba to Isla Mujeres back in January 2006 and it was very tough. We had swells over 15 feet and SOG was about 1 knot. And as oldsalt_1942 says the traffic is very heavy with freighters and cruise ships. An American boat with us was nearly run down by a freighter. Next time I try that trip I hope I have AIS.

Someone told me its better to go about 50-80 miles south from Cuba before trying to cross so you don't fight the current so much. There is evidently a counter current straight south.

Paul
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:52   #10
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We have had several tiny little boats filled with Cubans and running off of baby outboard engines that they adapted to kerosene (was cheaper than gas in most of the third world and more readily available to the average Cuban) that made it to San Pedro here in Belize. Some of the boats were tied together with inner tubes to make them float while others had holes in them and needed to be constantly bailed out. Honduras also gets its fair share of Cuban refugees fleeing in small boats, so if they can do it, it begs the question why big nice, well-equiped boats can't do it. Maybe there is another way, due more south from Cuba, and not through the straits that these folks use.

But when you do get to Belize, come by and see us here at Thatch Caye (north Coco Plum) and I can help you with boat entry papers and customs and immigration.
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Old 12-07-2008, 13:10   #11
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mm,
Sounds like a very interesting trip. Hope to make it to Belize one day myself.

thatchcaye,
How do you make an outboard run off of kerosenee?

John
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Old 12-07-2008, 13:26   #12
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My mechanic, an old Belizean seaman, had his outboard running off of kerosene with a rich oil mix. He looked like a mosquito truck blowing smoke, but it ran well. He did have to clean his plugs a lot though. Most Cubans who make it here with kerosene engines don't usually make it with the engine running, however. They often have old tarps that they use as sails with a big stick in the center of the boat to use as a mast. Then when the engine blows out, they can still move a little bit. I wouldn't recommend trying it that way, but from March through May, we do get them showing up in boats that you would not believe capable of making that crossing.
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Old 12-07-2008, 14:19   #13
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thatchcaye,
thanks for the reply. I am mechanically challenged. I know some steps but I am impatient and just give up. Changing parts and parts just to find the problem I find frustrationg. Therefore I will never try to change my outboard to burn kerosene.
Thanks again for the education,
John
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Old 13-07-2008, 10:05   #14
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Thatch,

Thanks for the info and offer. As I said before...just checking the possibilities

mm
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Old 13-07-2008, 10:13   #15
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No problem. I have been to Cuba three times and I found the island to be beautiful but the system was a bit rough. When I was last there, Castro (Fidel) was telling people to supplement their rice and beans diet with bush and folliage and many people were complaining that they weren't horses or donkeys. But as much as they complained, they still had a lot of respect and a decent mixture of fear and compliance for Castro and the government. Now with Raul loosening up a tiny bit, it may be nicer.

Belize is heaven on earth to me and I love the reef, the cayes dotted everywhere, and the people are very friendly. Not hard to coax a smile out of them. Lots of sailboats and cruisers are discovering Belize now and I notice that many people are renting catemerans here after having done so in the BVI's for years. Belize is like the BVI's in the late 70's, early 80's right now.
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