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Old 11-01-2016, 06:48   #1
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Deep draft to Cuba

I'll soon be taking a big sailboat, with 10.5' draft, 3 meters+, to Cuba. I'm told the inside passage on the northwest coast is beautiful, and doable, but that's advice generated by people whose boats draw no more than 7'. I would love to get in email or phone contact with people who have taken vessels drawing 10' or more through those waters. after going around the west end, I will have the same concerns for going north of the Isle of Youth (Isla de la Juventud) on the SW side, and in the area of the Gardens of the Queen (Jardins de la Reina) on the SE side. In advance, many thanks for the collected wisdom & experience of those who have gone before me.
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Old 12-01-2016, 13:08   #2
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Re: Deep draft to Cuba

Posted yesterday, no response,
Deep draft to Cuba
I'll soon be taking a big sailboat, with 10.5' draft, 3 meters+, to Cuba. I'm told the inside passage on the northwest coast is beautiful, and doable, but that's advice generated by people whose boats draw no more than 7'. I would love to get in email or phone contact with people who have taken vessels drawing 10' or more through those waters. after going around the west end, I will have the same concerns for going north of the Isle of Youth (Isla de la Juventud) on the SW side, and in the area of the Gardens of the Queen (Jardins de la Reina) on the SE side. In advance, many thanks for the collected wisdom & experience of those who have gone before me.
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That no responses have come is not surprising as the post did not appear in the daily summaries of new posts. Did I miss a critical step?
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Old 12-01-2016, 17:06   #3
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Re: Deep draft to Cuba

capnjack -
I read your post yesterday by looking at the New Posts section.
I would guess that the lack of response stems from nobody having experience with drafts over 10' in Cuban waters.
Although that doesn't usually stop us lol.
I'm sure somebody will respond eventually.
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Old 12-01-2016, 18:57   #4
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Re: Deep draft to Cuba

True, not a lot of cruising boats with 10.5' draft. Ive cruised the NW coast, but that was with 5.5' draft. We went bump a few times between Cayo Parasio and Cayo Levisa. That area was rearranged by a hurricane and charts had not been updated (2001).
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Old 12-01-2016, 21:33   #5
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Re: Deep draft to Cuba

Given that you are unlikely to get responses from anyone with a 10.5' draft cruising Cuba. I will fill in my 2c on the section I know and hopefully others will respond re other areas relative to likely deep draft options.

I've cruised the NW coast from Marina Hemingway to Bahia de Puerto Esperanza.

Overall: your options with 10.5' draft are limited. There are a few deep draft entrance bays, but most of the route inside the reef is complicated and too shallow.

Marina Hemingway can accomodate you (LOA?), then to the W there are several deep draft bays, including Mariel and Bahia Honda. We were allowed to anchor in Bahia Honda, but our movements were very limited. So, not much point in going in there. Maybe its loosened up by now, but dont know.

There is another deep draft cut just before reaching Cayo Parasio that might offer some options, but there are plenty of reefs and shoals around this entrance and bay too. We entered here and eyeballed our way over to Cayo Parasio (not an option for your draft) then picked our way thru shoal areas on the inside route to Cayo Levisa (fun place). From Cayo Levisa we continued on to Bahia de Puerto Esperanaza. No options for you to this point either.

W of Esperanza there are a few places, like Pasa Honda (Deep Pass), that look like potential deep draft options, but Ive not been in them.
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Old 12-01-2016, 23:26   #6
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Re: Deep draft to Cuba

Belizesailor - thanks for your 2 c. As you say your movements were limited inside Bahia Honda, but they might have loosened up, when did you cruise there?
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Old 13-01-2016, 10:16   #7
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Re: Deep draft to Cuba

Quote:
Originally Posted by capnjack.morton View Post
Belizesailor - thanks for your 2 c. As you say your movements were limited inside Bahia Honda, but they might have loosened up, when did you cruise there?
That was in 2001...before Duh Ws executive ordur.

We had to complete an in-country zarpe listing our intended stops. This was reviewed, and modified, by the officials. A brief check in/out was required at each port...mostly looking for stow aways. I hear this same basic procedure us still in effect.

In Bahia Honda, we were not allowed very far from the boat. If we strayed much by dink or swimming we were politely pointed back to the boat. It was just an overnight stop so no big deal.

Officials deleted our request stop at Cayo Parasio, but we went anyway. They left us alone there for a few wonderful days until a few more cruising boats did the same...then they came out and ran us all off.
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Old 13-01-2016, 10:29   #8
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Re: Deep draft to Cuba

Quote:
Originally Posted by capnjack.morton View Post
I'll soon be taking a big sailboat, with 10.5' draft, 3 meters+, to Cuba. I'm told the inside passage on the northwest coast is beautiful, and doable, but that's advice generated by people whose boats draw no more than 7'. I would love to get in email or phone contact with people who have taken vessels drawing 10' or more through those waters. after going around the west end, I will have the same concerns for going north of the Isle of Youth (Isla de la Juventud) on the SW side, and in the area of the Gardens of the Queen (Jardins de la Reina) on the SE side. In advance, many thanks for the collected wisdom & experience of those who have gone before me.
I suggest you check the nautical charts for the depths you can expect while coastal cruising around/in Cuba. If you don't have experience reading charts for that purpose ask experienced island hopper/gunkholer. They should be able to check depths, bottom quality, prevailng wind. Take a colour screen good quality fishfinder/sonar which will give depth reading and determine bottom quality with colour gamma check manual.
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Old 13-01-2016, 10:44   #9
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Re: Deep draft to Cuba

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Originally Posted by Goosebumps View Post
I suggest you check the nautical charts for the depths you can expect while coastal cruising around/in Cuba. If you don't have experience reading charts for that purpose ask experienced island hopper/gunkholer. They should be able to check depths, bottom quality, prevailng wind. Take a colour screen good quality fishfinder/sonar which will give depth reading and determine bottom quality with colour gamma check manual.
At least in the NW coast there are areas where charts are not accurate and/or lack sufficient detail.
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Old 13-01-2016, 12:02   #10
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Re: Deep draft to Cuba

Ok but studying the charts will at least show the possibilities.
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Old 13-01-2016, 15:46   #11
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Re: Deep draft to Cuba

Thanks, Goosebumps. I have studied the charts pretty closely, and have found some places that look too thin to me, but I am assured by one of the authors of the newest cruising guide to Cuba that he knows approaches that our draft can negotiate. He will be coming along, and we'll have much more opportunity to hash it all out before I commit with the boat. (His boat only draws 7', so I am glad to hear any response from other folks crazy enough to have sailed the north shore with draft as great as our own.) We'll be sending a launch with a depth sounder to 'survey' before going through with the mother ship for the passages that look problematic.
Thanks for your thoughts.
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