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Old 12-06-2014, 15:25   #1
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Florida Newbie Here

Hey guys, so I just wanted to introduce myself. My name's Graham, and I'm a 27 year old living in Siesta Key, FL at the moment. I grew up in Grosse Pointe, MI which is a decent sailing community, so I have some experience sailing, basically hopping on board any boat that would have me and crewing or just adding weight for the weekly races throughout high school and college, and I miss it dearly. I'm eager to get back on the water, but better yet, to sail to some pretty cool places and have some adventures while I'm at it!

I moved down here after living in South Africa for about half of last year, and was in Washington DC before that directing a cosmetic surgery practice. I still am not sure where I'm headed next, but I figure if there's a way to improve my sailing ability and maybe even sustain to some degree helping out with those in need of crew in the meantime, I can't complain in the slightest. Granted, I have no idea how realistic this is, but I'll go pretty much anywhere and I'm a quick learner. So yeah, just wanted to say hi and that I'm looking forward to learning a lot!

I've also developed a pretty severe fascination with Cuba since I've gotten down here. Hoping to learn how realistic it would be to find my way down there on a boat, if anyone has some input / experience here.

Thanks for looking,

Graham
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Old 12-06-2014, 15:43   #2
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Re: Florida Newbie Here

Hi Graham,

Welcome to the forum. Not many places better than the Keys to pick up some sailing time. Should be able to hook up with a boater in the area. If you can take off on short notice cruisers occasionally need an extra hand to move their boat to the next stop.

Cuba is problematic. Travel by US citizens is banned based on economic prohibitions. Technically you could visit but you aren't allowed to spend money. Recently travel for education and cultural exchange has been allowed but all the trips I have seen are very expensive trips you have to book through some group. I hear rumors that some people go there as tourists, traveling through Canada, Mexico or Nassau but if you get caught at it you risk incurring the wrath of the authorities.
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Old 29-08-2014, 13:09   #3
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Re: Florida Newbie Here

Aloha and welcome aboard!
Good to have you here.
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Old 29-08-2014, 13:11   #4
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Re: Florida Newbie Here

Welcome RR!
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Old 29-08-2014, 14:13   #5
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Re: Florida Newbie Here

Welcome! Nice to have another Florida boy.
I don't know about going to Cuba but Cubans are dying to get here.
Picked up four of them off Miami earlier this week. Still haven't identified the bodies.
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Old 29-08-2014, 14:23   #6
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Florida Newbie Here

Hey Guys, many thanks for the warm welcomes. Over the last few weeks I have been doing a ton of research on the Cuba idea, talking to people who have been and sailors in general whom have heard stories. It is possible, but it's not without it's complications. Obviously Cuba is blacklisted by the US, so we cannot use their ATM's which means you have to travel with cash, which obviously carries risks.
I already know well that it's very simple getting to Cuba from anywhere else (Canada, Mexico, etc), and technically the authorities threaten to bring the hammer down, but there are plenty of ways to avoid getting into any legal troubles (asking customs not to stamp, not carrying explicitly Cuban goods, etc).
Sailing, however, is my general interest. It's not that difficult to get into port there near Havana, and all it really takes is a photocopy of your passport and a slip anticipating your arrival to the port. However a popular story I've been hearing as of late is running into Cuban customs before reaching land. If you're American, I've heard they have a habit of taking advantage of the political situation. They've been known to confiscate cash, goods, and even boats. However as long as you're traveling in groups of three or more boats, with plenty of witnesses and more for them to handle, then you're fine.

I'll be heading down to Islamorada next week after I catch the Dolphins- Pats game in Miami and hopefully I can run into a foreigner with a boat willing to take a trip across the water haha. If not, I'll probably just do the lionfish hunting certification (I've been told it's practically free to encourage more help toward their eradication) and drink too many Cuba Libres.

But in the meantime, still always looking to sail! I'm available any time as long as I'm back home for meetings on Saturdays. Just trying to get on the water and learn!


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Old 29-08-2014, 14:38   #7
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Re: Florida Newbie Here

I think you should just steer clear of cuba. There are a lot of other cool places to visit and you won't be committing a felony.
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Old 29-08-2014, 15:39   #8
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Re: Florida Newbie Here

Wise words, zboss, haha.


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