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defever 05-02-2009 06:12

Summer in Cuba
 
thinking of spending the summer in cuba. going there from the ragged islands (bahamas). anyone have ideas of where to check in and good grounds on s. side??

phiggins 05-02-2009 06:23

Check out the Cuba Noonsite:

Noonsite: Cuba

Santiago de Cuba is probably the closest to you.

BadFish 05-02-2009 09:00

I heard Marina Hemingway was cool, but I've never been

Cheers

Bill

DAdams 05-02-2009 09:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by phiggins (Post 251514)
Check out the Cuba Noonsite:

Noonsite: Cuba


Thanks for the suggested read Paul... I really enjoyed it!

GG

annk 17-02-2009 14:30

The south coast of Cuba is very unpopulated, make sure the boat is well stocked as buying anything can be extremely challenging! I was there last spring and had a great time. Santiago was closed to cruisers then.

Suggest you get Nigel Calder's Cuba cruising book. Excellent and accurate.

s/v Jedi 02-03-2009 15:58

Also, Marina Hemingway is supposed to be hurricane proof. I think they state no yacht was ever damaged there during hurricanes. I also met the club's commodore once and I would not hesitate to visit. Do it before it's filled to the brim with yankees (what will Obama do, open it up??).

cheers,
Nick.

DeepFrz 02-03-2009 16:03

Spent 4 days in Marina Hemingway, but it was mid 90's so don't know the conditions today. It was great. People running the marina were super. I think it is a very safe place. I was just looking at it in Google Earth the other day and the big difference is the condos that have been built. They were just starting them when I was there. I would love to go back there some day and spend more time touring the island.

phiggins 02-03-2009 17:19

That brings back a lot of memories DeepFrz. I was at Marina Hemingway for quite awhile in 2005/2006. They put us right beside those condos. They turned that whole complex on that side into a hospital where they mostly did eye surgery. They brought in people from all over Central America for free surgery.

We got quite friendly with a young lady from Ecuador who was staying with her mother in the apartment right above our boat. She was of course not allowed on the boat or even on the dock. She would just stand on the grass next to the dock and talk to us. The marina warned her never to go on our boat. A lot of the hospital staff there didn't like us talking to her. One day she just disappeared. Never did hear what happened to her. I guess they sent her home.

Not long after that they decided they didn't want any boats on that side of the canal. They moved all of us to the other side. I notice from GE they now put everyone in the farthest channel.

You have to be very careful coming into Marina Hemingway. The channel is not well marked. While we were there at least 4 boats went on the reef coming in. We helped one 27' boat from Norway with a couple and their two beautiful teenage daughters get off the reef. They had sailed all the way from Norway then through the Caribbean and this way their first grounding. Luckily the Cubans didn't fine them as they did some others.

Hope to go back there soon.

Caribsailors 02-03-2009 17:59

Santiago Closed
 
I was in Cienfuegos last March and was told the Port of Santiago was going to be closed, by one of the many federalies that we enjoyed during the check in.

Trinidad or Cienfuegos would be you best bet on the south coast.

Cheers

DeepFrz 02-03-2009 18:07

Paul, we were in the farthest channel, closest to the sea. There were not many boats there at all and the condos were just under construction. We had no problem talking to anyone or inviting people aboard.

annk 02-03-2009 18:41

You can also check in at Maria La Gorda on the extreme West of the South Coast. It's really easy there but an open anchorage so only suitable in settled weather. The officials all come out to the boat and are far more accomodating than in Cienfuegos.

Chief Engineer 02-03-2009 21:56

Why do people want to contribute to a Communist Dictatorship?

Soft Air 02-03-2009 22:03

I don't think that bringing political opinions about the current system in Cuba does any good to this very interesting thread otherwise IMHO.

JC

defever 04-03-2009 12:15

chief engineer..what's your problem?? i'm sure you buy all kinds of stuff from china (wal-mart imports 10% of all chinese imports to the u.s.). what do you think that country is---a democracy?? i hardly think so. the embargo has been a joke from the git-go and continues ONLY to hurt the citizens of cuba....not the fat cats/politicos. put on your thinking cap.

GordMay 04-03-2009 12:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by Soft Air (Post 260614)
I don't think that bringing political opinions about the current system in Cuba does any good to this very interesting thread otherwise IMHO.
JC

I agree - "Partisan" or tendentious politics serve no useful purpose on a forum such as ours, and can only serve to fractionalize us.

Nobody cares about my left wing liberal persuasion, nor anotherís right-wing reactionary sentiments. :)

MDhillon 04-03-2009 12:47

Maybe a dumb question......what is the legality of US citizens making port in cuba I was under the impression that is was not a possibilty or are most of you cruisers from other countries?

jimking100 04-03-2009 12:53

Gord May...I didn't know you had left wing persuasions. Anyway, Cuba is the at the top of my list as soon as Americans can legally go there (perhaps sooner). Does anyone have or know of American friends who have gone to Cuba and what were the outcomes of their visits?
jim

raldog 04-03-2009 13:43

I had this friend once who sailed to cuba and said it was a beautiful country. It is my understanding that its not going to cuba thats illegal its spending money in cuba thats illegal. (for Americans)

GordMay 04-03-2009 14:05

The US Department of Treasury, Office of foreign assets Control administers the (American) Cuba Sanctions:

Cuba Sanctions:
U.S. Treasury - Sanctions Program Summaries - Cuba

somers12 04-03-2009 14:36

"Why do people want to contribute to a Communist Dictatorship?"

Ever been to Canada in the winter? Cuba... No Snow! Who cares who's in charge.

s/v Jedi 04-03-2009 14:39

There are sailboats reported in Cuba that have their ensign removed and their names and homeports taped. US spies and satellites do no recommend this because it makes their job impossible.

It's also reported that Cuba officials don't stamp the passports if that's requested by the visitor. This practice is much argued by US immigration officials because how are they supposed to find Cuba visitors that way?

Another report: The Bahama's found that many sailboats visit their islands coming from Cuba and going to the US later. They detected a trend and decided to increase their fees to $300.- with great success.

Last report: US spies detected in the Bahama's !!

cheers,
Nick.

annk 04-03-2009 14:50

You can request not to have your passport stamped and that is fine, we chose not to last summer. Although we did obtain our US visa's in Havana at the 'US special interests section'!

US dollars are no longer welcome, you will pay between 10-20% charge on any exchange. best take Euro's or Canadian Dollars.

At the marina in Cienfuegos we were berthed between two American cruisers. Not flying ensigns but also had NOT taped over their boat names. Both had visited Cuba previously and so long as they made another landfall before returning to the USA had experience no problems, and did not anticipate any.

Hotel at Maria la Gorda had maybe 30% USA guests. Met many US citizens both working and vacationing in Cuba. Bought US Bacon in the supermarket!

It's a fascinating country and not at all how I had imagined it prior to our visit. I recommend Dervla Murphy's book: Cuba; The Island that Dared as an excellent read on the current situation in Cuba.

Dave the Canuck 04-03-2009 15:29

As well, credit cards from US based banks were NOT accepted while I was there. Leave the AMEX at home and be sure to get a card from another country. (Hey, I know some guys...)https://www.cruisersforum.com/images/icons/icon10.gif
Met some Americans in Havana who flew to Toronto. Got stamped. Flew to Havana from Toronto. Didn't get stamped and repeated the process upon their return. Looked to US Customs like they spent a couple of weeks in Toronto. The tans in February after a visit to Canada might have been a giveaway but...https://www.cruisersforum.com/images/icons/icon12.gif

osirissail 04-03-2009 15:47

I love sv/Jedi's take on the situation - I have actually heard from cruising friends of the "spies" writing down names and home ports and using spy satellites to image boat names, etc. - but that was back in the previous administration's tenure. As with everything in the world, politics rules and reality/common sense generally takes a back seat. Hopefully this new administration will slowly work it way through the monumental list of crisis items in the world/USA and maybe get down to Cuba and fix that problem for us. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting.
- - Currently the law forbids "trading with then enemy" which means spending any money there - and the past administration translated that to simply your being there was considered "trading with the enemy" and periodically applied bureaucratic and legal hassling of cruisers visiting Cuba to "teach them a lesson." Many, many thousands of dollars of legal fees later you might get your boat back or not - if they target you. So it was and still is risky to stick you butt into that situation. Not being legal or constitutional never slowed down the last administration and an awful lot of the lower level bureaucrats from that era are still in place and active so don't expect any lightning change in rules about Cuba. If you can wait a few years you may find the place packed with all of us who are patiently waiting.

schoonerdog 20-03-2009 11:48

In the 2009 budget all money for enforcement of the "trading with the enemies" act has been intentionally stripped out. It's the beginning of the end of this policy. Without money for enforcement treasury are forced to immediately reallocate those resources to other projects. Simply put, if that part of the government has no money, it gets dissolved. The lead republican on the foriegn relations committee has stated that the policy has had no tangible benefit to the United States. The democrats are universally opposed. I think we can all start to relax regarding this now.

schoonerdog 20-03-2009 11:51

BTW, regarding visiting Cuba from Ragged Island, we've done that travelling the 500 or so miles from Ragged Island to Puerto de Vita eventually to Key West. They beat the Bahamas by a huge margin for prestine beaches and wonderful underwater aquatic life. The people are very friendly and it's an incredibly rewarding trip.

Ram 20-03-2009 11:56

Quote:

Originally Posted by schoonerdog (Post 266537)
In the 2009 budget all money for enforcement of the "trading with the enemies" act has been intentionally stripped out. It's the beginning of the end of this policy. Without money for enforcement treasury are forced to immediately reallocate those resources to other projects. Simply put, if that part of the government has no money, it gets dissolved. The lead republican on the foriegn relations committee has stated that the policy has had no tangible benefit to the United States. The democrats are universally opposed. I think we can all start to relax regarding this now.

Thats Great news- though I would only sail there out of the storm season, it seems just about every storms that comes thru hits the island

Panama Dave 21-03-2009 06:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by GordMay (Post 261166)
Nobody cares about my left wing liberal persuasion, nor anotherís right-wing reactionary sentiments. :)

Gord May
I see you are getting your political jab in while chastising others for mentioning politics on our forum.
A more accurate statement would be "Nobody cares about my left wing feelings on the issue, nor another's right wing thoughts".
Now that I got that off my chest I think the embargo on Cuba wrong. With the embargo lifted the comunist regime would not be able to withstand the forces of capitalism and would colapse. If Obama lifts the embargo that would be one decision I would support him on. Even if he does have a (D) after his name Barack Hussein Obama. I would love to visit Cuba one day.
Dave

schoonerdog 22-03-2009 06:29

typically people go to the Bahamas in December and then take their time cruising down to exumas and the Jumentos by end of February. Then spend a month cruising the coast of Cuba in the March/April time frame and then on to the hurricane holes, Guatemala or the Chesapeake.

mudrod 31-03-2009 20:10

To All, Good News ! Just heard on the 10 o'clock news that a Bill has been introduced to lift the embargo on travel by us citizens to Cuba !! About time... ! I only hope it goes thru before May 1-May17 .. while I am in Key West for some much needed cruising, I would love to jump across to Cuba .. . I will cross my fingers..
PS. Good Thread..
Regards, MJ

Soft Air 31-03-2009 20:17

Hope it doesn't get overcrowded with american citizens...soon enough it will look like Key West :(

GordMay 01-04-2009 02:22

S.428 & H.R. 874 - Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act

These bills, introduced by Rep. Delahunt (D-MA) and Rep. Flake (R-AZ) in the House and Senators Dorgan (D-ND), Enzi (R-WY), Dodd (D-CT) and Lugar (R-IN) in the Senate, would allow travel between the United States and Cuba without existing restrictions.

The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act - Prohibits the President from regulating or prohibiting travel to or from Cuba by U.S. citizens or legal residents or any of the transactions ordinarily incident to such travel, except in time of war or armed hostilities between the United States and Cuba, or of imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of U.S. travelers.

If you wish, you can Call the Capitol Switchboard number: (202) 224-3121, and ask for your Representative, and urge him or her to (or not to) co-sponsor H.R. 874 in the House. Using the same number, you can call your Senators and ask them to support (or not) S. 428 in the Senate. You will most likely speak to a staff person.

Goto:
GovTrack: H.R. 874: Text of Legislation, Introduced in House

And:

washingtonpost.com

Hud3 01-04-2009 04:16

This is good news! My only fear is that the demand, and therefore the price, of good Cuban cigars will skyrocket. :eek:

Inthewind 07-04-2009 19:09

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 Breaking News Cuba's Raul Castro meets U.S. officials

Reuters 2009-04-07
A U.S. congressional delegation met on Monday with Cuban President Raul Castro in his first talks with U.S. officials since taking office last year -- a sign that U.S.-Cuban relations may be thawing.

Castro was host to six black Democrats from the U.S. House of Representatives who came to Cuba last week to explore ways of normalizing relations between the two countries, which have been at odds for five decades.

The television report showed Castro, attired in a business suit, sitting down with the delegation, but gave no details of what was discussed.

Delegation leader U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee has said the group did not carry a message from President Barack Obama but had come only to "listen and talk" with the Cubans.

Castro succeeded his ailing older brother Fidel Castro as president in February 2008.

Fidel Castro on Sunday wrote a column in which he said Cuba did not fear dialogue with the United States and on Monday wrote another recounting the visit of what he described as "an important political delegation."

There was no word that he had met with the group, but he wrote that one member had said "it was necessary to use this moment in which there is a black president in the White House and a current of opinion favorable to normalization of relations" between the two countries.

Hopes that U.S.-Cuba relations would improve have risen since Obama took office in January after promising to ease the 47-year U.S. trade embargo against the communist-led island and seek talks with Cuban leaders.

News reports have said Obama will shortly lift restrictions on family travel and remittances between Cuba and the United States, perhaps before the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago on April 17.

Bills are pending in the House and Senate that would eliminate a ban on Americans visiting Cuba.

Tom and Maje 17-04-2009 07:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by mudrod (Post 270221)
To All, Good News ! Just heard on the 10 o'clock news that a Bill has been introduced to lift the embargo on travel by us citizens to Cuba !!


Not to all Americans (see below)



13 APR 09
The White House now is confirming a Miami Herald report, outlining what President Obama will announce with regard to Cuba. Here are some bullet-point details from the report:
  • Lifting travel restrictions for Cuban Americans, allowing them to travel more freely to the island
  • Lifting gift restriction for Cuban Americans, allowing them to send additional financial help to family members. (-- Expanding the items that can be sent to the island, including clothing, personal hygiene items and fishing equipment."
  • "Licensing steps to open up greater communication to the island"
But:
  • The trade embargo remains in place
  • And still prohibited: "Sending items to senior government officials and Communist Party members"

steelfan 22-04-2009 11:42

Can you cruise along the coast without too much agro from officials (after booking in to the country of course) I am thinking of spending Jan to April 2010 there

phiggins 22-04-2009 16:38

Once you check in and get a cruising license you can cruise to other ports but you have to give them a detailed list of the ports you plan to stop in. They may disallow some of the ports you put on the list depending on their current security situation or their mood.

I also plan to be in Cuba around January, probably Marina Hemingway first then along the coast maybe around the south side as far as Cayo Largo. Maybe we'll see you there.

bobboulware 11-05-2009 06:42

Reference Entering Marina Hemingway: Best to make sure you have the sea bouy (200 yds from shore +/-) close along side before entering the channel (about 50 feet wide by memory). Go in on the compass bearing mentioned in Nigel Caulders book and you'll be fine. Not a good idea to do it at night, although they used to have range lights that are counterintuitive but usually don't work anyway.

phiggins 11-05-2009 07:09

I'll second that warning. When we were there in 2005/6, half a dozen boats went on the reef coming into Hemingway. Some of the buoys, I think the red ones, were missing. They'll give you a heavy fine for damaging the reef, not to mention the damage you'll sustain.

bobboulware 11-05-2009 07:39

Entering Marina Hemingway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bobboulware (Post 281813)
Reference Entering Marina Hemingway: Best to make sure you have the sea bouy (200 yds from shore +/-) close along side before entering the channel (about 50 feet wide by memory). Go in on the compass bearing mentioned in Nigel Caulders book (140 degrees T by memmory) and you'll be fine. Not a good idea to do it at night, although they used to have range lights that are counterintuitive but usually don't work anyway.

One more thing of note: The chart says that the sea buoy is red with flashing light. The flashing light is white by memory. We were looking for a red flashing light amongst the shore clutter at night and came within about 30 feet of the sea buoy (thanks to Mr. Garmin)before we saw it.

BTW: There was a great $5 buffet breakfast (1999) on the veranda overlooking the marina at one of the hotels that is a don't miss.


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