Friday, March 21, 2014

Charter in Cuba


We now had to prepare ourselves for a charter we had sold. Casper from Holland decided to sail for a week with us in Cuba. To get all the ingredients and try to stock up for this charter was not an easy task, and involved numerous trips to the farmers market, a visit to a clandestine shrimp and lobster outlet and roaming the streets looking for items in different sized shops/(super)markets. We managed and were able to welcome Casper on board with our signature Onda Boa style reception.

The next days we sailed (not a lot of wind) to various towns and locations. Including Trinidad, one of Cubas oldest cities. The marina in Cacilda was great… brand new piers and slips. The entrance is very shallow so for boats with 2 m draft or more, I guess it wont be possible to reach. Some fantastic little islands were explored, some great snorkeling on the reefs as well. Fresh fish and lobster were bartered on the open seas by a fisher boat… Tshirt from Brazil, a bottle of rum, some toothpaste (!!!!), soap and laundry detergent. Wonderful. The week flew by and we got Casper back on time in Cacilda for his taxi ride back to the Varadeiro Airport.

And we…. on our way back east… to Cayo Anclitas…Jardines de La Reina, Cuba.







And a big thanks to Casper, who was a wonderful guest and… chef de cuisine as it turned out….

Take care


Thursday, March 20, 2014

La Havana… Cultural Expedition


Dear Friends,

So, by taxi to La Havana. From Cienfuegos it was aprox 2 hours drive. Not a lot of traffic and the road took us through sugar cane fields to La Havana. Through our taxi driver guy in Cienfuegos, we were recommended to stay at Nuria`s Casa Particular (a  licensed bed and breakfast) Adress: Calle Habana no 623, apt 2, Habana Vieja. Email: Telephone: 053-7-8621471. . It was a great recommendation. Neat, clean and well kept old colonial style house in La Havana Vieija (Old Havana). Old, indeed, and very narrow streets. Some streets in good conditions, others not so… All in all, a nice atmosphere. People want to sell you things, but are very educated and if you show that you don’t want anything, they leave you alone.


We just strolled around in the busy streets in downtown La Havana. A mixture of music, smell of food, street vendors. We talked to a bike taxi driver, a young guy, a degree in civil construction, but no job ofcourse, and so he makes some money with his bicycle taxi. It is sad to hear that for him there is almost no other way, with all the restrictions, rules and regulations. We hope that soon, things will improve.


We learned that in more sophisticated Hotels there was some wifi internet possible. In the center we found Hotel Sostorga, and so we could access the net to get the admin things sorted out (rental agreements for the apartment in Florianopolis, bank issues etc etc). Expensive, slow but at least working.

Of course we went to see a live music show (Buena Vista Social Club – cover) great stuff, Mojitos, local snacks and of course a Cuban Cigar.. (for me.. as Dora was happy with her Mojito). Check out this great clip…


We also took a bus tour (hop on and off) through the city, and ended up at what was supposed to be THE Supermarket… A lot of products from Spain (SPAR), also a lot of empty shelves as well. And rather pricy..


We were not lucky as far as restaurant choices. At the state controlled (some actually looked very promising) ones, the service is bad, the quantities minimum. At the private paladares, more expensive, but questionable quality. A cold front from the North, made the temperatures drop dramatically, and so we ventured out to purchase some ingredients so that Dora could make a nice soup in Nuria`s casa particular. Our visit to the local farmers market was an experience. However, managed to get the major items and so Dora and Nuria cooked up a great hearty soup.



Also made friends with Ivan, a souvenir shop owner. Great person, very kind and wanted us to have some souveniers. It seems that Che Guevara is more popular than Fidel (judging by the amount of pictures, tshirts etc etc) sold on the streets.


After three days, we returned to Cienfuegos. Our visit to La Havana was great, met great people and got more appreciation for the hardship and struggle the Cuban people have to endure.

The taxi driver on our return trip was a different guy.. and we folded ourselves in a Fiat Uno (with diesel motor…) and raced back to Cienfuegos.

We found Onda Boa in good shape at the marina, however as it turned out the Victron power inverter was busted, corroded and oxidiced.. meaning, we couldn’t charge the laptops etc anymore. Luckily I still had a very small inverter still and so became handy.



Be good