Chivirico Cuba and boat repair in exotic places.

buy stromectol australia Yesterday we cleared out of the port of Santiago and headed west along the coast.  It’s now Sunday morning and we are anchored in Chivirico, a teeny, tiny little harbor, about 30 miles west of Santiago de Cuba.

Monte Carmelo Before I get started with this post, perhaps a few more photos from our visit to Santiago de Cuba.  First, a photo of Pandora in the marina there with the mountains in the distance.   What a view.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust before we left Santiago a number of rowing shells from the local boat club rowed by.  I have to say that I wasn´t epecting to see such a sight in a comunist country.   Fedel, row harder.  You are out of sync…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sunset to the west each evening was spectacular.  In the afternoons it blows like stink but the wind dies at sunset making for a beautiful, if hot, evening.  We were able to run the AC in the front cabin but the electrical connection wasn´t strong enough to support the AC in the main salon or the battery charger.  Glad we have the solar panels. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few days ago I took the ferry from the marina to downtown Santiago.   You want third world, this was third world.  Show me the life preservers.  Ha!What a view from the boat as we approached the city from the water.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we came into the harbor at Santiago to anchor in the quarantine area a week ago Brenda was at the helm as is customary for us as I handled the anchor. The woman that checked us in decided that Brenda, being at the helm, was the ¨Capitan¨ and put her as such on the paperwork.   This means that each time we clear in or out of a port Brenda is “El Capitan” from now on and has to sign any papers. We both got quite a kick out of that.  Well, mostly me and the lady that checked us in, of course. Most cruising couples divide the work by putting the husband at the helm and wife on the bow. Not us and I guess that’s unusual enough here in Cuba to raise eyebrows at customs.   Andas a result, Capitan Brenda she is, and will remain, Capitan for the duration of our visit to Cuba.

isotretinoin order on line It’s an important distinction as you must clear in and out of each port every time you move. That’s unless, of course, if the port is so small that it doesn’t have a GuardaFrontera office.  Such is the case at Chivirico, a village that is so small that it only fits about 4 boats. You can’t see the harbor from the ocean as it’s behind a hill that is several hundred feet tall with a small hotel perched on the top.   It was quite intimidating to make the approach as there aren’t any markers save a white range marker on the beach just before you turn to go into the lagoon.

The entrance is impossibly narrow, more of a cut in the coral marked by some metal stakes than a channel.  I have to admit that I was holding my breath, for more than a few minutes,  as we came closer to shore and entrance but the water was clear enough to easily see the shallows.

After entering the channel, we promptly ran aground. However, the mud was so soft and deep that we were able to power our way through with little difficulty. At the most shallow point we were reading about 5’ so that meant that we were plowing through about 12-18” of soft mud with our 6’5” keel. It was a bit unnerving as I really didn’t want to find myself stranded just feet from coral and breakers.   Once inside, we weren’t alone as there were three other boats anchored in the tiny harbor, two from Norway.

One of the boats had three young people aboard who left Norway back in August and were headed to Panama and across the Pacific with a plan of being aboard together for about three years. Interestingly, they didn’t have any sort of bimini to shade them in the cockpit so the three fair haired kids from the north were all nut brown. I expect that they will regret that later in life. Can you say sebharea karatossa or spell it?   Pretty sure I can´t.

The wind became very light in the evening so Brenda and I sat up on deck to watch the local children jump into the water from a tree. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A bit later they swam out to us, I expect with the hope of some sort of handout.   I was tempted but didn’t want them with us for the duration of our visit.  Chivirico is a tiny rural fishing village, much different than Santiago with all its noise and activity.   The locals make their living fishing out of little boats and in inner tubes that they float around with while casting lines.   The boats that they take out into the ocean are impossibly small with tiny inboard engines.

They also set up fine nets hundreds of feet long across the inlet to the harbor in the evening to catch fish that tangle in the net as they move into the harbor to feed at dusk.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It was interesting to see the smaller fish jumping out of the water as larger ones below cornered them against the net. They sparkled as they jumped out of the water in the late afternoon light.   It was quite a sight.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are some very quaint buildings along the mangrove shoreline and even two thatched huts at a sort of park were the children were swimming.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASunset, and I love sunsets in blog posts as you know, and this one was beautiful. I´d like to see Brenda weave this as a tapestry.  It was a magical moment.


There isn’t going to be much wind to speak of until Tuesday so we’ll wait here and enjoy this little village.

Oh yeah, remember the “flood” last fall where salt water got on some of the electronic components in the back of the boat?  That little mishap was what caused me abandon my trip to the Eastern Caribbean as various sensitive electronic components failed. Well, I thought that I had resolved all of the “issues” that resulted from that problem but it seems that experience has turned out to be “the gift that keeps on giving” as a critical isolator on the SSB tuner was damaged too and I have not been able to reliably receive e-mail since arriving in Cuba.

That’s very frustrating and means that I am unable to send posts to our son Christopher when we are in more out-of-the-way areas, LIKE CUBA.  I have tried to find a work-around but the problem persists. Perhaps I’ll find a solution but for now I will only be able to reliably receive messages when I am able to visit one of the state run internet cafes.

If you see this post, you will know that I was able to find a place with internet, the little state run hotel on the hill nearby.

It’s very distressing that we are unable to reliably communicate with folks in spite of our very careful preparation. And, one thing for sure is that we won’t be finding a replacement part here in Cuba.

I’ll continue to fiddle with things and, who knows, perhaps I’ll get lucky and fix it.

Before I sign off, one more thing. Yesterday when I was closing up the sail cover on the main, I noticed that some of the stitching had come apart which meant that I needed to re-stitch the entire zipper, all 30-40’+ of it. It took about three hours to take off the cover, sew it and put it all back together again.  You should try managing a foot pedel while sitting on a boat cushion.   Not the most ideal sewing position.  However, the veiw was unparalled.   Brenda was a huge help feeding the 17´cover as I sewed. It was a good example of the cruising life of “boat repair in exotic places”.  Did I mention that I had a sewing machine on board? Good thing as it’s the second time I have used it since leaving CT last October.




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