Tina, the marina manager greeted us with flowers and welcomed us ( in excellent English ) to her country. Then the officials arrived.
Three men were first with forms to fill out. One was the veterinarian who examines the meat, flour and rice etc. He is looking for meats from countries with mad cow disease and bugs in the flour or rice. Another official was the Harbourmaster who, with his minimal English and my dictionary, assisted the others in completing the forms. Once those forms were done, the drug dogs arrived. Two different ones and they both had trouble with our steep stairs.. We must have looked like bad “hombres”. Two customs men followed and searched the the vessel, looking in cupboards, bilges and lockers. Once this process was completed, Murray needed to go to the custom’s office to see yet another official and fill out forms there listing GPS’s, VHF’s, TV, cameras, radar and computers etc. Our passports were taken away by the Immigration official and returned with a separate page inserted which was our Cuban Visa. They do not put any stamps inside your passport so, once you have departed Cuba, the loose page can be removed and there then is no indication that you have visited this country.
The costs for this process:
- Custom Inspection 20 CUC ( Cuban convertible peso approx $1 Cdn )
- Doctor 25 CUC ( not always collected as the Doctor himself cannot handle the money )
- Veterinarian 5 CUC
- Immigration Visa 15 CUC per person
- Cruising Permit 15 CUC
- Entry Stamp 10 CUC
- Departure Stamp 10 CUC
The marina charges 0.60 CUC per foot on the dock with power and water but also 0.30 CUC per foot to anchor in the bay. So far, we have stayed on the dock. The water is questionable in its delivery and its purity. We have gotten mixed reports but some of the cruisers do drink it. Mostly, we are using it for washing ourselves and the boat.
Finally after a couple of drinks and a light dinner, we crashed for the night. By morning, my bruises were blooming. I forgot to mention being dumped off of the cockpit seat ( while napping on a cushion ) by a large wave. On the way down, I managed to rip the cockpit table off of the binnacle. Oops, another job for Murray’s list.
In the morning, after a long visit with Tina, talking about the marina and life in general, it was time to visit a bank, change some money and begin our adventures ashore.
More to follow,
Heather & Murray