HANALEI is back in Cuba for about a month.
It took longer to finish our new rigging and fiberglassing than we had counted on. Then, after waiting out an unexpected cold front for a couple of days at Glover Reef --at least the northerlies flattened out the Gulf Stream -- we had 15-20 knots on the beam the final two days of glorious sailing.
What’s new? We’re on the north coast this time.
Change is coming quickly to Cuba so, in addition to dodging cruise ships the size of cayos, we’re wrapping our heads around cost of living increases. My first piece of advice about cruising Cuba is to bring more money than I have previously recommended.
On March 3, the cost of a visa rose from $25 CUC per crew member to $75 CUC. The charge to disenroll or add crew now requires a $10 CUC stamp instead of a $5 CUC one.
Now that it’s legal for American boats to come without papers for less than two weeks, motorboats zip down from Miami to fish or attend the recent free Rolling Stones concert in Havana, management have decided to cash in.
We’re at Hemingway Marina, where only about half the slips are usable. Yet somehow rates will double on April 1st.
Here are the old and new daily rates per foot for less than a month’s stay:
Length Old New
< 45 .50 CUC .70 CUC
45-59 .55 CUC 1.00 CUC
60-74 .60 CUC 1.00 CUC
75-89 .70 CUC 1.80 CUC
> 90 2.00 CUC 2.50 CUC
Water is still .06 CUC per gallon and electricity .35 CUC per kilowatt.
I hope some of the windfall goes into updates. The place is pretty run down, yet it’s still the only choice within striking distance of La Habana.
Finally, a couple more port category changes. According to the dockmaster at Hemingway, foreign boats are supposed to go only to international marinas for the first month of their stay in Cuba.
Cuba’s law that a facility must have an incinerator to qualify as an international marina has cut out yet another port. Baracoa is now closed to visiting yachts, making Puerto de Vita the furthest east port of entry and/or exit.
This map shows the most up-to-date status of Cuba’s international marinas.
Darsena Varadero is also closed since the opening of Gaviota’s new, improved 1500 slip marina last year.
We’re leaving in the morning to check it out.