s/v Always & All Ways

30 June 2016 | En route to Providencia
30 June 2016 | En route to Providencia
27 June 2016 | En route to Cayman Brach
27 June 2016 | Cienfuegos
26 June 2016 | Cienfuegos
23 June 2016 | Cienfuegos
23 June 2016 | Macho de la Fuera
22 June 2016 | Jardines de La Reina
22 June 2016 | Jardines de La Reina
21 June 2016 | Jardines de La Reina
19 June 2016 | Jardines de La Reina
18 June 2016 | Cayos Machos de Fuera
17 June 2016 | Cayos Machos de Fuera
16 June 2016 | Havana
13 June 2016 | Havana
13 June 2016 | Havana
13 June 2016 | Havana
13 June 2016 | Havana
13 June 2016 | Havana
11 June 2016 | Havana

Still at sea

30 June 2016 | En route to Providencia
Mark
Not much to say, still trucking along. Winds and waves built through the night as expected. Today should be strongest. Winds are 20-25 with occasional gusts to 30; waves 6-10 with a fair number higher. It is quite exciting to sit in the cockpit and watch a 15' wave approach. A 15' wave is over your head, so you look up at this wall of water that looks like it will inundate you and then at the last minute, the boat rises and the wave passes under with little fuss. i just love how this boat handles heavy weather! So we are well. More tomorrow.

Sailing

30 June 2016 | En route to Providencia
Mark
Cleared out of Cayman Brac, no problems. Got some fresh bread at the bakery and were underway by 9:30. Great day of sailing wind still up and down but generally stronger and still aft of beam. Quite comfortable. Another 24 hrs to go before landfall.

Good-bye Cuba

27 June 2016 | En route to Cayman Brach
Mark
Sandy & Will were back at the dock by 8:00 so I could take their passports to clear us out. First I paid the marina bill. Somehow I confused the rate and thought it was $0.06/ft/day when it was really $0.20/ft/day. Fortunately I had enough cuc's left to pay the full amount. Then I went to the Port Capt. who informed us that he needed t do an on board inspection before we left. This was a new one. Never had that happen in any country we have visited. Of course he wanted me to come in to the dock. Given the fiasco we had last time, I convinced him to come out to the boat in my dinghy. He did, the inspection was more than perfunctory, but less than thorough. When I brought them back to the dock, he said, "You'll be gone in 5 minutes, yes?" Well, actually I wanted to buy one bottle of rum with my remaining cuc's, but it turns out the marina store is not open so I guess I just have a few cuc's for decoration - and no more rum to bring home. Oh well. It was totally flat calm, so we weighed anchor and motored out of the bay. Along the way we found a couple little fishing boats and stopped to give them the remaining line & hooks I had put together. I'm sure they appreciated it much more that the 'professional' fishermen we met in Machos de la Fuerta. By 11:00 we had cleared the bay and were on a course for Cayman Brach. There was a bit of wind so we raised sail and tried sailing. It was up and down, but we sailed or motor-sailed as needed. At one point we saw a Cuban Coast Guard ship pass us at some distance. Later, as he was on a reciprocal course and we were sailing more or less towards him, he hailed us on channel 16. "We are conducting exercises and you must keep 12 miles off." (We were about 3 miles at that point and they were between us and our destination. "How do you suggest I do that?" "You should steer a course of 090 until you are 12 nm off." "I cannot sail 090 as that is where the wind is from. I will sail as close to East as I can until we clear you." He seemed happy with that and it wouldn't hurt us to make a bit more E while we can anyway. So we changed course, re trimmed sails and went E (well, really SE). When I figured we had cleared him enough, we came back on course. Since we were still at that point going away from him, I figured it would be OK. It was. The wind was really crazy. Pipes up, put in a reef; dies down, shake it out; repeat; really pipes up, put in double reef; shake one out; shake other one out; add motor. But we are still on course to make Cayman Brach before dark tomorrow so all is well. More then.

Last Day in Cuba

27 June 2016 | Cienfuegos
Mark
On our last day in Cuba, Deb & I started out by walking to the Pallacio de Valle, one of many elaborate mansions built by the wealthy of Cienfuegos in the 30's and 40's. I had read that El Bodega was a casual restaurant in the building where we might get lunch and there was also a formal restaurant and a roof top bar. When we arrived, the entrance was all a flutter. It seems there were several girls (~15) who were shooting their 'coming out' pictures there today. This is a REAL BIG THING in Cuba. The girls have elaborate gowns, fancy hairdos and lots of makeup, then they pose in provocative ways at some gorgeous setting while professional photographers capture their emerging beauty. It must cost a fortune! The grand staircase of this place was a perfect spot and several different parties were waiting their turn. We were informed that it was $2.00cuc to see the house and take pictures, but that also included a free drink at the roof top bar. OK, deal. We managed to get up the staircase between shootings. The 'seeing the house' part was a real disappointment as only a couple rooms were open and they were unfurnished. You could see other furnished rooms through iron gates, but not get there. Not sure if this was because it was Sunday and the house wasn't really open for tours or what. Anyway, a spiral staircase (Deb is getting quite good at them!) led tot he roof top bar which DID have great views of the city and the harbor. The drinks were pretty weak, but since it was still before noon, that was just as well. We did find El Bodega which was a bar in the basement of the building and smelled it - very musty and maybe some bad plumbing thrown in. Not a place we wanted to have lunch. We caught a bici-taxi in to town again - only $2.00cuc this time - Sundays are slow. Unfortunately, all the street vendors, pulled pork and cold beer was gone. Yesterday had been a special festival for the rejuvenation of El Boulevard and we had just stumbled upon it. Glad we did, sorry it was not still there. We ran into our 'friends' from yesterday - two young men to whom we had given packages of soap and shampoo for their wives and kids. They were effusive about how much their wives loved the gifts. They helped us find more veggies to buy - mangoes, tomatoes, pineapple, etc. They tried to find us a spot for lunch, but Cuba just doesn't do lunch. Every place was a full menu of dinner servings. After several false starts, we thanked them and just went into El Rapido which was not selling $1.00 mojitos today, but did have a rather strange pizza that served as lunch. After that, we hit the art galleries and other shops again. For some reason, today we did much better. Perhaps part of it was that we HAD to spend all our cuc's as you cannot change them back and they are probably all going to be worthless within the year when (if) Cuba goes back to a single currency. At any rate we found great little gifts and even a couple paintings we agreed upon. The artist was a cool guy in his 20's with (fake) dreads who spoke about as much English as I did Spanish and was very pleased we liked his work. He actually had one painting of an old tobacco farmer that I might have bought, but it was more than we had left (and worth it). Another bici-taxi ($3.00cuc this time - always ask before getting in, but it is quite few miles so they earn the money) brought us back to the marina and dink brought us to the boat just before the afternoon thunderstorms hit. We ferried cushions back and forth about 4 times as each storm passed and it seemed to be clear until another one rolled in. We luxuriated in fresh tomatoes by having BLTs for dinner. And, of course, rum and a cigar in the net after all the squalls passed. Today I have to pay our marina bill ($7.74cuc) and then clear out with Customs and Port Captain. Once all that is done, I will spend the last of my cuc's at the marina store on rum. By law all rum is sold at the same price everywhere (except black market) so it makes it convenient to use the marina store. It looks like we will be motoring at least for a while as it is dead calm. The grib files so some breeze off shore, so I am hopeful, but our visas expire so we have no choice but to leave today.

Cienfuegos

26 June 2016 | Cienfuegos
Mark
I was awakened by yelling quite near the boat ~7:00. It turned out to be the men and women's crew practicing. There were singles, doubles, quads, and octets - the later with a helmsman. The rowers appeared to be college age. I wonder whom they compete against. It was certainly different than we had seen elsewhere. Apparently Cienfuegos is a more affluent city and less run by the tourist trade. (It is the busiest port in the country.) The graceful boats gliding across the flat water in front of the marina and the mansions on the water's edge was quite a sight. I took Sandy & Will in to the dinghy dock by 7:30 and they went off in search of veggies. I checked the fuel and decided I needed to buy some so emptied the 3 x 5 gal. jugs into the tank and went in to the fuel dock to refill them. $1.00cuc/litre. By 10:00, Sandy & Will were back with veggies. They decided that they wanted to stay in a casa particular that they had read about that seemed real nice and had internet access, so on my next trip in for diesel I took them ashore. We agreed to meet later at a 'Rapido' they had found on the pedestrian boulevard that had $1.00cuc mojitos that Sandy assured me were actually pretty good. By 11:00, Deb & I were ready to go see the town so we left dink at the dinghy dock and walked out to the main street and immediately found a bici-taxi into the square for $3.00cuc. The driver was really nice. He had family in Florida (doesn't EVERY Cuban?) and pointed out various sights along the way. The square (Parque Marti) is very impressive. All of the buildings are in excellent condition at least exteriorly. There is a large gazebo near the center that is a WiFi hotspot. How cool to be sitting in this ancient city (known as the 'Paris of Cuba' for its French influenced architecture) sitting in the gazebo and checking email and facebook with several Cubans. We had lunch at the Palantino, a taverna recommended by the guide book. It was right on the square and convenient, but the food was the same ham & cheese sandwiches that are ubiquitous here (and not very good). Oh well, the setting was great. As we walked around the square afterwards, we discovered that most of the ground floors of the huge colonial buildings were now art galleries, usually run by the artist or his family. Several were quite interesting. Extending both S and E from the square are pedestrian boulevards. The Rapido where we had agreed to meet was on the E one, but since it was well before 3:00, we walked the S one first. The center of the street was filled with carts selling the typical souvenirs and the sides of the street were lined with more art galleries. Deb looked in vain for a present for her mother. The E boulevard was quite different. Near the square, the center was filled with trees and benches and the sides were stores - but more stores for locals than tourists - clothing and even furniture stores. Further down, the center was filled with the Cuban version of food trucks. Apparently attached to some nearby restaurant, several carts were selling 'cerdo assada' sandwiches - basically pulled pork that looked MUCH better than what we had for lunch! There were also carts selling mixed drinks - mojitos, Cuba Libre, etc. - and beer - ice cold draft for $0.50cuc! And walking around with a beer or drink is no problem. We found the Rapido and it had a band playing popular music at about 110 dB! Sandy said it had been much quieter in the morning. It did have good mojitos however. Will was feeling a bit under the weather and had not come, and we agreed that if we did not run into each other before then, they would be back at the boat ready to go by 8:00 Monday. We caught another bici-taxi back to the marina while Sandy went off in search of internet cards. At the boat, I made blackened snapper which Deb actually liked and she made fried green tomatoes which I enjoyed - a good meal, just the two of us. I wanted to go in to the nearby hotel and see their Cabaret show which the guide book had highly recommended. It started @ 10:00 and went until 'late.' Deb was less enthusiastic about going out, but agreed. We took dink in to the dock and walked the couple blocks to the hotel. It hadn't started yet - "maybe 10:30 or 11:00" We waited in a beautiful open air lounge near the swimming pool. Hotel Jagua is quite the nice place! When we finally heard music coming from the Cabaret, we went back. Cover charge was $3.00cuc per person for non-hotel guests but included a Cuba Libre. Inside was dark with an empty stage and sort of bad MTV on multiple screens around the stage. We were the first ones there. Gradually the room filled - mostly with 20's & 30's dressed to the nines. Still no live show. After nearly an hour, I asked the bartender if there was going to be a show. "Yes, the video goes until 12:00 or so and then the live show." We gave up and left. I guess we are just not city people.
Vessel Name: Always & All Ways
Vessel Make/Model: Fountaine-Pajot Belize 43
Hailing Port: Hancock, NH, USA
Crew: Mark & Deb Parker
About: Mark, an ER doc, retired 10/08 to become a sea gypsy. Deb, an educator, has been retired since 5/07 and was equally anxious to leave the cold of New England far behind
Extra: We now have a hurricane season home in Bocas del Toro, Panama. We still plan on spending many months cruising every year.
Always & All Ways's Photos - Main
Cruise of Albuquerque Cays and Providencia, Columbia
19 Photos
Created 12 June 2013
Pictures from our 2012 cruise from Bocas del Toro, Panama, to the Bay Islands of Honduras and back. Posted each time we have internet
2 Photos | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 28 March 2012
Pictures of our home at Discovery Bay, Isla Solarte, Bocas del Toro, Panama. More (older) can be found in Discovery Bay album.
49 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 5 August 2010
Pictures of our recent trip to the San Blas Islands of Panama with friends Ron & Cynde
58 Photos | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 29 April 2010
Pics from the month we spent at some of the out of the way places in the Bahamas, May 2009.
39 Photos
Created 22 June 2009
Birds, animals, etc. that we have seen along the way
14 Photos
Created 11 April 2009
Pictures of some of the improvements we have made over the past few months
37 Photos
Created 11 April 2009
Pictures from Rio Dulce
20 Photos
Created 11 April 2009
Pictures from our travels
29 Photos
Created 11 April 2009