QUINTO BAR - A unique group of musicians from the city of Santiago de Cuba, the second largest city in Cuba. In thier music, they embody many of the traits so common to the cuban people....talent, enthusiasm and optimistic and generous outlook to life.
I first heard them during their daily entertainment at the marina in Santiago de Cuba. Realizing their talent, I decided we needed to film them and hence this 'on location' shoot. Keep in mind, in essence it is a one camera shoot with a still video making a continuous recording of the music.
I wish QUINTO BAR all the luck they so richly deserve..
02 August 2009 | Cuba to Jamaica
Zach, David, Heenal
On the eve of our departure from Cuba, we sit quietly on the side of the dock, the quiet waves lapping against the side of the boat....the moonlit night....all give us a false sense of quiet for we are in a protected harbor with tallish mountains on all sides. But... all day... the 'elephants danced'. As we peered out through the narrow gap delineating the harbor from the Caribbean sea the outlines of the waves could be seen dancing across the gap.....almost as though to playfully beckon us out. The weather forecasts all predict mild seas but, as usual, one little snag....three tropical waves are making their way from east to west, their broadness over large areas give us little to go on......tomorrow will tell....should be an exhilarating ride to Jamaica.
Cuba, we leave with affection for its people and generosity and spirit. We hope to post a video snapshot of our time here when we once again enter the world of Internet in Jamaica. It is our hope and the hope of every Cuban we have talked to that our idiotic politicians get their act together and stop this shameful policy toward such a warm and generous neighbor.....
Aboard we have a third crewmember, a friend of Zach named Heenal and thankfully he is a better cook than I....so as is usually the case...the best.....cooks.
The voyage is 110 miles more or less and with a departure time of about 3 pm tomorrow, August 3rd we hope to make Jamaica the next morning, August 4th on an almost direct course of 197 degrees.
Jamaica has a miserable dog policy...'no dogs from the usa'....so we are bit anxious, once again for Mango.
An attempted fix of the jib is all we have ..... we are ready for it to collapse....we have two other spinnaker type sails aboard which might have to be pressed into service of some sort.
The reef lines have been fixed and antichaffing gear put in place.
Shearwater is about to begin the next leg.
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Diverting to Cuba
16 July 2009 | Windward Passage
david and zach
Being in the grips of a Tropical Wave Shearwater and the three of us have taken quite a beating. We have been experiencing 10-15 foot waves with winds sustained in the mid 20s with gust into the 30s. Very difficult following seas, the big mountaneous swell types punctuated by nasty smaller waves that often break into the cockpit over the back of the boat. After trying to decide if the boat could take another 24 hours of this not to mention the crew.....we have decided not to attempt our destination, Jamaica, and instead will divert to Cuba. With things like the two main reefing lines almost cut through and water slowly filling our bilges and an auto pilot that without warning turns off (that can lead to catastrophic results should it do so when Shearwater is surfing down a wave at 15 knots)with all these things needing attention, we will for safety reasons divert to Cuba. Obviously, this will met with differing attitudes on the part of the americans and the cubans. In fact, as I write I see Guantanamo Base to our right.....any moment now I expect to contacted by the americans who, ironically, cant offer refuge to their own countrymen.
Running from the Wind - another account.
16 July 2009 | Long Island to ...Cuba
david and zach
In building seas as we headed south and with things getting progressively worse we headed to the windward passage which is like a scoop, a funnel, if you will between Cuba and Haiti. The winds tend to increase in this decreasing space. As we rounded that eastern tip of Cuba the winds kept building until Shearwater was literally surfing down the faces of these monsters ever threatening from behind. There were moments that I must admit I had to garner all my learnt and instinctive skill to keep her under control. For instance, after waking from sleep for my watch...I came up to find the wind howling at 25 knots, the waves now breaking over the back of the boat and and.....there are two container ships within a few hundred yards.....we were on the run and on a run, meaning the wind was over our stern, pushing the boat. This is the most risky point of sail as with one wrong turn of the rudder the sail can do what is called a jibe. This is when the wind sneaks behind the wrong side of the sail and literally slams it to the other side of the boat and all within an instant.....a not insignificant distance on a cat, namely 24 feet. This is when boats break.
Shearwater was wild and wanted to run, I was having trouble slowing her down and there they were.....the container ships-we seemed not to get out of eachothers way. Had we for a half minute or so lost control she could have sped at 15 knots toward one of those masses of steel. Huge bangs and cracks as the waves would smash the bottom of the nacelle, the area between the two hulls.
Mango cringed at every hit and at times would break out in shivers.
The darkness, the total darkness has a tendency, like fog, to rob one of ones usual equilibrium. Suddenly even the direction of the wind can be, for a moment or two, hard to determine.
One has to quickly to relinquish the usually relied upon inputs and switch to learned knowledge.....GPS and the other instruments wildly flashing information at one.
Slowly and carefully we maneuvered ourselves away from these two ships of the night and spent the next 6 hours, not looking ahead, but peering behind through the dark anxiously trying to find warning of the next wave as it rushed our stern.
Morning finally came and in the tranformation we began to finally see the true forms that had so threatened during the long night.....finally we could anticipate and rest in the comfort of the leader of our senses.... we had sight again.
Surveying Shearwater for damage we discovered to our disappointment that she had in effect blown out her jib Additionally, both the reef lines, the lines that hold the sail down when reduced sail is called for, had chafed through to uselessness....we couldnt face another 24 hours so we diverted to....
Beating to Windward
12 July 2009 | Long Island,
david and zach
15 MILES A DAY! How is possible to go such a short distance in hours and hours of sailing and in a fast Cat? For days now we have been averaging about 20 miles,as the bee buzzez- direct, distance to destination. However, if you measured the track the boat has actually sailed it is well over 3 times that distance. How is that possible? Well, imagine a line drawn from the boat to your destination. Now imagine the wind coming from that destination directly to your boat. THAT is the ONE direction the boat CANNOT sail. The "modern day" solution(since the one-way clipper ships)? Remember that line you drew from the boat to the destination....you cant sail directly along it but you can sail in any other direction..... so, you have to criss cross that line, back and forth, numerous times at approximately 45 degrees and slowly but surely you and your boat get closer and closer to your destination. Slow, frustrating and true sailing....
That is what we are engaged in now.... in order to reach Clarence Town, directly ahead and a distance of 40 miles we will have to travel nearly 150 miles......trying to go South East into a South East wind.
THE RULES OF SHEARWATER!!
06 July 2009
1. NO SPITTING!
2. NO SITTING ON CUSHIONS FOR MORE THAN TWO HOURS!
3. NO PICKING AT THE CHEESE WITH CRACKERS!
4. NO LEANING BACK ON CUSHIONS WITHOUT A SHIRT!
5. NO BOILING 6 CUPS OF WATER WHEN 5 WILL DO!
6. NO EATING ALL THE CHERRIES!
7. NO SLIDING OBJECTS ON THE 5 COATS OF POLYURETHANED TABLE!
8. NEXT TIME, YOU DIVE THE ANCHOR!
Mango is a smart, funny, sensitive and totally unique wheaton/sheepdog. . He is my partner on this patently undoglike voyage but remains cheerful about the whole affair. [...]
David, the "Me" part of MangoandMe is awed by
Shearwater as it will always be a better boat than he a sailor-the way it should be. First stop, South America.
Shearwater is a 47 foot, very sleek and light catamaran.
She is part of a fleet of 11 that were built - its a sister ship of Shearwater that holds the unofficial speed record.
Of the this fleet, only one has flipped...so we are on the side of good odds!