Friday, March 09, 2007

Passage notes - by Geert

We reached Casilda after a week long cruise through Jardines de la Reina, an extensive achipelago of mangrove and coral islands. All are uninhabited. We only met a few fishermen, and a Dutch sailor returning from an Antarctic adventure.

The sailing was excellent, but we also for the first time in months felt the influence of cold fronts over the north american continent. North winds of 30 knots forced us to hide for two nights in a tight mangrove anchorage at Cayo Breton.

We have a full crew of three, and use the self steering vane less and less. Steering by hand is much more accurate, especially downwind and in a swell. It is also much faster. Day before yesterday we averaged almost 6 knots, with a double reef in the main and a reefed genoa.

Casilda is the harbour of Trinidad, one of the oldest cities in Cuba. Some of the colonial buildings have been restored with Unesco money, but fortunately, there are still many beautiful ruins left. It's a very quiet town. There are some taxi's and air conditioned buses for western tourists, but the Cubans use horse carts and bicycle taxi's. The communist government and the US embargo have almost brought this place to a standstill.

I'll quickly post, without spell check, before internet time runs out.