The Cruising Adventures of Joan & Ben Schuetz aboard
Part 5: Lo siento (I'm sorry) no lobsters
Sunday, December 5, 1999
We have been at Cayo Levisa for a couple of days and while we expected to leave in the morning, Sunday Dec. 5, we received word from the Guarda that there were going to be military exercises (yeah, right) down the coast and we would have to wait a day. OK, no problem.
So far, the area is very different from the Bahamas or anywhere else that we have cruised. There is almost no current and only about a foot of tidal change. Inside of the Cayos the water is slightly clouded like the Florida Keys and cool, but just on the outside of the islands the visibility in the water is around 150 feet and 6 to 8 degrees warmer. The islands have lots of great all weather anchorages with good holding so we feel very secure in the evenings. From the charts, it appears that these conditions will continue the length of Cuba. The few people that we see are always nice and we have no fear of vandalism when we are away from the boat.
Yesterday, we snorkeled the reef and to our amazement found no lobster. The cruising guides say they are everywhere?? The guys on the sailboat “Sundancer” did find a few at another Cayo though, so maybe we will yet get our fill. Anyway, the reef was pretty and we enjoyed the swim.
I am reading a biography of Horatio Nelson and his exploits in these latitudes. Just incredible that they could navigate those lumbering old ships in these waters without weather satellites, GPS, SSB, margarine, Satphone, email, microwaves, and ginger snaps. Yet, it makes me want to sling a sword, roll out the cannons, and create havoc somewhere.
On the island (Levisa) there is a nice little thatched roof hotel of 5 or six small buildings with perhaps 20 to 30 visitors, some German, Italian, and even a few English speaking folks. The hotel is a joint venture of the Cuban government and some Italian investors. Very pleasant hang out with a classical guitarist entertaining for lunch and more lively fare at night. Sundancer's crew enjoyed it so much the night we arrived that they have been kind of quiet ever since. One of their crew has had to return to England leaving last evening. He was to take a boat to the mainland, a cab to Havana, a flight to Nassau, then probably back to the US for a flight to Jolly Old.
For the past week the weather has been cool, barely reaching the upper 70s each day. Thankfully, on Saturday, it warmed up a bit. We will explore some more of the reef today, Sunday.
After leaving Levisa, our plans are to take the next 10 days to reach the west end of Cuba in 5 stops. Thus, we will cruise 20 to 30 miles per day; nice and easy. Around the 15th of December we should be at Cayo La Lena and there will wait for a weather window to cross the 120 miles of open water of the Straits of Yucatan to Mexico's' Isla Mujeres. Again, there will be up to 4 knots of Gulf Stream current so it will take a night and day to cross.
For Christmas, we plan to be at Cancun. The Heides are flying home for the festivities and Andrea is going to visit us at Cancun.
Joan, Ben, Marge, Marv & Maggie