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The Cruising Adventures of Joan & Ben Schuetz aboard  
Francesca
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      Part 1:  Caribbean Bound   |         Part 2: Southern ICW   |         Part 2A:  Preparing to cross the stream   |         Part 3: Cuban Delights   |         Part 4: Great Hospitality, Awful Beaurocracy   |         Part 4a: Interesting weather   |         Part 5: Lo siento (I'm sorry) no lobsters   |         Part 6: If you make plans, don't tell anyone   |         Part 7: At the western tip of Cuba   |         Part 8:  War Stories   |         Part 9:  Hanging out at Isla Mujeres, Mexico   |         Part 10: Isla Mujeres to Puerto Aventuras   |         Part 11: Bahia Ascension y Bahia del Espiritos Santos   |         Part 12: Oooh, the weather is so exciting. . . .   |         Part 13:  The illegal aliens beat it over the border   |         Part 14: San Pedro and Caye Caulker, Belize   |         Part 15: Bluefield Range (Belize)   |         Part 15A: Waiting for good weather at Bluefield Range   |         Part 16: Rio Dulce Bound   |         Part 17:  On the Rio   |         Part 18: A Spectacular Couple of Days   |         Part 19:  On to Lago Izabal   |         Part 20: More on Lago Izabal   |         Part 21: Rainbow on a full moon   |         Part 22: At the dock            |         Part 23:  It gets better & better & . . . .   |         Part 24: Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Chichicastenango   |         Part 25: Panajacel and Chichi   |         Part 26: Heide heads home   |         Part 27: Leaving river city for a while   |         Part 28: Back to Belize   |         Part 29: Time out for paradise   |         Part 30: Natures way   |         Part 31: Best of the best   |         Part 32: Jack's Cay No - Glover's Reef Si   |         Part 33:  A few days of ambling   |         Part 34: Treasures of a Lifetime   |         Part 35:  It's a better day today   |         Part 36:  The loss of a friend   |         Part 37:  Rite of passage   |         Part 38:  The last bit of open water   |         Part 39: 1000 miles and counting   |        Part 40:  Shoes-, me?

      Part 2A:  Preparing to cross the stream
Sunday, 21 November 1999

Just a quick note.

Heide has arrived and we are ready to move toward the Caribbean.  After tomorrow, if the weather is right, we will head for Key West  where we will get the requisite permission to leave the Security Zone. ( A Presidential state of emergency, embargo,  is in effect for Cuba.  This emergency has been effective since forever, but does not restrict private vessels from visiting the country.  It does restrict American citizens from spending money there.)  It takes about 48 hours to get permission to leave and during that time we will wait on the hook hoping the weather will be cooperative soon after for the 90 mile crossing.

The crossing will take about 18 to 20 hours because we will be bucking the Gulf Stream current of anywhere from 2 to 4.5 knots.  Therefore, we will leave Key West in the late afternoon, cruise all night, and arrive at Marina Hemingway in good daylight.  Hemingway is something like 20 miles west of Havana and it is the best port of entry for cruisers.

(As it turned out, we were able to get the Permit to Leave the Security Zone from the Coast Guard Station at Marathon.  So we didn't need to put in at Key West.)

Everyone that we have talked to that has been to Cuba has said it is a terrific place to go with very friendly folks.  As you have probably seen on TV, the cities are essentially frozen in the time of the early fifties.  We have two cruising guides for Cuba and Cuban charts of the local waters.  Everything looks pretty straightforward.  Our cruise west on the NW coast of Cuba will be inside of the barrier reef most of the way  with lots of small Cays to tuck into the lee (get on the downwind side) for the night.

With good weather, the next part of The Adventures will be coming to you from Marina Hemingway.

More.

Joan, Ben & Maggie