The Cruising Adventures of Joan & Ben Schuetz aboard  
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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 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