Written on May 6th
Fri May 4th
In the morning I reorganized the boat, went to the store and paid my bill. By 11:30 I was on my way. Probably too late to make it all the way to Casilda, but at least I was back sailing.
The winds were light when motoring out to the channel that connects the bay with the Caribbean Sea, but once I reached the open water there was a nice breeze, and not even straight into my face. Made for a smooth sail, no wave action to speak of, with a beautiful backdrop of the mountain ridge. Early in the evening the clouds above the mountains were darkening: a thunderstorm was in the making. After cooking and supper I started to get ready for some nasty weather. Got a few strong wind gusts ahead of the storm and dropped both sails. Raised the stay sail, and continued on just that. The sights were beautiful, dark clouds, stripes of rain, lightning ahead and behind me. But, it never really reached me. Got a little bit of rain, but that was about it. So by nine o’clock I got the genoa back out.
By about 22:30 I was a few miles from the reef entrance, and the wind came straight through it. No point in attempting to tack for the those few miles and got the engine going. Not all buoys were lit, so navigation was a little more work than normal. There is no way I would have dared to make these kinds of night entrances (though the almost full moon made for quite some light) if I did not have the GPS and the chart plotter.
Just before midnight I was close to the town of Casilda, and I anchored. There was some small Cuban fishing boats around, none of them with any kind of lights.
Sat May 5th
After coffee and breakfast I picked up the anchor to head for Casilda. About halfway I was met by a speedboat, guys from the nearby marina (at the beach front, peninsula of Ancon). This must be a fairly new development (my cruising guide made no mention of this marina). The lead me through a narrow (and shallow) entrance between mangroves and into a small marina. Docked there and did the usual GF stuff (a later development in the last few ports is that they want to see your navigation log, now, I don’t keep much of a log, so I just showed him the track on my chart plotter, not sure if he understood what he was looking at, but he wrote down to lat/lons and it was all good).
In the afternoon I took the bike into Trinidad. It is a nice run through some marsh (with the typical saltwater marsh smell), a large loop around the water and then straight into town.
Trinidad is one of the older colonial cities, and the city center is still laid out as it was in the early days of Spanish conquistadores: narrow cobble stone streets around some old buildings. It was quite nice, but of course quite touristic (souvenir stalls on the streets and extremely white people with cameras on their bellies). Looked around at the sights, but did not enter any of the museums. Then I went looking for some supplies, in the search for one of the stores I was stopped by the police: I was riding against traffic in a one way street. He asked for my documentation (luckily I had it on me because I had gone to change money earlier on). Think he told me that it was normally a 30 peso (CUC?) ticket, but he let me go on without any trouble. Got back to the boat about 4, where it was very hot. When there is no wind, it gets very hot on board.
Thought about going to one of the nearby hotels in the evening to see what the discos were like, but wasn’t curious enough. Worked my way through another 100 pages (of a 1000 page book). I am working my way through Maria’s library at a steady pace, not so sure if I can reach the Dutch Antilles before running out of Dutch reading material.