We Depart Grand Cayman for Cuba - Finally!

June 29, 1998 7:00pm

After waiting in Grand Cayman for five days, first for weather and then for Immigration and Custom's officials (who don't work most of the weekend) we finally set sail for Cuba at 12:30 this afternoon.

The vessel is a thirty-seven foot Endeavor sailing yacht aptly named "Defiance" and Captained by my friend, Chris Pritchard. He salvaged her about four years ago after she was abandoned in heavy seas by her former owners as they attempted to bring her down from the East Coast. She's not terribly pretty but will get the job done and will service as home and transport over the coming weeks.  
    Photo Courtesy of C. Taniguchi

I'm the only crew and our trip is planned for about a month with a return to the United States (probably from Grand Cayman) on July 24th.

Our plan is to sail north to Cuba and depending on the wind's direction, landing either in the port town of Cienfuegos or if the weather requires, hide in the mangroves of the uninhabited keyes of Cayo Breton.

  We're currently averaging five to six knots, pushed along by twenty knot winds in four foot seas. At this rate, our crossing to Cuba should take about thirty hours putting us there around sunset tomorrow.

We're trying to beat out a tropical wave, one of a series of storm systems that have swept the Caribbean and frustrated our attempts at departure last week. It should arrive in about forty-eight hours.

The light's about gone now and it promises to be a long night. I can see several storms to the northwest of us.

We'll spell each other every four hours to steer, troubleshoot and pass the time listening to the CD installed last week and a set of thirty albums that I suspect we'll grow tired of before the trip is through.

1998 John Petrak

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