CUBA TRAVEL JOURNAL

We Arrive in Cienfuegos, Cuba

July 1, 1998 8:45am

Finally, last night, about twelve miles out we were able to spot the lighthouse leading to the Cienfuegos Bay. Approaching it to the left, we strained to seek out the red and green channel buoys to take us past the rocks and islands. A nuclear powered submarine slid by us silently as we navigated our way into the harbor. As we passed a guard armed with a machine gun, we informed him we were bound for Marina Jagua. He waived us on and an hour later we were greeted dockside by a security guard wearing a shoulder slung Russian pistol with an eighteen inch barrel.

Once docked, he greeted us warmly and a parade of officials began that continued into the next morning.

First the Harbor Master arrived to clear the ship. Next came the Doctors to check the provisions and grant us health clearance. Now arrives Immigration to inform us we must remain on the boat the rest of the night since Immigration and Customs would not arrive until the morning.

At each visit, portions of our stores were gifted, an event we anticipated and so had stocked ten cases of Budweiser on board which everyone except the Doctors eagerly accepted. They asked for biscuits (cookies) for the children. Having none, I gave them some Top Ramen and Cup-o-Noodles which they weren't sure what to make of.

In between visits, Chris cleaned his tuna and sacked it but news of facilities to store it was bad. No electricity was immediately available, nor ice and the water main had broken and was under repair. He finally found a ship with a freezer who accepted the tuna as a gift.  

After the commotion of our arrival was over, I collapsed into a deep sleep for about an hour and then moved below deck, napping until Immigration arrived at 7:30am and we began again.

Everyone's now left, we're cleared into Cuba, our passports were graciously

not stamped as we requested. I've showered, had a cup of coffee and feel a million times better - ready to explore Cienfuegos.

1998 John Petrak

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