CUBA TRAVEL JOURNAL

Cayo Blanco, Cayo Zaza de Fuera and Lobster

July 9, 1998 9:15am

We started our way down the Canal de las Malatas leading into Casilda at sunset. After the first turn we went northeast towards Cayo Guayo intending to anchor near the island using the reef behind us for protection. We set the anchor twice before it held.

My fever was quite high now and my entire body ached. After the boat is set for the night, I fell asleep. Chris woke me for some stew about 10:30, I ate and went back to a fever induced, nightmarish sleep.

We awoke at 7:30, I'm feeling much better though still queasy. Over coffee and a grapefruit, we study the charts and decide to motor through the sound ( N21* 38.500 W79* 53.500 ) to the shipwreck on the northwest side of Cayo Blanco about five miles from our anchorage ( N21* 42.903 W79* 56.380 ).

We may play there for a while and then move down to Cayo Zaza de Fuera. I've plotted three points to pass us through the sound to the wreck and we're underway making just about five knots.

July 9, 1998 1:45pm

We approached Cayo Blanco to see a small building on the beach with several people moving about and the skeleton of the wreck in the water off to the right.

As we set the anchor, a man in a row boat left the beach and rowed to our yacht. We gave him a Budweiser and asked for some ice. He agreed and I left in his rowboat back to the beach. On the way, he explained he had never seen this kind of beer and asked what it was like.  

On land, I met three other people, two topographers who were mapping the island for future development and a man who works with the one I came with to serve tourist boats bringing vacationers to snorkle and swim.

  I was told the main attraction on the island was the large iguanas who come out of the mangroves to be fed when they are called.
Chris joined us on our kayak and when it became apparent we were dinner guests for swarms of small and vicious mosquitoes, we left with a small piece of ice, gifted to us by my host.  
     
One of several Toadfish we encountered
diving the waters of Cuba.
  This Toadfish seems to be taking quite
an interest in a King Conch.

Once back on the boat I decided to snorkle to the wreck for a look around and on the way back spotted a toad fish - the first one I've seen. Snorkling the "Cayo Blanco" wreck area and a beer on the beach is a great way to pass the afternoon.

We pulled anchor and set a point twenty miles further down the coast towards Cayo Zaza de Fuera and will see how our daylight runs before deciding where to anchor for the night.

July 9, 1998 10:00pm

We made it to Cayo Zaza de Fuera with daylight to spare and anchored for the evening.

  On the way, we stopped for a dive to look for lobster for dinner. Ten minutes after I returned with my catch, a Cuban fishing boat pulled alongside and began throwing us lobster. We gave them three cans of Budweiser and though we asked they only give us two, they rained ten lobsters upon us! This dive site now bears the name, "Lady Fingers".

We put the most active ones back, saving enough for dinner tonight which Chris prepared in a white sauce with garlic and onions. We still have some of our precious ice for tomorrow.

We passed the evening under a full moon, listening to music, smoking cigars and drinking seven year old rum purchased for $7 the day we left.

1998 John Petrak

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