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  #1  
Old 03-12-2008
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Cuba

Is the Hemingway Marina still open and safe in Cuba?
Can anyone give me some idea what to expect when sail to and docking in Cuba?
I have sailed by it a few years ago but the five on board were not sure if it would be safe.

Any pointers would be help.

Conery
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  #2  
Old 03-12-2008
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Conery-

If you're planning on visiting and are on a US-flagged boat... you might be in for a very rude awakening upon your return to the USA. I wouldn't sail to Cuba until the US returns to some semblance of sanity in its dealings with the little island.
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  #3  
Old 03-13-2008
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Conery,

Marina Hemingway is certainly safe. As are all marinas there, which are operated by a subsiary of the Cuban military. Very safe, indeed.

For more pointers visit Home

Don't try to go if you are a U.S. citizen. You'll come to grief for disobeying federal law. The civil penalties are severe.

Peter Swanson
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Old 03-13-2008
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Exclamation Depends on what you mean by "safe"...

If you are wondering about physical or criminal security, then the answer is "yes, Marina Hemingway is pretty safe." There are plenty of MININT policemen on the grounds to keep an eye on things, and there is a manned vehicle gate that controls traffic coming in off of the road (mainly to keep the locals out.)

If you are wondering about "will my sacrificial anode erode away before I even tie up at the dock," or "will I get a slam-bang case of giardia if I drink the tap water" then I can't really give you an answer in 100% confidence. Last time I was there (Dec07) there was no power or water running to the quays.

If you are wondering about political security, then I can unequivocally tell you that it is "go forth at you own risk -- and don't say you weren't warned!"

While you may -- may, mind you -- be accommodated by the marina staff when you arrive, I can almost guarantee that your arrival will be reported to the US Interests Section (an Embassy in everything but name and status.) You and your vessel will probably be detained until your exact status is resolved. If you have gone through propers channels and received a license to travel to Cuba from the US Dept of Commerce, and also have received a Cuban visa prior to your arrival -- you will have no problems.

However, if you have not passed through all the propers gates I can only pity you after you eventually depart Cuba and enter back into US waters.

Which brings me to a question for you -- Why would you want to go in the first place? Don't get me wrong, I understand the mystique involved. But speaking as someone who just moved back to the States from Havana I gotta say -- you're really not missing anything by not going. There's nothing there that you can't get on other islands, except a whole lot of aggravation that you probably don't need.

All the best,
PorFin

BTW: Peter -- Did you ever make it to the Chinese restaurant
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Old 03-13-2008
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Conery,

Lest you doubt PorFin's warning about the Feds keeping track of you, let me offer a first hand experience which, while totally unrelated to Cuba, defintely says something about the eyes of big brother in the age of global terrrorism.

When I checked into Hilo, Hawaii (May '06) 31 days out of Gulfito, Costa Rica I asked the US customs guy why things were so informal (I had expected a bit more of a check of boat and crew). He said casually, "You're good guys." And then he informed me that that they had been tracking us for weeks as we crossed the Pacific (probably by monitoring the Pacific HAM nets, although we had been overflown twice by U. S. military a/c in the first week after our departure) and that within hours of our arrival they had run a criminal background check on boat, captain and crew.

Sooooo, I know first hand that the Homeland Security types aren't messing around these days. I'd second the advice of others above. Stay away from Cuba.

Last edited by billyruffn; 03-13-2008 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 03-14-2008
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I never got down to Cuba this year. Too busy. Plus the other journalist could not go because the economy has meant budget cuts at his magazine. Cuba is expensive, a fact most people don't realize.
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Old 03-14-2008
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While I don't have specifics, we just sat through a presentation from an American couple who had cruised for 14 1/2 years, including trips to Greenland, Iceland as part of a multi circumnavigation.

Part of their presentation included a trip to Cuba (post-9/11 btw). They seemed to believe they got around problems by entering Cuba from another country and not going directly back to the US. However it was not clear if they in fact made any contact with US authorities prior.... my impression was that they did not.

Given the warnings of those that know more, I'm certainly not recommending you try to go.. but some have done so. These days the potential grief from your Homeland Securities people have to give one pause.
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Old 03-14-2008
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US Regulations/restrictions changed after 9/11. And became quiet restrictive in 2004, you can google it.
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Old 03-14-2008
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Ship Wrecked

About two years ago a Canadian flagged vessel got into trouble off the North coast of Cuba. They were doing a delivery and a storm drove them ashore near Cayo Coco and the vessel broke up. They had not intended to land at Cuba at all. They were thrown in jail and then let out and escorted to the air port and sent home after 2-3 days and some Canadian Government intervention.

I have been there several times as as a regular tourist in the tourist areas and felt quite safe, nice people, However the country does work in mysterious ways.

I would not sail there as a Canadian and definately not as an American.

Gary
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Old 03-14-2008
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