Cuba in my sights - Page 11 - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
 Not a Member? 


Like Tree8Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #101  
Old 05-06-2012
Canuck Sailor
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Georgian Bay, Canada
Posts: 247
Thanks: 0
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 9
canucksailorguy is on a distinguished road
Send a message via Skype™ to canucksailorguy
Re: Cuba in my sights

Lots of entertaining replies here. Lots of people who don't know what they're talking about, and a few, such as Jon, who are quite knowledgeable.
Someone referenced the SAIL magazine article - that was me. I also did the Cruising Cuba seminars at the recent Cruisiers U in Annapolis.
There are legal ways to go to Cuba - a general license is one of them, for charitable and other reasons. Whoever said go and write an article is clueless - you have to be an accredited journo to get that permission.
If you want to do a philanthropic trip, that's do-able. One American gal I know brought over about 20 bicycles on her ketch for use in the St. Patrick's day parade in Havana (don't ask, it's a loooong story), then donated them to a local church. She had permission to go.
Alternatively, as someone noted, going through the Bahamas, then returning either far to the north, or continuing on through the Caribbean, also works. Is it legal? No. Will you get caught? Highly unlikely. Should you do it? Your choice, I'm not advising you that way.
Some specific remarks - Cuba does NOT stamp your passport. Being Canadian, I had to ask them to stamp mine, which they did.
Canadians don't require the health insurance because of our government health insurance. Everyone else that I'm aware of does. It's between $2 and $3 a day.
Bring American funds - they'll be exchanged for tourist pesos at a 13% discount. Buy some local pesos for the farmers' markets and other non-tourist places.
It is VERY rare to have the bite put on you by Cuban gov't officials, although it is starting to happen in Hemingway. If I find out you paid a bribe there, I'll personally ream your butt with a rusty wire brush - it makes it tough on the rest of us. If you refuse to pay, the issue goes away without rancor. The officials know better, but they see friends working in the tourist business getting rich from tips, and they want their piece of that action.
For charts, contact Bluewater Charts out of Lauderdale - they will either provide you with copies of the official Cuban chartbooks, or the new NV chart series. Make sure you have Calder's guide, it's indispensable.
Someone at my last seminar asked 'why go to Cuba rather than elsewhere in the Caribbean, given there's so much hassle?' A good question - and the answer is because there is NO place like Cuba. It's simply wonderful, even with all it's faults and rough spots. Superb cruising, wonderful people, beautiful scenery.
Anyone with specific questions is welcome to pm or email me directly.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #102  
Old 05-06-2012
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
Posts: 9,291
Thanks: 10
Thanked 148 Times in 134 Posts
Rep Power: 6
Minnewaska will become famous soon enough Minnewaska will become famous soon enough
Re: Cuba in my sights

Quote:
Originally Posted by canucksailorguy View Post
....There are legal ways to go to Cuba - a general license is one of them, for charitable and other reasons....
Quote:
Alternatively, as someone noted, going through the Bahamas, then returning either far to the north, or continuing on through the Caribbean, also works. Is it legal? No. Will you get caught? Highly unlikely.......
So, please quote your experience with getting any number of US citizens a general license.

Each time you weigh on this, you seem to ultimately tease illegal activity. The last time you engaged in this subject, you seemed to try to say it was legal to accompany a Canadian citizen, as long as they paid for everything (even if they didn't) as I recall.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Jeanneau 54DS

In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #103  
Old 05-07-2012
Canuck Sailor
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Georgian Bay, Canada
Posts: 247
Thanks: 0
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 9
canucksailorguy is on a distinguished road
Send a message via Skype™ to canucksailorguy
Re: Cuba in my sights

Minnewaska, you have a decidedly political take on this issue - something more evident this time around from what I've seen of your comments on this issue in this thread. Cuba, for me, is not a political issue, which is not to say that I don't have an opinion regarding that aspect of cruising Cuba.
My understanding of your laws is that it is legal for an American to go to Cuba provided they do not spend money. Going as the guest of a Canadian or other non-American satisfies that requirement.
The difficulty would lie in proving to your authorities you didn't spend money. I've not experienced that with anyone I know, nor do I expect to, but I would be most interested in hearing from someone who has, and learning what came of it. Thus far, no one has come forward with that story.
As for my experience in getting someone a general license - that's not something I can, or need to, do. That's between the American concerned and your government. I couldn't possibly have any influence on the outcome - so your comment is entirely pointless and is, in fact, provocative.
If you want to pick a fight, find someone else please.
As for illegal activity, I see American boats from 27 footers to megayachts in Hemingway and Veradero every time I go. I have photos, which I won't reproduce so as not to cause difficulties, but as was noted in this thread, someone from the American Interests section out of the Swiss embassy walks the docks at Hemingway regularly and knows full well what's going on. The fact is, with very few exceptions, they simply don't care. If they did, you'd hear about a lot more seizures and prosecutions. Tell me, are you able to name even one boat seized by the US for traveling to Cuba? I thought not, because I just searched and couldn't find one.
Americans are going, illegally, to Cuba all the time. The last figure I heard quoted that I trust was 40,000 annually, going through a third country. Some estimates are over 100,000 per year.
Here, from the State Department, is a short summary of the situation as it concerns mariners:
Quote:
Cuban territorial waters are extremely dangerous and difficult to navigate, even for experienced mariners. The potential for running aground is very high and the bottom type is unforgiving. Search and rescue capability in Cuba is limited and running aground will often lead to the complete destruction and loss of the vessel. U.S. boaters who enter Cuban waters (legitimately or illegitimately) have encountered problems that required repairs and/or salvage; costs for both are significantly higher than comparable services in the United States or elsewhere in the Caribbean. In addition, the Government of Cuba does not allow the use of the U.S. dollar for transactions and U.S. credit cards are not accepted in Cuba. Cuban authorities typically hold boats as collateral payment. U.S.-registered/flagged vessels belonging to U.S. citizens have been permanently seized by Cuban authorities. Due to the lack of resources, the quality of repairs in Cuba is inconsistent. Repairs take significantly longer in Cuba than they would in the United States due to lack of the most basic materials and to bureaucratic impediments. Boaters are often confined to their boats while repairs are made. Boaters can be detained while Cuban authorities investigate the circumstances of their entry to Cuba, especially if their travel documents are not in order or they are suspected of illegal activities. Mariners and their passengers should not navigate close to Cuban territorial waters without possessing a valid passport, unless seeking a safe port due to emergencies. The ability of the U.S. Interests Section to assist mariners in distress is extremely limited due to current limitations on travel by U.S. personnel outside of Havana. Notifying the U.S. Interests Section, regardless of legitimately or illegitimately entering Cuban territorial seas is the most reliable way to obtain assistance.

The transfer of funds from the United States to Cuba to pay for boat repair and salvage is subject to restrictions codified in U.S. law relating to commercial transactions with the Government of Cuba. A Department of the Treasury license is required for such payments and applicants should be prepared to provide documentary evidence demonstrating the emergency nature of the repairs. U.S. credit or debit cards, personal checks, and travelers’ checks cannot be used in Cuba so boaters should be prepared to pay for all transactions in cash. It is difficult to transfer money to Cuba and travelers have frequently been required to spend several hundred dollars for transportation to Havana to receive transferred funds.
The above information came from http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_p.../cis_1097.html. That page also includes the various general license categories with which one can travel legally to Cuba.
Most of what is there is accurate - a bit of it isn't quite how it really works, but that's to be expected. For example, navigating Cuban waters isn't nearly as tough as they make it sound.
If you really want to go, legally, get together with your church and set something up that benefits the Cuban people with your church as the sponsor. Arrange it around your boat if you want to sail there. Or take one of the people to people tours Obama authorized a few months ago.

Last edited by canucksailorguy; 05-07-2012 at 12:30 AM. Reason: minor corrections
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #104  
Old 05-07-2012
Canuck Sailor
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Georgian Bay, Canada
Posts: 247
Thanks: 0
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 9
canucksailorguy is on a distinguished road
Send a message via Skype™ to canucksailorguy
Re: Cuba in my sights

Some further remarks in response to earlier comments in this thread -
Quote:
When you travel to and spend money in Cuba, you are helping fund a government that has attempted to install missiles aimed at your family. By all indications, if we hadn't muscled them out, they would do it again.
Uh....I believe that was about, oh, 50 years ago and they needed the USSR, which no longer exists, to do this. Isn't it time to give up the past?
Quote:
Oh, and to your question about seeing the interior of the island -- could you do it? Maybe. You'd probably need to get Cuban government permission to do so, and would be under close supervision and "minded" very carefully. What could happen if you just went on your own without Cuban government permission? Detention, expulsion, and probable loss of your vessel to the Cuban government. Again, a fairly high risk endeavor.
Yes, you can tour the island. You rent a car, or take your bike on a bus, staying at casa particularas - sort of like our bed and breakfasts. There is no problem, there is NO supervision of any sort. There is no detention, expulsion or loss of your vessel to the Cubans for traveling through the interior. Risk level is zero. Zero. Let me repeat that - zero.
That post is a prime example of someone who has NO idea what he's talking about, has never been there, but has to sound off and waste our time in reading his remarks - all while contributing to the furtherance of myths and hyperbole that makes up the discussions of many Americans about Cuba.
Rule #1 - if you don't know what you're talking about - try listening to those who do.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #105  
Old 05-07-2012
JordanH's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 324
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 6
JordanH is on a distinguished road
Re: Cuba in my sights

Quote:
Originally Posted by canucksailorguy View Post
Some specific remarks - Cuba does NOT stamp your passport. Being Canadian, I had to ask them to stamp mine, which they did.
That is the opposite of my experience visiting Cuba. The default was to stamp my passport but gave me the option to decline.

Quote:
Originally Posted by canucksailorguy View Post
It is VERY rare to have the bite put on you by Cuban gov't officials, although it is starting to happen in Hemingway.
This is also the opposite of my experience, albeit I've never been to Hemmingway, nor entered by boat.
The 'scam' at Cayo Coco was that they held a few suit cases in the back of the airport until the majority of our plane passengers departed. Those suit cases 'accidentally' held back were given an extra slow examination with us at a table. The customs officer asked us what each item in the suitcase was and when he found some Ferrero Roche chocolates, my wife offered him one. He took the whole box, folded up her suitcase and let us go while the other passengers took a LOT longer to be processed. My wife had sincerely just offered him one chocolate as a polite (naive?) Canadian and was shocked that he understood it as a bribe for the whole box... I laughed out loud as I looked on from a distance.

On the whole, I wouldn't expect that is the normal, but I don't think I would call it rare. We found that tips/gifts/bribes/currency were the norm in dealing with anyone in the tourist line of fire.

I'm sure our experiences vary so one broad statement won't cover everyone.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #106  
Old 05-07-2012
Canuck Sailor
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Georgian Bay, Canada
Posts: 247
Thanks: 0
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 9
canucksailorguy is on a distinguished road
Send a message via Skype™ to canucksailorguy
Re: Cuba in my sights

Jordan, that's interesting you experienced those things. That's the first time I've heard of this. From the mariner's side of things, it's very rare. I've had one 'hint' which was easily ignored and not pushed, and one outright request, which I've mentioned - that was in Hemingway. My experience parallels that of other boaters.
As for the passport thing, I suspect it's because you, as a Canadian tourist, are clearly not going to or through the US and the stamp isn't an issue. Again, for mariners, the issue is that the boat may be going on to the States, where the stamp would create a problem. It's interesting to see these differences in procedure, since I've not gone to Cuba other than by boat.
Did they give you a tarjeta, a small card, when you arrived?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #107  
Old 05-07-2012
PorFin's Avatar
Señor Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,340
Thanks: 1
Thanked 8 Times in 8 Posts
Rep Power: 8
PorFin is on a distinguished road
Re: Cuba in my sights

Canuck -- That was my response you qouted, and then you went out on a limb and said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by canucksailorguy View Post
.
That post is a prime example of someone who has NO idea what he's talking about, has never been there, but has to sound off and waste our time in reading his remarks - all while contributing to the furtherance of myths and hyperbole that makes up the discussions of many Americans about Cuba.
Rule #1 - if you don't know what you're talking about - try listening to those who do.
In response I'll simply say that you are in fact wrong. I lived in Havana whether you care to believe it or not. Makes no difference to me. I also accept that you don't agree with me, and that's OK.

What does make a difference to me is that you have accused me of being a liar. That pisses me off.

Let's take a more critical look; you may want to get a mirror out for this next part.

My experiences as an American undoubtedly differed from yours as a Canadian. Since I was living there under diplomatic auspices, I am certain that I was subjected to closer scrutiny and attention than your average US Joe sneaking in in contravention of the US restrictions. We were restricted to the greater Havana area, and requests to go beyond that area were routinely denied. I can admit that my opinions may have been swayed by this constrained state and not fit every situation.

Having said that, you also cannot claim to know what it's like to be an American there. You admittedly have only arrived by boat, so you know nothing of the things that happen at customs and immigration checkpoints at the airports.

My assessment of the possible risks to Americans, arriving by boat and then exploring the hinterland, is based on admittedly a worst case situation (hence the term "possible.") It is, however, based on the outcome of a real event that happened when I was there and others before/since my time.

And as long as we're picking nits, I'll correct one of your earlier comments. Anyone trying to contact the US Interests Section at the Swiss Embassy is going to be disappointed -- it isn't there. This is a commonly held misconception that -- gasp -- "contributes to the furtherance of myths," which you seem to find objectionable.

Last edited by PorFin; 05-07-2012 at 11:47 AM.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #108  
Old 05-07-2012
Canuck Sailor
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Georgian Bay, Canada
Posts: 247
Thanks: 0
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 9
canucksailorguy is on a distinguished road
Send a message via Skype™ to canucksailorguy
Re: Cuba in my sights

Yes, your experiences would be vastly different given your circumstances in Havana, and most decidedly, you would have been under greater scrutiny - but why would you not be aware of how the rest of us non diplomatic folk are treated, i.e. as in being permitted to roam the country. What would lead you to presume that non-diplomatic types would be treated the same?
I didn't mean to infer that you were lying and I apologize for that - but I've seen so many nonsense responses on this topic, it's fairly easy to get my favourite exercise of jumping to conclusions by stating that someone has no idea what they're talking about. Porfin, had you made it clear you'd lived in Havana under diplomatic auspices, that would have led to an entirely different response because the facts would be subject to a different interpretation.
The story you mention - in your second last para - it would be interesting to hear the details of it. Also - I have not heard of, or been able to find on the internet - any tales of Americans losing their boats or experiencing serious problems with Cuba - Alan Gross being excepted for obvious reasons. I think there's one guy who seriously grounded his boat and lost it some years ago, but I've not been able to find details and I'm not even sure he was American. I've heard worse tales about Mexican marinas.
Finally, for the benefit of all - where IS the US Interests Section in Havana? I've never been, but the understanding of all is that it was in the Swiss embassy. Since you have greater knowledge of this aspect of the discussion, it would be beneficial to the discussion to have you weigh in on them.
As for what it's like to be an American there - other than those in circumstances such as yours, my understanding is that they are treated no differently than any other foreigner - other than perhaps a bit more friendly curiosity from the locals they meet.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #109  
Old 05-07-2012
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
Posts: 9,291
Thanks: 10
Thanked 148 Times in 134 Posts
Rep Power: 6
Minnewaska will become famous soon enough Minnewaska will become famous soon enough
Re: Cuba in my sights

Where in the world do you get politics in my stance? Illegal is illegal. You continue to provoke US citizens to break the law, because so many already do and get away with it, even if you don't directly suggest it. Exactly how many of our laws should that logic apply to? " Don't steal that, but many people do, so if you want to steal it, you'll probably get away with it..............."

If you interpreted my comments on the genesis of the embargo to be political, you've misread me. We've had some of the most conservative and liberal Presidents since the embargo began and no one has rolled it fully back. Logically, not politically, there is more to it than meets the eye.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Jeanneau 54DS

In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #110  
Old 05-07-2012
PorFin's Avatar
Señor Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,340
Thanks: 1
Thanked 8 Times in 8 Posts
Rep Power: 8
PorFin is on a distinguished road
Re: Cuba in my sights

My opinions about how non-diplomatic folks are treated are based on discussions I had with them at various gatherings (primarily informal "happy hours" at the Canadian embassy and parties at the Marine House.)

The US mission (USINT) is located at the intersection of the Malecon, calle L and Calzada (immediately west of the Marti statue, and a few hundred meters west of the Hotel Nacional.) It's pretty hard to miss. Although it's a pretty ugly building (austere and utilitarian,) it ain't nearly as ugly as the Russian Embassy.

The case I cited was of a US guy trying to live out Buffett's "Havana Daydreaming," leaving an ex-wife and unpaid child support in the States. I related it in another thread. Long story short, he wound up getting deported and was forced to leave his boat behind. We did what we could to keep it from sinking at the dock, but when I left for good some three months later it was still there.

Don't get me wrong, in my heart of hearts I don't think the Cuban government has any interest in or desire to start confiscating pleasure boats. They really have little use for them, and as we all know boats are a resource draining asset. It's not like they are going to start selling them to the locals, right?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ocean voyage over, book written, now sights are set on flight - MaineToday.com NewsReader News Feeds 0 07-30-2007 02:15 AM
O?Connell sets sights on Jumeirah crown (Khaleej Times) NewsReader News Feeds 0 01-24-2007 12:15 AM
Sailing: British sailors set sights on gold (Guardian Unlimited) NewsReader News Feeds 0 08-30-2006 02:15 PM
Sights set on tourney (San Angelo Standard-Times) NewsReader News Feeds 0 06-23-2006 04:17 AM
Mills sets sights on gold @ $$$ The Daily Sail $$$ NewsReader News Feeds 0 04-10-2006 07:18 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:35 AM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.