Sunday, April 29, 2007

April sun in Cuba

Laura in Santiago


We rode 40km´s like this to save $4

AM in Santiago

More Baracoa

Lunch with our Cuban buddy´s
Cuba was awsome. Honestly just like stepping back in time, really nothing like it. Since we only had a bit over a week we decided to miss Havana and spend our time on the eastern side.We spent a day in Santiago de Cuba and the rest of the time in a small beach town called Baracoa - was good to get out of the city and we had such a good time in the bush and on the beach.
It would probably be boring to read about the differences between their socialist system and the western world - The people have a good standard of living and meet all basic needs, but i think (certainly the younger generation) all crave the freedom to travel and make their own decisions.
Cuba wasn´t all beer and skittles though. Customs gave me a very thorough search as we arrived and after finding my 2nd passport, boat papers and no clothes in my bag, a bit of medication in a ziplock bag was too much and they thought it was cocaine. For nearly 2 hours they sat me down and grilled me about the lozenges (losec for stomach acid) and about the boat and our trip - they also went hard questioning Paul and Laura and making sure our stories lined up. They did some sort of crap test tube test on the losec which made the stuff change colour, and despite the fact that the dogs weren´t remotely interested every customs person in the airport was. Was pretty hard out, sweating in the airport trying to understand all the Spanish. Eventually after a few forms and discussions they said they´d send it to a lab and let us go.
A week later when we went to leave i was hit up at imigration again. They separetly interigated the 3 of us and after 10minutes of more small talk a smiling Cuban customs woman asked ´where did you get the cocaine?´. They said that the lab test had come back with a +ve result, lying pricks. I´d be surprised if they even sent it out of the airport. Was all pretty intense and i really figured i´d be sorting it out from an embasy somewhere with Paul and Laura hopefully back in the DR. Eventually they gave up and figured we were telling the truth and let me on the plane, happy days. MUCHAS GRACIAS, ADIOS.
Was quite a trip but so happy to be back on the boat - next stop Puerto Rico, hopefully get a weather window this week as we really need to get moving and get the boat ready for the Atlantic.

Santo Domingo

Swimming outside the airport after we missed our flights

Colonial Santo Domingo

We left Luperon for the Capital of the DR, Santo Domingo to fly to Cuba. Pretty cool place, was the first city built after Columbus discovered the new world (although much poorer and we were fully worked by the locals).

We missed our flights (standard) and ended up staying another night in a little beach town out of the city called Boca Chica. After getting ripped off continuously by taxi´s and your never ending list of new best friends (pretty standard in the DR) somebody really made the most of the 3 gringo´s. We had 2 drinks each on a beach side bar and got charged over $100US (drinks are normally $1-2 here) - and to top it off they pick pocketed all our money, pricks. We did end up meeting a nice Italian man who seemed to fancy Laura and bought us breakfast, lunch and dinner as he felt sorry for us - funny how these things work out?!
Managed to get a flight to Santiago de Cuba rather than Havana the next day and we were out of there.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Turks & Caicos to the Dominican Republic

The Bruyn in Luperon

Now a word from our sponsers (Thanks footy and Mitch!)

Big Sand Key at the turks

End of winter party at Cabarate

The DR....

More Dolphin fish on the way to the Turks

The crew in Cabarate

We had a few crew changes in Matthew Town Great Inagua - Capt Paul returned with Jas, and we traded George for Laura. Was great sailing with George, (the boat has never been as clean!) good crew and company we had a ball.

From Matthew town we sailed 160miles to cover only 90, was 25-30 knot winds directly from where we were heading the whole time. The boat handled it well, only we realised how much water we take on board in these conditions and also broke our only fresh water tap when something fell on top of it.

The turks were fun but really commercial and developed - not really suited for young cruisers or dutch/kiwi Bruyn brother budget. Next stop Luperon.

Our sail here was funny. We sailed down with a few other boats, only we kicked their ass's and ended up hoving to and even sailing backwards for a bit to let them catch up.

The DR is amazing. Really mountainous and has so much more culture than the Bahama's. We've had alot of fun, went to the Kite surfing meca Cabarate for easter weekend - honestly 10's of 000's partying on the beach. Really wild, like a NZ New years party with a Big Day Out crowd, pretty cool to see. Presedante' beers are cheap and good, happy days!

Jas has left now so its just the 3 of us. Its really good having Laura aboard, i'm sure it soften's the touch on the boat and her fluent Spanish is a big help with us struggling Kiwi's! We're all having alot of fun.

Hopefully we can get a flight to Cuba for a quick visit, then at this stage (seems to change every day) we'll head to Puerto Rico to restock and then onto our Atlantic crossing to the Azores about mid May.

ADios, Jon and Paul