Marina Hemingway is not your average marina. It’s four long canals that run parallel to the north coast with side-on tie ups to concrete walls. Canal #1 is closest to the sea and is for indigents…actually, the marina says it is for long-term stays because it’s half price but, from our view right here, it’s full of mostly abandoned boats or sailboats with shredded sails that have dogged their way here from Miami thinking it’s cheaper to live in Cuba. There’s a sailboat here that’s been sitting in Canal#1 for 14 years; no fees have been paid but it’s still there floating. Five doors up is a half-sunken motorboat.
Canal #2 is where they put all the cruisers and Strathspey is tied up here. It’s a good football field east of the showers but on the north side of the canal so we only walk one side of that football field for our daily ablutions. Less fortunate boats assigned dockage on the south side of the canal must walk twice that distance to get to showers. So, here’s a head’s up…if you are planning to come to Marina Hemingway, it’s worth a bottle of rum ($5.80) to secure dockage on the north side of Canal #2. Canal #3 is less full and we have heard it is strictly for medical tourists here in Cuba for various treatments, most of whom are from Venezuela. Canal #4 is empty because there are basically no facilities there; no water, no power, nada.
Havana is available via a free shuttle bus from the resort next door into Viejo Havana. It’s a half-hour ride in an air-conditioned bus and a pretty easy way to get into the old city. Our first visit into the city we wander up and down Opisbo Street, dodging the 3000-odd tourists that were disgorged from a cruise ship in the harbour. We’ve never seen the old city this crowded. We take refuge at the Hotel Parque Central, a five-star hotel just north of Opisbo and are delighted to finally find wifi – something we haven’t had since December.
The small village next door to Marina Hemingway is Jiamanitas where we can buy a limited variety of fruit and vegetables every day from small carts in the streets. On Saturday mornings there is a big market with just about every Cuban vegetable and fruit you can think of, including quite a few odd looking ones that we can’t put a name to.
We often spend our afternoons in Havana Vieja wandering down side streets and exploring, listening to music in cafes and one time touring the Cuban Revolutionary Museum. It is housed in Batista’s presidential palace and front and center on our tour are the bullet holes displayed in the marble staircase; the aftermath of one of the coup attempts here in the capital. It’s hot here but there is usually a good breeze in the marina. We’re watching the weather for a good window back to the USA now. Each time a cold front reaches south we get northeast winds but when the front moves on the winds go east or southeast. For the past while those east and southeast winds have been just a little too high for an enjoyable trip back across the Gulf Stream so we enjoy Havana and wait for mild southeast winds to establish and then we’ll head north.