Friday, May 17, 2013

Tobago To Cuba And More

Tobago to Cuba

Saturday 13/04-2013

Departed Store Bay, Tobago yesterday afternoon. In Tobago, it was, as always, nice to encounter boats I had met along the way--Mare Liberum (Tonga) and Arctracer (St. Helena). The first night I was passed by a cargo vessel whose destination (as determined by AIS) was, coincidentally, Cienfuegos, Cuba. Sailing 15-20 miles west of Grenada I enjoyed the last few hours of FM radio for a few days as I sailed into the middle of The Caribbean Sea (the part with no islands).

Sunday 14/04-2013

Even when the seas are not big, one in every few hundred hits just right and goes straight into the cockpit, through the companionway (door), and hits me lying in my bunk.

Tuesday 16/04-2013

Around 1120 this AM, I was sitting inside, contemplating the last of my morning coffee, when I was hailed on the VHF radio by a “warship” (I think they said US warship, but no doubt where they were from). They wanted to know who I was, where I had come from, and where I was going. I contemplated lying, but decided against it and told them I was heading for Cienfuegos, Cuba. Thereafter followed a long pause, and I thought maybe I should’ve lied. In the end, I don’t think they care where I was going as long as I wasn’t smuggling a certain sub-set of mind-altering substances which have been deemed immoral.
I was partly glad as well as partly disappointed that they didn’t sent a zodiac (inflatable power boat) to board me (recalling Miles Hordern’s, Sailing The Pacific, where he describes being boarded just west of Panama and young navy personnel becoming seasick shorty after entering the cockpit of his small rolly boat, which is a Twister by the way. I would recommend this book even to non-Twister owners. It’s in the San Diego public library), as there was potential to cause some damage to my boat but also potential for amusement if they tried to enter my cockpit and cabin.

Thurs 18/04-2013

The first time you see a Boobie, the reason for the name becomes obvious. They are graceful when gliding over the water, but as soon as they see a boat they start acting silly. Just now, one was up to their usual antics, trying to land on my wildly swinging mast (approaching a boat is when they look their silliest--they cock their heads to one side and have this ridiculous expression somewhat reminiscent of a dog on hearing a strange sound). When he/she finally gave up, he flew about 50 meters downwind, landed directly in Twister’s path, and had to take flight about 20 seconds later to avoid being run down.

Today it is two years since Twister departed San Diego.

Friday 19/04-2013

Middle of The Jamaica Channel—45 miles to Haiti, 55 miles to Jamaica, 115 miles to Guantanamo Bay.

Sunday 21/04-2013

Land Ho! Spotted Cabo Cruz (Granma Province--interesting story on where that name comes from, by the way) this morning. Still 220 miles to Cienfuegos. Can now hear both Cuban and Jamaican FM radio.

Tuesday 23/04-2013

Arrived Cienfuegos, Cuba after an 11-day passage. Entering the narrow channel into the large Bay of Cienfuegos, one is greeted by a sign saying, “Welcome To Socialist Cuba.”

The check-in with officials was more or less as expected from my reading. I lost track of all the different officials I had to pay, but it cost me around $60 in total and another $15 for three days of anchoring.

These days, foreign boats have to tie up to Marinas or anchor next to them if they want to go ashore. Cuban people are not allowed aboard, and if I understood correctly, foreigners are not allowed in Cuban’s homes (It is permitted to anchor in remote places where no people live), so that does put a damper on things.

Friday 26/04-2013
After two and one half days in Cienfugeos, the forecast looked good for the passage to Havana (or more precisely, Marina Hemingway about 9 miles west of the city).

Wednesday 01/05-2013

The ca 500 miles passage from Cienfuegos to Marina Hemingway took 5 and one half days. Only one day with more than 100 miles sailed. The last couple of days after rounding Cabo San Antonio were spent chasing land and sea breezes, fighting the west-flowing current near the coast, and finally enjoying a little boost from the Gulf Stream as I tacked offshore (north) to get out of the counter current.
I arrived Marina Hemingway the evening of the 1st of May, the International Workers’ Day, which I guess is a big deal around here. I had hoped to be in Havana for the festivities. Unfortunately I arrived in the evening, I was a bit tired from the passage, and finally I had no usable money, so a trip to town was not in the cards.

A strange thing happened last night as I was sailing northeast (not making much progress towards Havana, but approaching the Gulf Stream which would help)—A ship called “America Feeder” (thanks again, AIS) was overtaking me from the southwest. One of the data one can sometimes see with AIS is the ship’s destination. This one was apparently bound for Miami, Florida which was consistent with its heading. But then as the ship was perhaps a mile to my northwest, it made a U-turn and started heading southwest. Before the maneuver was complete, I was afraid I would be run down as at one point I could see the ship’s red and green navigation lights, which means I’m looking at the bow. Anyway, the ship sailed off into to the southwest. Sometime the next morning, I saw the same ship, this time ~8 miles to my north, repeat the same maneuver. US spy ship?

Friday 03/05-2013

My friends Bridget and Elena arrived today. After enjoying a celebratory cocktail in the cockpit (that just sounds obscene, doesn't it?) we walked over to the immigration office to let them know that two new crewmembers would be sailing on SV Twister from Havana. 

Monday 13/05-2013
 we arrived Goodland (Marco Island), Florida Monday the 13th of May (if my memory is reliable). More to come about Cuba and the passage to Florida.


  1. I'm glad to hear from you. A certain someone (read my hubby) was a bit worried about the lack of news from you. He had already told me that if you were to be dead, we were naming the baby Lars Henrik. A Norwegian first name, with a Spanish middle name, and a Slavic last name would have made for an interesting, yet confusing, combination. :)

    Hasta pronto,

  2. Gratulerer mex dagen, til deg og Norge! Håper du hadde ein fin 40-årsdag. Hugsar da vi feira i '92 i Tulsa. Det er alltid vanskelig å vere utanfor Norge på sjølve dagen. Skal du virkelig vere 5 mnd i Norge f.o.m. august? Eg skal kanskje vere t.o.m. 1. Veke i aug men er ikkje sikker på dato enno,