April 3, 2019 – Having assembled a group of 8 like-minded friends and family and filed the requisite Coast Guard form for a visit to Cuba we found out that our insurance did not cover us for entering Cuban waters. Unable to come up with additional coverage (the Lloyds marine insurance market has narrowed considerably following many years of losses from a series of hurricanes) we “audibled” to a cruise from North Palm Beach down to Key West combined with a flight from Key West via Miami to Havana to stay at an Air BnB house in Miramar, a suburb of Havana. A straight flight from Ft. Lauderdale would have been much quicker and cheaper, but a lot less fun.
After scrambling to get critical work completed, Emmanou left for Ft. Lauderdale, with Andy Marriott (old buddy from The Hague days) on board for an all-day inside run through 20 bridges that had to be timed to coincide with scheduled openings, and past fancy and at times appallingly gaudy Florida waterfront homes. In Ft. Lauderdale, Tony and brother-in-law Andy Corcoran joined us for the rest of the trip. Andy C had promised female companionship but failed to deliver.
Next leg was an inside run to Miami for an anchorage behind Fisher Island (where we discovered our newly installed 400’ of anchor chain was of the wrong size leading to much chain jumping in the windlass gipsy wheel) and a night out in South Beach. Weather offshore had subsided to allow us to proceed outside to join Jim and Margaret’s Mimi at an anchorage by Tavernier Cay followed by a run to Marathon Marina and then Stock Island Marina in Key West. After visiting the Southernmost point in the US at the end of Duval Street and the birthplace of the Sloppy Joe in Key West, we flew to Cuba. 35 minutes after leaving Kew West we were flying over Miami – a trip which took three days the other way by boat. Andy Marriot managed to leave his Tetley’s teabags in Miami airport.