Caribbean Dreams – Lonely Islands, Lobster, Lagerfeuer

In the harbour of Cienfuegos I met the Swedish Captn Fredrik and his crew of the sailing yacht “Fairwinds“. A young group of seven cool travellers who sail around  the Carribean Islands on the 57feet steel ketch. Their next trip leads to Jamaica and they will leave the next morning. Fredrik offers to queeze me in for this trip. I look forward to enjoy sailing and fishing between the keys of Cuba.

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Mauro, Richard, Rachel and I celebrate the last day of our Cuba trip and the last evening we spend together. Mauro und Richard travel together to Habana and Rachel takes a Camion back to Santiago, where she participates in a photography project.

After the Cuban officials checked the boat and all the passports were back on board, we head out the Bay of Cienfuegos. We set sails while the sun disappears behind the horizon and Fredrik explains the plan for the watch shifts. On this boat manual labour is needed. There is no autopilot and we all have to take turns in hand steering the long and heavy vessel. It is fun and feels good to have a purpose standing behind the helm in the cockpit.

The first anchorage lays between reefs in which we exspect many Lobsters. Scuba diving equipment, snorkels, diving masks, fins and gloves are quickly loaded into the dinghy. Off we go! Anchoring the little rubber boat in the shallow water above the reef we spread out. Nixon from Tasmania freedives around a little rock-island and hunts snapper fishs with his speargun. Most of the people out try to catch some lobsters hiding under the rocks. One to three meters under the surface large rock piles and beautifull coral formations cover the sandy bottom. Fredrik shows me the top spots and how to pick the lobsters out of their hiding caves. There are so many of them in the water, that I dont feel bad about the ones we catch for our dinner.

Sailing on we come to a small sandy mangrove island. Nobody lives here, except millions of starving mosquitos. Two dinghy rides transport food, drinks, plates, pans and the whole crew over to the beach. We gather all the wood we can find between the mangrove bushes and start a fire. The catch of the day is lobster! A big steel pan sits in the fire, full of in butter fryed lobsters for everyone. We enjoy the sound of little waves crashing onto the sand and the delicious meal provided by the sea.

Every day somebody else is responsible for the cooking and there is also a plan who has to do the dishes. It is fun to cook for a crew of eight people and there is always fresh fish on the menu. Three fishing rods pull bright lures behind the boat and we catch all kinds of different fish. Snappers, Tunas, Maquerels and many Baracudas fancy the colorfull baits.

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Nixon (left) and Christian the Traveller presenting a Snapper – everybody on this boat is crazy about fishing

In a protected bay we anchor close to some Cuban shrimp fishing trawlers. We swimm over to one and the nice fishermen show us around their boat. It is very clean and the boat is kept in great shape. We are impressed! For a bottle of rum they trade us a basket full of fresh shrimp and little fish they had caught in the night.

Before swimming back to the boat we asked if we could jump of the high side arms which are used to pull the net through the water. The old fisherman agrees and says: “Ay mi madre!” while we climb up on the metall bars.

Another night of good sailing and winds of 20-25 knots bring us safely to the bay of Port Antonio, Jamaica. A beautifull scenery builds up on the coast of the vulcanic island the closer we get. Parting the calm, clear water the boat enters the bay. Coconut palms cover the steep green mountains surrounding these sheltered waters. Another little Paradise.

 

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