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Unfortunately, on 5th January, we learned that we had to return to Canada, due to a family emergency.
Then we realized just how Third World Cuba is, and how they take a VERY different view of cruising sailors than they do of the normal tourist.
We were in the S coast, near the West End. The area is almost uninhabited, and it was impossible to leave the boat unattended. Cuban authorities would not let us leave without the boat, so we had to get it and ourselves back to the US. To complicate life, the coupling between our engine and propeller was failing, so we could not motor. Obtaining spares in Cuba takes weeks, even in the population centers.
Weather reports were discouraging, but we set off anyway, and ended up beating into a full gale for over 100 miles after rounding Cabo San Antonio (the extreme Western tip or Cuba). Sorry, no pictures. There was too much spray flying during the bad weather, and nothing to show during the good weather part.
We arrived in Key West, the nearest point in the US, without seeing another boat out in that weather. Once in Florida, it is was of course straightforward to leave a boat, and travel home.
We were frustrated in having to shorten the cruise so dramatically, and felt particularly bad about being forced to let down three groups of friends who has planned to join us from England, Alberta and Quebec. Once again, the "third world police-state" situation in Cuba exacerbated the problem, since one cannot just arrive in Cuba without pre-arranged accommodation.
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