Sunday, 12 March 2017

Good bye Jamiaca, Cuba's next

Well, everyone's gone home now except for me. My birthday celebrations were a great success but now it's time to move on. Montego Bay Yacht Club is indeed very pleasant and the staff are very courteous and helpful but it is hideously expensive. Dockage fees are 1.25 USD per foot per night and on top of that use of the club facilities costs 10 USD per person per day. I might have mentioned that already, if so it underlines my grumpiness about the whole situation here. I've been here 13 nights some of them with Mick, others I have spent away with the family at a friend's house and I estimate that the bill will be almost 500 USD. Unless you're loaded it's just not worth it. Montego Bay is the rip-off capital of Jamaica. It's really difficult to like a place when you feel you are constantly being ripped off but that I'm afraid is what our stay in Montego Bay has been like. There have of course been good experiences but if it were not for our family connections here in Jamaica I would not have come here. There must be huge amounts of investment coming in, given the level of tourist development that is in evidence, but the locals seem as impoverished as they did 30 years ago when I was last here.

Anyway, enough moaning. I've spent the last couple of days doing odd jobs around the boat (reinforcing the companionway hatch runners and washboard channels with extra screws, checking Angus and oiling him, oiling the cockpit sole woodwork, lubricating the engine throttle/gear lever mechanism, filling water containers and stowing the anchor and generally tidying up and getting ready for the short passage to Cuba. Mind you it may be some days before I am officially checked in at Cienfuegos. The winds are OK tomorrow but then fickle for at least 24 hours so I plan to anchor off Cabo Cruz to wait for the winds to settle down, The distance will be much the same as it is from here but by anchoring for 0$, I'll be saving myself $20 US a night compared to the price I'm paying for a private mooring here in Mobay.

Tomorrow morning I need to clear with Customs and Immigration, fill up my fuel jerry cans and then finally stow the dinghy and outboard motor. I expect to leave around 1300 local time (1800 GMT) and expect to be off Cabo Cruz around the same time on Tuesday, when, if the forecast is correct the winds will die. The winds should from the north early Wednesday morning when I will set off once again.

Tonight I have treated myself to a steak and chocolate pudding at the Yacht Club. I've got no fresh meat on board and do not expect to see any until Cienfuegos at the earliest. I have however got loads (too much) of fresh Jamaican fruit and vegetables - one of the Jamaican positives I have neglected to mention until now; as was the proposal of marriage I received from the stall-holder in the market!