At Cayo Innes de Soto we stayed for a few days while a blustery (30 knot) wind blew itself out. Each day we took a dinghy ride through the mangrove maze. At one spot we saw the remains of some sort of fishing weir. It had been built across the channel. I imagine at some point it was very effective in catching any fish that had the misfortune of swimming through the spot.
One day after we had set anchor we spied a small fishing boat chugging noisily towards us. We negotiated a price and they left with 4 fewer lobsters and 2 fewer fish than they had arrived with. There was a father, his two sons and a buddy on board, I asked if I could take a picture but was refused. The Captain indicated that they were not supposed to be consorting with us. We managed to figure out a few things he said but his Spanish was very different than we have encountered before and we had trouble understanding him.
We have been on the go for almost two weeks and we have no fresh fruit or vegetables on board. We thought we might be able to procure some in the town of La Fe, a very small place, which seems to be dedicated to fishing. Once we anchored the Gaurda called us on the radio and spouted increasingly frustrated demands at us over the radio. We tried as best we could to answer his questions but did not succeed. We went ashore in the dinghy, the book said we could, and were met two yards off shore by the head guy. He looked at our papers and then very patiently explained that international boats could not go here, there were no tourist accomodations, ( this was the Cuba we wanted to see) and we would not be allowed to come ashore. I told him we had no fruits and vegetables and that we wanted some very badly, no luck! To give him credit he did allow us to spend the night at anchor but demanded to know when we were going to leave and what time did we expect to get to our next anchorage. HUMFF!!
Barry was very disappointed we could not explore the town, I am sad there are not fresh veggies for supper and the town's school missed out on some new school supplies. Oh well, we amused ourselves by watching the antics of the local populace. A powered fishing boat came by, they have very old hand cranked diesel engines in their boats, somewhat similar to the boat below, but most of them have a cabin with a wooden roof built that offers some protection from the wind and waves.
Then the fellow who sternly told us we were not allowed ashore decided that he needed to dig a trench for boats to come up to the Gaurda post. A biggish tractor ground it's way through the shallows and a harrow on the back was dragged around a bit. Then the predictable happened and it got stuck! It looked pretty funny at a 30 degree angle, with it's huge back tire spinning in the mud. Well, bricks and pieces of cement were hauled out to it to try and give it some purchase, a large slab of wood was dragged out, at least an hour was spent working away at this. Finally anothe tractor showed up and after a bit of maneuvering it managed to pull the first one out. I am not sure whether the goal of the exercise was ever accomplished but we enjoyed the spectacle.
We are using the "Cruisng Guide to Cuba" written by Capt. Cheryl Barr, Volume 1, Varadero to Trinidad, published by Yacht Pilot in Nova Scotia. It has lots of great information, with way points to help you transit narrow passes and lots of information on what is available in the small towns covered by the book, as well as the flora and fauna in the area. We have heard the Nigel Calder's book is very good as well.
Cayo Innes de Soto 22*47.8' N X 083*46.9' W
Anchored in 4m of water, good holding in clay and mud.
Protection form north and east, open to the west.
Punta Alonso De Rojas 22*36.9' N X 084*07.6' W
Anchored in 4m of water, good holding once anchor set, it took three tries to set, lots of grass
Protection from north and east and south east, open to the west
Fishermen stopped by and we bought lobster and fish, no services
Cayo Rapado Grande 22*29.4' N X 084*19.7' W
Anchored in 3.5m of water up in the mangroves, anchor caught first try, good holding
Great protection only open to the west
All way points from cruising guide are spot on. Very helpful.
Ensenada de Anita 22*11.9' N X 084*25.3' W
Anchored in 3.5m of water, very good holding
Good protection from east and south, open to the southwest, protected but not well from north
No services, you need to have good light and use eyeball navigation to get in this anchorage
La Fe 22*02.3' N X 084*16.7' W
Anchored in 4m. of water, good holding
Good all around protection
Services not available. We were not allowed to go ashore, they let us anchor for the night.