Had a terrific time on our first Rallies to Cuba event, which finished last week. Here are comments so far from some of the participants, all of whom are shown above with the bust of Ernest Hemingway:
Just wanted you to know how much we enjoyed the trip and the Cuba experience. First of all the journey across the Stream to Cuba was a bucket list event for me. I've sailed to the Bahamas several times but the north/south trek across the east/west stream was a different adventure and a stellar trip for us.
Next, the Cuba adventure and culture just can't be explained, it must be experienced. It would have been very difficult for me as a first time visitor to have had the contacts and the mobility know-how to see and do all that we did. I especially enjoyed the side trip to the interior of the island and the ability to visit some of the westerly and southern ports that I hope to visit by boat on a future trip when time restrictions diminish.
The contacts we made will be invaluable for a future trip. There is a certain comfort and value in having met cab drivers, interpreter, harbormaster, hostel owners, restaurants, and especially the Yacht Club Commodore. As we all noticed, Cuba is changing daily and I am glad we were able to get an early view of a Cuba that will perhaps be quite different two years from now.
Thanks again for your hard work and planning. It was a lifetime adventure.
--Captain Charlie Stewart. Pearson 424 One Eighty
I can't think of any other way to see Cuba. A cruise ship dumping 3000 people at a port, never!
One of those bus tours hurding people in and out of the government approved shops, restaurants and hotels. Again, not for me. A fancy all inclusive resort? They are the same everywhere.
We had the opportunity to see and interact with the real Cuba and real everyday people. From the marina staff, construction workers, restaurant owners and staff, Casa Particular owners and people on the street everyone was friendly, kind and helpful.
When you add in the guidance and attention to detail of Peter and Charlie, we had the perfect combination to get to know Cuba as it is today.
I can't fail to mention that all the meals, trips and activities that were included in the cost made this a very good value for money.
I would do it again whether I had a boat or not.
Keep me on your list!
--Steve Cammick, Roughwater 42 Loose Change
Just want to start off by saying that I just had the best trip of my lifetime. As you know, I have been to many places, including Japan, China, Argentina, and most Western European countries such as Spain, France, Ireland, England, Germany, Italy, Austria, Malta, as well as Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, etc.
None of those prior, fabulous vacations can top the experience that you, personally, enabled for me and my wife.
First, you made it available. Next, you had excellent trusted contacts that we could depend upon for information, help, and comraderie. Our teacher (professor, Maestro), Isabel, was excellent, intuitive, and willing to listen to our Spanish Language needs. You, also listened to our wants and desires and was very accommodating with schedule changes. You also took suggestions from the individuals in the group as to places, restaurants and sights.
You started us off with a surprising walk to Jaiminitos to the FUSTER artarea and then to a great first night dinner. It was a wonderful way for us all to meet and get to know each other.
Of course, we never could have gotten here without you making the arrangements at Marina Hemingway and the Club Nautico for our membership. The books, including the Cruising Guide to CUBA, CUBA Chart Book, the “Spanish for Cruisers,” and the Cuba book, all really helped to make this a great trip. I would never have known to obtain all of those publications, which were quite helpful.
Your tours and lunches were all above and beyond expectations. I feel like we really got a taste of CUBA as well as an opportunity to see all of the important sights and mingle with the Cubans.
We also had incredible flexibility to do things outside the group in order to explore Cuba on our own and totally observe the real Cuban Culture and meet the people.
I will be telling my friends and associates many stories about this trip siempre (forever). I CAN NEVER FORGET IT.
Thank you so very much for all of your personal help, guidance and direction as well as the encouragement to do this amazing boat trip on my own boat.
I will always keep you in my mind as a real true friend, as our friendship really did develop along the way.
--Bob Bush, Neptunus 70 Turangalila