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Caribbean Compass Sailing Magazine - March 2018

Welcome to Caribbean Compass, the most widely-read boating publication in the Caribbean! THE MOST NEWS YOU CAN USE - feature articles on cruising destinations, regattas, environment, events...

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— Continued from previous page Everything runs off El Prado, including many excellent restaurants and coffee shops. If you’re not in the mood to walk, horse-drawn buggies, less expensive coaches, and the usual multitude of taxis (with far fewer classic cars than Havana) are waiting. Punta Gorda, which extends south, also has some great architecture, the majority of new restaurants, and quite a few casas particulares — bed and breakfasts that hawkers on bicycles are constantly pushing. Cienfuegos has some history. Columbus supposedly sailed into the bay on his second voyage, in 1494. As soon as settlement began in 1738, the buccaneers attacked. The fort protecting the passage to the Caribbean, Castillo de Jagua, was built in 1742 to curtail the pillaging by pirates. This fort is well preserved and a big tourist attraction. There are two ferries to it, a large one (one CUC and close to an hour’s ride) and a smaller, faster one (half a CUC and 20 minutes). We rented a car at Cubacar for a reasonable CUC$57 (not payable by a US credit card, but they did take cash) and saw the countryside. The fort lies down a long road where the farmers were drying rice on one lane. We were sadly disappointed in the trip to the Botanical Gardens. There was little there to see for the three CUC entrance fee, except bush. We also learned that “self-serve” gas means exactly that. A local helped us, quickly Left: The 18th century Castillo de Jagua, declared a National Monument in 1978 and opened as a museum in 1998, provides a cannon’s-eye view of the entrance to the bay Below: A street in Cienfuegos’s city center is blocked to traffic to create a pedestrian mall MARCH 2018 CARIBBEAN COMPASS PAGE 22 erased the total and served himself to an extra ten dollars’ worth. All else aside, an afternoon spent lounging and sipping mojitos at Playa Rancho was worth the ride. Immigration wants to know where you are, so keep them informed of your vessel’s movements. Do not take anything for granted. We were informed that anchoring at some islands on the south coast is not permitted. Best to take your chart with you to the office when you choose to move, and get any “no go” areas pointed out. Get the proper paperwork. Cruising Cuba is novel fun.

Sailors leaving a message that one “was there” is a long tradition. Well before cruisers crossing the Atlantic painted on the seawall in the Azores, and “Kilroy was here” was popular with servicemen in the Pacific Theater of the Second World War, sailors were leaving their marks in various places. To this day, some of them can still be viewed. One such place is in Antigua, down in English Harbour. If you are taking the main road towards Nelson’s Dockyard, take the right turn, just by Grace’s place, which gives the alternate route towards Pigeon Beach and the Middle Ground trails. As you take the short road from the main road to the very sudden T-junction, there is an old water catchment there, surrounded by a low wall. This is your destination. Climb up into the catchment area, and walk to one of the walls that has lost some of the stone tiling, and you will find names and years etched into the soft parging (a thin coat of mortar) that remains underneath. These are the names of sailors, most likely young officers, who had visited this area on His Majesty’s Ships back in English Harbour’s heyday. The dates range from approximately the middle of the 1700s to the beginning of the 1800s. We had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Reginald Murphy, Antigua’s foremost historian, about some of the history of the area. While on a trip to England, he took the time to research a name, and found the corresponding paperwork to back up the etched-in graffiti. However, those who left their names here were the lucky ones. One of the other little known “features” of the area is that Galleon Beach is the burial spot of hundreds of colonial-era sailors and soldiers that succumbed to disease. During epidemics dozens would die each week, and would be dumped into large graves. To this day, bones will sometimes be unearthed by the elements or by people. Of course officers with more money would have a better burial, often in the hills of Shirley Heights, overlooking the Caribbean. Take a history walk around the old water catchment and Galleon Beach. If you do find artifacts of possible interest, please contact the staff of the Antigua National Parks so that they can be properly taken care of. Not far from the main road to Nelson’s Dockyard there is an old water catchment, surrounded by a low wall. This is your destination MESSAGES FROM THE PAST by Ken Goodings Antigua’s Historic Sailors’ Graffiti MARCH 2018 CARIBBEAN COMPASS PAGE 23 Below: In the early 18th century, the British Royal Navy recognized the strategic importance of English Harbour in protecting ships from hurricanes and in its position at the south of the island for monitoring French naval activity Below: In the catchment area you will find names and years etched into the soft parging

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