It took 48 hours to cross the Yucatan Channel and arrive at the anchorage of Cayos de San Fielipe, and I only just made it before a dreaded northerly!
Paddling ashore I met with the three station guardians and asked whether it was OK to anchor here a while to shelter from the weather.
Not only was it fine, but I was immediately invited to share a meal, watch baseball on TV and converse. Quite a welcome and despite my rather elementary Spanish by late afternoon we were all fast friends.
The workers here are on ten day shifts and I happened to arrive on their last day. By morning the supply boat had arrived with the new crew and I went through the introductions a second time.
Only this time it seems my commodities and cash were the ones being openly welcomed to Cuba.
After the sincere generosity of the former station custodians, I was more than happy to hand over the few small items that the new crew requested: a lighter, some rope, cigarettes and coffee.
The next morning they visited Eileen by row-boat loaded with their catch of the day, offering what I thought would be a fair exchange for my previous handouts.
How naive… 10 US dollars later I was again on my way to Cayo Largo. My first contact with the locals having produced decidedly contrary feelings.
A Cuban Yin and Yang?