Monday, May 27, 2013

Isla de Juventud, back and forth (03.05.2013 ‐ 07.05.2013)

Having read that the best diving is supposed to be on the Isla de Juventud, I decided to spend the rest of my days till my buddy arrives there. After a short night in a grubby casa in Habana I took the bus and ferry to the island. As all the dive spots are on the other side of the island, I had to stay in the hotel there. At least I got a nice huge bungalow with a clean bath and proper water pressure ;)

The first day there was too much wind to go diving so I got to know the other six hotel guests, a group from Brazil. The next day a swiss couple arrived and we could go diving, which was okay, not super great but okay. So we were 9 hotel guests for probably three times as many staff and around 100 rooms and bungalows.
As Jonas and his five girls would fly to Habana and I hoped also to find a place on the plane there was no more diving. When we arrived at the tiny airport the security dude told me the airplane was full and if I wanted to fly the next morning at 7 I had to buy a ticket in the tourist office wich was all ready closed and would open at 8 in the morning... Which was probably full as well as the plane only cost little more than the ferry/bus combo.

Having met a german couple on the way to the island and again on the beach, they told me to go draw a number for the ferry. Thats how I ended up at 5:30 in the morning the next day in a stuffy hall with my tiny paper and the number 547. They would start at 238 this morning and counting up till the boat was full. But today there were only 20 places left! The rest of the 200 places were booked up 3 months in advance.

As everybody just kept sitting, I waited also and around 9am they decided there would be another boat the next day! Again they were counting up numbers, but luckily many hadn’t showed up or given up earlier. The last call was for numbers till 560 so I barely made it on the boat. It only took me six hours to buy me a ticket to leave the island...

The rest of the day I spent on the beach and drank the best mojito (and also one of the cheapest, 1.50CHF/US$) so far. Actually I drank several of them and the barkeeper kept coming over with the bottle to fill the glas again =)

So again, I got up early the next day (with a little hangover) and thought I would maybe even make it in time to the airport to meet my friend. But the 8:00 on the ticket wasn’t the time of departure but the time of “boarding”. Just as on the way to the island I had to show my passport several times, get my pocketknife and toeclipper out of the bag (for which I would get another piece of paper to collect them again on arrival, from a guy wearing a hard hat and swimming west inside a building o_O), get my bags scanned and wait for some hours more. The boat this time wasn’t a fast one though, five hours later, frozen to death at 17° we arrived to learn the busses for Habana would arrive in two and a half hour! As I had to meet my friend in Matanzas anyway, I asked around and got a unofficial cab to there directly. An hour later I was at the hotel bar and completely exhausted.