This is a very protected anchorage where the Cuban shrimp boats anchor and process the shrimp. The processing boat travels back and forth to Cienfuegos, while the shrimp boats go out fishing. We spent 4 rainy, windy days here trading Rum for Shrimp and Lobster!!
In Santiago de Cuba we purchased 4 gallons of 15 year old aged Cuban Rum from Pedro who has a cousin who works in the factory. It was delivered to us in big 2 gallon plastic water jugs, so as we used up wine and other glass bottles we recycled them and filled them with the Rum, for trading with the fishermen.
Every trade was a little different. Our first trade was about 5 pounds of cleaned and deveined shrimp for 1 bottle of Rum and another trade was 15 pounds of shrimp with the heads and tails still on and 7 lobsters for 3 bottles or Rum. Every day we traded until all of our freezers were full!! All in all we spent about 7 bottles of Rum in 4 days, but have enough Shrimp and Lobster for weeks worth of meals. The fishermen even gave us some cucumbers, tomatoes and cabbage, since we were getting low on fresh stuff.
We all ate Lobster and Shrimp for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day that we were anchored there. We kept impersonating Bubba, from the movie Forest Gump, over the VHF saying what we ate that day.
On the third day the fishermen invited us into the boat for a tour. They just returned from a night of fishing and proudly showed us their catch. Unfortunately, we learned that the shrimp boats keep EVERYTHING that gets caught in their nets, no matter what it is; even if it is an endangered animals. In the back of the boat was a giant Hawksbill Turtle that was still alive. We asked how many bottles of rum to trade for the turtle because we wanted to release it, but they told us they couldn’t trade Rum for the turtle because the turtle was for the “jefe” or for their boss. So, we asked them how much money did the boss want for the turtle. Everything has a price, right? It took a couple hours of negotiating, but finally the guys negotiated a price and we were able to purchase the turtle.
Laura and Andy estimated that the turtle was between 80 and 90 years old. Today was its lucky day!!! We purchased the turtle brought it to the beach and released it back into the ocean. Hopefully, it lives many more years.
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