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Journal of a Seaplane Cruise Around The World
Part Four: North America

Sunday, January 20

Las Blancas to Havana 1325 LAND COZUMEL. (Flying time 40 minutes).

The take off was just one brief bump. The wind was still blowing 25 to 35 miles an hour, and the airplane flew without the pontoons ever getting on the step. We came straight here to Cozumel and found several lagoons, one of which, on the northwest side, had a shack with some gasoline drums behind it. There was no one around when we stepped ashore, but soon a sailing canoe put out from the other side of the lagoon, bearing a young Mexican lad and his ten year old brother. They seemed pleased to have callers and soon whipped up some hot water and G. Wash. coffee, crackers and butter, and we have made a breakfast. The cabin here is an emergency rest house with many canvas cots, a stove, bathroom, etc. We have taken time off to fill the rocker boxes with grease, because, through the accident of losing the alemite gun in the harbor at Mazatlan, the valve mechanism has had no lubrication since San Diego and it is beginning to squeak.

We are going to set out upon a new regime between here and Cuba. Bob is to occupy the front seat where he cannot get at the radio, so that there will be nothing to distract him from reading the drift meter and plotting our course!

2025 LAND HAVANA (Flying time 4 hours)

Yucatan Strait was crossed without incident, although once again there was a discrepancy between the sun's azimuth and the ship's compass. Relied on the compass and we came out all right, and had a reassuring message from a ship half way across that his position was on our plotted course . . . . All the same it was a relief to find that Cuba was back where it belonged, and we followed its pretty northern coast, which is dotted with small islands and bays, until reaching Havana. I had expected to see prominent mountains, but there are only disappointingly small ridges toward the center of the island, and the western end is almost entirely marshy. We were tired, and stuck to the job of getting through -- in fact pulled into Havana in four hours, the scheduled time of the Pan American Clippers. The ship was moored to the P.A.A. buoy, and only a very few minutes were required for the customs formalities. The Pan American charges for seeing us through this were a little ridiculous, but the state charges were not exhorbitant. In fact, the health officer refused to accept his usual fee when he discovered my M.D.

Havana is a noisy bustling city without much charm, as we have been able to see it. No doubt the recent political disturbances have influenced the complexion of all its activities. We are turning in early, a little disappointed with the experience.

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