22nd to 24th november - Sancti Spiritus
Trip Start Nov 06, 2013
67Trip End May 25, 2015
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The next morning mikael picks me up and I meet the sancti crew, I ask mikael if he understands the article about craig luebben, he says no, so I manage to translate the opening paragraph which is a tribute to craig as he died in 2009. In the opening paragraph, the author tells the story of his first visit to cuba with craig to new route in vinales. Being american they get in through the back door by entering cuba via cancun in mexico. Craig.... To save weight in his hold luggage decides to put the drill, batteries, drill bits and other tools into his hand luggage
We climb on a mogote, quite different to vinales, more like dinas rock (a local crag for swansea climbers) just not as horrible. Very cool day, everyone very welcoming and makes me feel like ive known everyone for years. Mikael is clearly the defacto club chairman, looking out for the young lads, top bloke. We climb together all day, swapping stories about climbing, ethics, cuba, wales, all sorts. Mix of spanish and english, oh imget partially stung again by a wasp...brill. We make arrangements for tge next day sunday, a venue a little further away, but very beautiful apparently. Saturday night I go on the town again with hector, a great giggle, although there were some quite serious times aswell, I learnt a little more about the ration book for food supplies, wages in cuba, and the difficulties of getting the more valuable currency cucs
Sunday the group is smaller, and the crag is next to a river, stunning location, with low grades, sub 6b, but what a fantastic day. The access to the crag is via an absail, on lowering the days supplies of water in on top rope, mikael proclaims its just like yosemite! I manage to get some great shots as you can see, later on we go swimming in the river. Which turns into a bit of short deep water soloing, and some jumping in to finnish the day off. That night im taking a 10 hourbus journey to Santiago de Cuba, the next biggest city after Habana. Mikael hosts me for the evening where I meet his family, and eat tea with them, so welcoming, a true gent. At the bus station Hector is waiting for me with some photos from our nights out, with a message of 'To my dearest friend stuart, safe travels and best regards to all the welsh women!' he asked me the previous night if I can bring a 40 year old welsh lady to meet him next time, as we say in wales...bit of a boy that one! I foolishly hadnt booked a seat for this bus, as the timings with early climbing starts meant I couldt get to the toursit office, thankfully hector stayed around and managed to get me on the bus, I wouldnt have got the bus without him. So a bit of rushed weekend but so glad I made contact with mikael, it was a great weekend to see another group of climbers in cuba, and possibly a more true cuban home, with a great family.