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The Navigation

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Cuban waters were precisely surveyed and charted with Soviet aid and a hydrographic service was installed. Nautical charts in colour print, depths in meters and texts in English from ICH (Instituto Cubano de Hidrographia) enjoy an excellent reputation and should be preferred to the British and American charts, which are also available. A series of 26 charts (ca. 16 US$ each) in 1:150.000 scale covers the whole island, and there are detailed maps dowm to a scale of 1:5.000. This material is also published in the form of seven "Chart Kits" for pleasure craft, at a price of ca. 50 US$ each and available for example in Havana's Marina Hemingway or in Old Havana's  Tienda „El Navegante“: La Habana-Vieja, Calle Mercaderes 115 between Obispo and Obra Pia, Tel. 0053-7- 613625).

There are two excellent Cruising Guides in English language, which complement each other very well by the information contained, so that both can be recommended alike.  Both originate in circumnavigations of Cuba by their authors and have an according structure: "The Cruising Guide to Cuba" by Simon Charles has besides the nautical data a lot of general information related to the country, is written in a very sypathetic, personal style and thus also becomes a good general travel guide, its charts sketches are very compehensive, but "only" manually designed in black-and-white. Cartography is the strength of  Nigel Calder’s "Cuba – A Cruising Guide", with two-colour charts based on own GPS-based surveys, and nautical information generally is far more detailed here. Both authors clearly indicate what is based on their own observations and what is "second hand" information.

Simon Charles: The Cruising Guide to Cuba; 340 pages; 23x15 cm paperback; 2nd edition.1997; Cruising Guide Publications; Dunedin, Florida; ISBN 0-944428-36-6. $ 24,95 (ca. 31 EUR).

Nigel Calder: Cuba – A Cruising Guide; 260 pages; 28 x 21 cm paperback; 2nd edition 1999; Imray, Laurie, Norie & Wilson; St.Ives, England; ISBN 0-85-288-4133. £ 30,00 (ca. 53 EUR).