For years U.S. voyagers have heard about the beauty of the Cuban coast and islands, but few U.S.-flagged vessels have risked a trip to Cuba given the obvious problem that such trips were illegal. With the recent easing of tensions with Cuba, however, U.S. voyagers can go and see for themselves Cuba's largely unspoiled beauty.
And now the German-based charting company NV Charts, which has long offered excellent Caribbean charts, has made the proposition even easier with a four-volume set of chart books that cover the entire Cuban coast: Northwest (including Havana and Marina Hemingway), Northeast, Southwest (can't miss visiting the Bay of Pigs!) and Southeast. The charts are arranged in 11.5 inch by 16.5 inch chart books that fold flat and provide excellent detail. Each of the four volumes sells for $99.80. And if you buy the chart books you get the corresponding digital versions as well.
I spoke to NV Charts CEO Hasko Scheidt at the Annapolis Boat Show regarding the charts and he pointed out that since NV Charts are designed with recreational boaters in mind, if an important feature on the chart fell on the crease at the center, the NV Charts cartographers will slew the chart data so the crease ran through a less important part of the chart, so voyagers don't miss anything.
Given the Cold War history of Cuba, its closed borders and sometimes touchy approach to visitors, I also asked Hasko: Had he managed to get any chart data from the Cuban government to augment the data he had from other sources (including his own company's surveys)? A savvy international businessman, Hasko merely smiled before saying he hoped I had a good time at the show!