Saturday, October 14, 2006
The Cubans have landed!
We just had another full moon. It is so beautiful when it shines down on the water, illuminating a white path into the horizon. I never get tired of looking at it.
I think because it is so bright on the water, we always seem to get a boatload or two of Cuban refugees during this time. This week was no exception. The military here knows that too and they set up a patrol on the beach across from us every night during this time.
This time they landed down the beach from us and we could not see the boat from our house. We knew they were there though because of all the activity and military and police vehicles going by at top speed. We waited until the next day to go have a look.
Not liking the water to begin with, it just sends chills down my spine to look at these homemade boats that these people cross over 90 miles of open water in. I can’t imagine the desperation that forces people to make a boat and risk this journey. This one was bigger than any I have ever seen before though. And much better made. They must have taken months to built it out of sheet iron for the floor and plywood for the rest. Have you ever seen what happens to wet plywood? Lucky that they make it to shore before the layers just all peel away and put them in the water. This one had a huge engine in the middle of it with a smoke stack made out of an old car muffler. They had a propeller, which had evidently been ripped to shreds as they crossed the reef that surrounds us. There was a huge rudder for steering on the back also. Inside were two long poles with triangular sheets of metal bolted on. Evidently these were there emergency oars or they used them to get the boat out silently from Cuban shores before starting the engine.
I don’t know how many people were on it but it could have safely (!!) sat 15 people. That means that probably 20 or more were crowded on to it. There were empty plastic bottles strewn around the bottom of the boat and empty plastic bags, probably which had contained food. There was also a half eaten package of tortillas. But the crossing must not have been all trauma for them. Also lying on the floor of the boat was an open condom wrapper! Let’s just hope it was consensual and just a means of passing time on the ocean.
So, until the next full moon, the landings have probably stopped. This has been going on like clock work since June. I wonder what is going on over there that people are once again feeling the need to risk their lives in order to get away? We still don’t know what the Mexican government does with them. Nobody we ask seems to know. I just hope they don’t send them back.