“Hemingway’s Cuba Can’t Last” Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

We reached the safe water buoy off of Marina Hemingway a couple hours before sunset after a night passage up through the Yucatan passage and a motor sail along Cuba’s north west coast.  The entrance was clearly marked and we docked near the Guarda Frontera office inside the inlet.  Health, agricultural and coast guard personnel visited Elizabeth Jean.  In the custom’s office, the official began to stamp our visa, the standard practice with U.S. visitors as it leaves no record in the visitor’s passport.  Having obtained a U.S. permit for Elizabeth Jean to enter we asked the official to stamp our passport.  After expressing surprise, he smiled and firmly stamped our passports.  Hemingway Marina, provided our first introduction to Cuba generally.  In addition, the marina served  as one of several reminders of Hemingway’s time in Cuba, which spanned 20 years and ended in 1960, the year before he killed himself.  While defining Hemingway’s Cuba is beyond this blogger’s humble abilities, Alibhai-Brown’s quote (borrowed above in the blog title) raises the persistent question of how Cuba will change if it’s relationship with the U.S. continues to open.

Hemingway marina

   Our Cuban home during our stay.


The Old Man and the Sea Hotel anchors one end of the marina.  As far as we could tell, it was not open for business, although we were able to walk through the lobby.


Outside the hotel, this statue of the Old Man, with his fishing pole missing, reflects the marina’s state of repair.  The marina is functional, but will benefit from additional investment.  While we were there workers were repaving a number of the canal walkways.


Hemingway’s image hangs in the hotel’s lobby.


The Hemingway Yacht Club is well kept and provided the location for toasting our arrival in Cuba.



Rumors of Santiago Rum’s smoothness proved to be true.  Joe, our new best friend, poured three long shots for us.

Picture dated 1960 showing US writer Ernest Hemingway (R) awarding three trophies to Cuba's revolutionary leader Fidel Castro after a fishing contest in Cuba. Ernest Hemingway commited suicide in 1961. (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

A 1960 picture of Hemingway awarding fishing trophies to Castro.  The yacht club has several pictures of Castro and Che Guevara participating in the tournament.  For an interesting perspective on Hemingway and Castro see the following link.


fidel and che

Fidel and Che during the fishing tournament.


Captain Eulalie outside Hemingway Yacht Club.


One of a series of figures lining one of marina walkways.

Keith's Cuba 028

Sunset over Elizabeth Jean‘s dodger, as she is moored at Marina Hemingway.  Photo credit: Keith Seiler.

For perspectives on Hemingway’s Cuba, including the Alibihai-Brown article noted above, see the following links:





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