The Hailey Herald

The Hailey Herald

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Cuban Refugees

Our last day on the cruise started eventful with Hailey's trip to the medical clinic.  Little did we know it would get even more exciting.  I was in the cabin with Hailey napping when I noticed the boat had stopped.  That is a little alarming when in my head I'm thinking...we are headed back to port, why on earth would we be stopping.  I head out to the balcony where my sister-in-laws are already there pointing out that we are not only stopped by totally turned around.  Within a couple of minutes, the captain announces that they have spotted something in the water and the coast guard wants them to check it out.   After some time, we learn it is a very small boat with "suspected" Cuban refugees.  We watched as the Coast Guard helicopter circled around and kept an eye on the rescue.  We witnessed a small boat from our ship rescue them in two groups. 

Hailey and I were in the medical clinic when the first group came aboard.  They were treated for any medical emergencies, allowed to shower, fed and given water.  The doctor told me that they were on the tiny boat for 10 days and lived on crackers and nuts.  They were about 30 miles from the coast of the Florida Keys.  About an hour and half later, the coast guard arrived with a boat to retrieve them.  Later they were returned to Cuba.

I was so excited that I was able to get pictures of the event.  It was something that you read about but never witness.  It is so hard for us to fathom wanting to leave your country so bad that you risk your life, not knowing where you end up or if you will survive, but it being better than where you are.  It is so difficult for us to understand as adults, but even harder to explain to the kids.  It has made for interesting conversations at their schools as well!

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