Steven Mezynieski is a small business owner in Southampton, New York, where he was born and raised. He is the owner of Southampton Excavation and Site Development, LLC, and of Driftwood Farms, and he maintains an excellent reputation.
Though work keeps him busy, Steven Mezynieski and his wife, Gretchen, enjoy relaxing in nature and are particularly fond of their thirty-four-foot Nortech power boat. In 2016, their power boat club was invited to what Steven Mezynieski calls “the adventure of a lifetime.” The Bay of Havana, in Cuba, welcomed seventeen yachts between thirty-two and forty-five feet in length for the first time in over half a century.
After a few days spent relaxing and preparing in Key West, Mr. and Mrs. Mezynieski, and the other racers, were ready to begin.
Their ninety-mile trek across the Gulf Stream was expected to be on calm seas, and it was for the first stretch of the trip. Soon, though, the seas began rising.
First, they encountered two- to three-foot seas, as opposed to the one- to two-foot seas they anticipated. Soon, the seas reached three- to five-feet. A wind blowing from the north kicked up harder, and the true adventure began.
“The waves were growing upward and we were bouncing into them,” recalls Steven Mezynieski. “It was thought that this was going to be a dangerous run for all involved. It was not going to stop us crossing unless something put in our way. Several hours after leaving Key West, feeling tired and exhausted, we made our way into the Havana Harbor with a parade put on from the Hemingway Yacht Club and its commodore Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich. It was definitely a sight to remember.”
The people greeting them were in shock to have seen such quality performance boats. They waved their flags lining the streets, making a colorful display along the El Malecon, an eight-mile seawall and roadway along the coast of Havana, Cuba. The welcoming city, needless to say, made a positive impression on the lucky boaters.
Soon, after a quick trip through the harbor and customs (made speedy thanks to months of planning by the President of the Florida Power Boat Club), they were on their way to the Hemmingway Yacht club.
After a round of rum cocktails and a light lunch, they were escorted to Melia Cohiba, an upscale hotel just fifty meters from the Malecon seafront. They traveled to the spectacular hotel via antique car.
“That evening we were again welcomed with a buffet dinner put on by the hotel,” said Steven Mezynieski. “The night ended early for all of us travelers. Morning came quickly as we raced to reserve an antique car with a translator. Our first stop was to the well-known Hemingway museum ‘Finca Visia.’ It was a great sight to see.
“From there we went to the famous El Malacon restaurant which overlooked the harbor. We were so thankful to be able to spend time with the locals and get a real taste of their heritage. The next day we went to other museum and most local spots famous for their culture. Our last stop was to the market where we picked up a few pieces of incredible art work made by Cuban locals.” Steven Mezynieski and fellow boaters returned home days later, after waiting out ten foot seas in the luxury of bed and breakfast service.