Ever since I learned to dive I have
had a list of places I would like to dive. One of those places was Cuba.
Now that destination has been checked off. I took part
in the Oceans for Youth Foundation which is a foundation dedicated to
taking care of the reefs and ocean for future generations.
For the first three days and two
nights I stayed in Havana at the
Iberostar Parque Central and the
final week I lived on the
Jardines Aggressor I, a live-aboard
dive boat and diving in Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen) reef
system on the southern side of Cuba.
The program has a
FaceBook page but since there is no
internet access when we are out to sea they are only able to post when
they come into port at the end of the week.
I took more pictures on this trip than
any other trip. I will be adding pictures for about the next week so
check back to see more.
Below on this page are thumbnails that
link to some of the pictures taken on the diving portion of the trip. I
have posted pictures of the coral, fans and sponges on the reefs on
another page that can be accessed by clicking on this link.
This is a short video of some of the
what we saw underwater on the reefs while diving in Cuba:
We saw sharks on many dives in Cuba.
Here is a video with many of the sharks that we saw. The ones that on
the deep reefs are Caribbean Reef Sharks. The ones that are circling
under the boat near the surface are Silky Sharks.
We spent the first three days and two
nights in Havana as part of our educational people-to-people cultural
exchange program with the Oceans For Youth Foundation. We learned about
the oceans, reefs and fish ecosystems in Cuba and what they are doing to
protect them for future generations. We learned about the programs and
agreements that they have entered into with the United States to work
together to preserve the marine environments. We also toured historical
landmarks and parks in the Havana area and had opportunities for
discussions with Cubans. Here is a slide show of some of my topside
Click on the thumbnails below
to see an enlarged picture. Use your BACK" button on your browser to
return to this page.
Wally, Robin and I were the only
Donkey Divers to make this trip. We represented the group well.
All three of the
Donkey Divers were awarded the Iron Diver Medal for completing all
available dives on the trip. Anyone who has been on trips with Wally,
Robin or myself won't be surprised by that. We rarely miss an
opportunity to dive.
Robin and Wally won an award for
Outstanding Dive Team and I won the Fashionable Diver Award. Apparently,
they really liked my red dive gear. I was called "the man in red". While
diving in Mexico one year, the divemasters called me "Dr. Rojo"
We saw sharks on almost every dive
we made. So while most of my friends were sitting on their couch
watching Shark Week, I was busy living it.
When returning to the dive boat
after a couple of dives we found several sharks circling right under the
We would have to swim through the
sharks to get back on the boat.
At times it seemed like the sharks
were guarding the ladder to prevent us from leaving the water.
This shark looks like he is going
to go for Wally's leg as he is getting on the ladder.
If you ever needed a little
encouragement to climb up the ladder quickly with all your scuba gear
on, this was a good incentive.
Some of the sharks were pretty
They seemed to come one right
Every time you turned around it
seemed like there was another one coming up behind you.
Just when it looked like it was
safe to make a break for the ladder one would rush in front of you from
out of nowhere.
Check out the left pectoral fin on
this one. Looks like the end of it was bitten off recently.
This is a silhouette of the same
shark as it swam directly above me.
These sharks were very fast and
graceful. They would swim within a foot of use as they cruised between
Another large shark swimming
between the divers.
Three Four-Eyed Butterfly Fish
move along the reef.
A Spotfin Butterfly Fish poses for
A big crab eating at night.
Two crabs climbing up on a large
purple fan at night.
This was a first for me. It was
the first time I have ever been swimming with a salt water crocodile.
I'm not sure whose leg that is
that he seems to be going after.
He seemed to have a very healthy
set of teeth.
He hung out in mangroves and
In the Gardens of the Queen Cuba
has one of the largest areas of Elkhorn Coral in the Caribbean. It is
It was not unusual to see large
schools of fish on the reefs.
Gray Angel Fish like this one were
quite common in the area.
Another Gray Angel.
Green Moray Eels were found poking
their heads out of the reef.
They seemed to enjoy showing off
their dental work.
Another Green Moray Eel.
We saw dozens of groupers on
almost every dive.
Many of them would follow us
around a dog.
Some of them would stick closer to
you than your dive buddy.
All kinds of groupers including
many Goliath Groupers.
I am not sure what was up with
He was perfectly still with his
nose up against this large Gorgonian Sea Fan.
I'm not sure if he was hiding,
resting or just admiring the beautiful fan.
Hogfish were also plentiful on the
We also had a couple of dives were
jellyfish were hanging out around the ladders. While not as intimidating
as sharks, they did create a distraction when entering and exiting the
water on those dives.
The Jellyfish are very pretty to
They move gracefully through the
And of course when they weren't
hanging around the ladder, they were around mooring line.
We didn't see very many Lionfish.
I found this one on a night dive.
We saw some octopus on the night
dives. There were a lot of divers so it was not easy to close enough to
get a great shot. This one was putting on show by changing colors.
Another octopus was standing tall
on some coral.
The most common type of Parrot
Fish that I saw were the Spotlight Parrot Fish seen in the picture.
Queen Angel Fish were common but
not easy to get a close picture.
They are usually camera shy.
The ones in Cuba were no
Queen Trigger Fish were very
It was not uncommon to see 4 or 5
of them together.
They are also usually camera shy
but since there were so many I was able to get a few good shots.
This guy posed for me briefly.
followed me for over 20 minutes on one dive. They were swimming around
my legs and fins. They commonly hitch a ride on sharks or other large
fish. Maybe they thought I was a shark.
A Rock Beauty watched us swim
Squid on a night dive.
A large Southern Stingray swims
over the reef.
Another Southern Stingray peaks
out from behind some soft coral.
A Blue Tang.
A group of Blue Tangs around a
large Barrel Sponge.
A Hawkbill Turtle swimming over
Another Hawkbill Turtle swimming
off in the distance.
While the reefs did not have the
diversity of fish life and creatures that some reefs have, the numbers
of fish on many dive sites was more than normally seen in other places.
I made 22 dives and
spent a little over 22 hours underwater in five and a half days.
Maximum Depth (ft.)
Bottom Time (min.)
Cabezo de la Raya
Black Coral 2
Boca de Piedra
Luis Miguel Reef 2
Finca de Pepe
To see pictures from other dive
trips, click on the button below to go to my SCUBA page. It has links to
other pages of pictures and dive reports from many different dive trips
over the years.