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.
Coral of Reef  

This is a short video of some of the what we saw underwater on the reefs while diving in Cuba:

Short Trailer of Cuba Dive Video

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.

Cuban 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 pictures.

Cuba pictures above water

Scroll down to see pictures from our trip, my Dive list or links to other dive trips.

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 boat.
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 large.
They seemed to come one right after another.
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 the divers.
Another large shark swimming between the divers.
Three Four-Eyed Butterfly Fish move along the reef.
A Spotfin Butterfly Fish poses for a picture.
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 grassy shallows.
In the Gardens of the Queen Cuba has one of the largest areas of Elkhorn Coral in the Caribbean. It is very beautiful.
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 this guy.
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 reefs.
another Hogfish.
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 watch.
They move gracefully through the water.
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.
a 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 exception.
Queen Trigger Fish were very abundant.
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.
These Remoras 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 past.
Squid on a night dive.
Squirrel Fish
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 soft coral.
Hawkbill Turtle.
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.


Dive Site
Maximum Depth (ft.) Bottom Time (min.)
7/23/2017 Cuba Five Seas 75 64
7/23/2017 Cuba Los Mogotes 62 65
7/23/2017 Cuba Cabezo de la Raya 58 66
7/23/2017 Cuba Cachiboca 2 48 59
7/24/2017 Cuba Black Coral 2 99 49
7/24/2017 Cuba La Raya 61 63
7/24/2017 Cuba Cachiboca 1 46 69
7/24/2017 Cuba Cachiboca 2 50 51
7/25/2017 Cuba Pequeno Paraise 61 58
7/25/2017 Cuba El Faro 54 59
7/25/2017 Cuba Boca de Piedra 58 63
7/25/2017 Cuba Pius Reef 53 63
7/26/2017 Cuba Farallon 94 61
7/26/2017 Cuba Patricia 77 61
7/26/2017 Cuba Pipin 66 60
7/26/2017 Cuba Anclitas 49 61
7/27/2017 Cuba Playa Bonita 55 64
7/27/2017 Cuba Luis Miguel Reef 2 59 66
7/27/2017 Cuba Fraile 2 64 61
7/27/2017 Cuba Tapico 61 54
7/28/2017 Cuba Vicente 90 67
7/28/2017 Cuba Finca de Pepe 60 58

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. 

                         Scuba Diving Page


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