Office of Foreing Assets Control
Example of People to People Educational Program - Havana and Gardens of the Queen
These changes, coupled with the arrangement recently announced by the Departments of State and Transportation allowing scheduled air service between the United States and Cuba, will significantly increase the ability of US citizens to travel to Cuba to directly engage with the Cuban people.
As soon as the boat engine silenced, the skipper looked at me signaling "OK" for me to enter the water. Taking in account that I was already very hot (in my suit) and could hardly wait to go in, my heart was beating madly and everybody was also waiting impatiently for me to jump.
First full moon of May, I was traveling to “The Gardens of the Queen” to work as a dive guide, that would be my first time aboard MY Avalon Fleet II, majestic new boat Avalon started to operate in this untouched marine sanctuary.
Jardines de la Reina has the biggest population of Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara) in the Caribbean. This endangered species has been suffering overfishing along the years, all over the gulf of Mexico and the wider Caribbean this fish has been killed for its meat, being such a big and easy target. The huge grouper has no chance against fishermen. The life cycle of this fish, together with its size, reproductive strategies and its slow growth rate, makes it very vulnerable.
Gardens of the Queen, a pristine 90-mile arc of mangroves and keys that snuggles up to Cuba’s southeastern coast, is quickly gaining a reputation as the sharkiest spot in the Caribbean. The area encompasses an 850-square-mile no-take marine reserve where a young Fidel Castro once loved to spearfish.
The Caribbean is one of the most popular scuba diving areas for American travelers. There is a large concentration of famous dive sites with a variety of diving styles and marine life, including encounters with large marine creatures, world-known wrecks and cave/cavern diving. But there is one area which is still virgin, and that is Cuba.
We were diving at the point known as Black Coral I. After 22 minutes of bottom time, to avoid deco we began to go up through the mooring buoy rope. To reach the 5 feet deep safety stop, always surrounded by a dozen Caribbean Reef sharks, Carcharhinus Perezi, in milliseconds, a Bank of medium-sized fish, known in Cuba as mackerel.
Today virtually there are no recreational diving operations without some kind of interaction between divers and the sea inhabitants. Which Dive Master doesn’t have a fish friend to frequently visit, to care for, and to be as close as a family member?