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Old 04-09-2010, 06:47 PM   #61
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Re: Action in Cuba

awesome footage!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:19 PM   #62
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Re: Action in Cuba

Great pictures, I truly envy you. Those iguanas don't know what's coming. Just wait till the cubans find them, hope then can swim fast.
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Old 04-10-2010, 05:58 PM   #63
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Re: Action in Cuba

as always, virgili, i enjoy your pictures and reports
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:37 AM   #64
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Re: Action in Cuba

Cubera hunting... in Cuba.

"Cuba is made of several archipelago and of thousand islands, most of them are uninhabited and deserted. After having organized a world spearfishing championship in 1963 this practice got banned there and only in the last years the state has been issuing some costly and pretty restrictive licences to cuban spearos. Otherwise spearfishing is a clandestin activity practiced by many locals to improve the everyday fare and many diving spots located close to the coastal cities or villages have been got out fished for the last years.
There is no diving or spearfishing equipment avaible on the island for the cuban spearos, so they have to improvise, for example by using home made pneumatic guns "bulliera". Despite these difficulties,cuban divers are very proficient in deep hunting, in particular, and are home in the water.
I have been doing for the last years about twenty spearfishing trips to Cuba, mainly to the North East coast in the Archipelago de Camagüey and to the South West coast in the Archipelago de Los Canarreos.
To spearfish in Cuba is to harken back to an other time. I did my first steps there by using an old kayak, then by sailing a small catamaran and sometimes pushing it in the shallow at night when the wind left us. Later my cuban colleagues and me would use an old fishing motor boat but according to a "cuban style": no map avaible, no G.P.S, no radio and certainly no safety equipment. But "no problema" because the boat captain has instinct to find the right spots, at times leaving us suddenly when the cuban coast guards arrived (because you must stay below a 2 miles limit off the coast) and returning hours late from nowhere to pick up us: unforgetable "lost in the sea" I could experience!
After having struggled a lot and having got touch with reliable contacts I'm now able to use a sportfishing boat in a marina and to head on to the open sea.
The coral reef limit is at about 5 miles of the coast and on the side of the reef there are some deserted islands where it is possible to observe a fully submarine carribean fauna and flora wich seems llike an aquarium; a great variety of coralline formations in amazing shape and colors. Some of these deserted islands do sinking below during the rising tide. Cuba is a wonderfull and wellknown scuba diving destination because of all year long the warm and clean water. The visibility is clear all the year but the the currents are sometimes strong.
Among the great variety of the caribean reef fish the "Atlantic cubera" (Cuban snapper) is probably the most difficult to hunt, a rare capture. Definitely the giant of the snapper family this fish is also present along the Pacific coast from Mexico to Panama but the size is smaller. This is one of the best fish to eat there to about 20kg, it is sold on the Havana black market one month salary per kg!
This rare deep hunting capture is made most of the time at 20 to 30m depth.
The problem with clear water is that while you are swimming on the surface this distrustfull fish often spots you first and take off just before you dive. If not, you have to be discret while swimmming down slowly then staying hidden in the rocks while waiting your turn . You could sometimes feel instinctively a presence in your back: the cubera is observing you probably estimating what kind of fish is visiting its territory. Taking advantage by following the fish in the open water is a lot of time wasted because it will keep it's distance . But sometimes if you stay still on the bottom hidden in the rocks while relaxing the cubera come closer to you: it's a pretty short encounter, "solamente uno secundo" say my cuban colleagues, then it take off fast: this is the only opportunity you have to shoot the fish. But better release the fish if you'r not certain to do a shooting wich stuns the fish.
You have better to avoid shooting a cubera hidden in a small cave unless you kill the fish because it,s one of the toughest to fight and land. Over 20kg it has strengh and stamina in boundless quantity and a shalow blackout risk is high for the diver fighting with the fish. If you take a chance the best way is in my opinion by hitting just under the first caudal fish so that the shaft breakes the spine and you can get back the capture from the cave more easely.
Living in a virtual isolation from the outside world Cuban spearfishermen are very glad to exchange informations with foreign visitors, still, to communicate you have to be confident in order to win their trust. Most cubans are destitute, each trip gives us an opportunity to provide to help them with gear and technical advice, providing friendly some help to people scraping hard each day to improve the everyday nature. Spearfishing on the "forbidden island" means to cope everyday with trhee cuban basic sayings: "It's impossible!, "There is nothing left!", "It's not allowed!"."

I wrote last year this short report for IFSN magazine and it seems to me that things will happen again like this, every time I get there.
Did last week as usually some long and intensive daily hunting with my cuban colleagues (THANK'S).Water was cold and clear on the South West Coast.
Sfishing pressure is high and I felt the fish was becomming pretty distrusfull as well as in the Med Sea.
Spotted lionfish ++ spreaded everywhere and watever the depth!
Great sensations with the RA Zulu 130!
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:40 AM   #65
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Re: Action in Cuba

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Originally Posted by HurricaneBK View Post
for U.S citizens, Canadians and others can go there pretty easily and Cuba has started catering to tourists more so in recent years.

It's not illegal for U.S. Citizens or residents to visit Cuba.... You are free to go. Here is the catch.. You are not allowed to spend U.S. tender there because it is property of the U.S. Government. You technically would be breaking U.S. law and you would be tried under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

The Cuban government has made fools of 10 U.S. presidents... I'm sure they'll continue with a few more.

I've been to Cuba. Very interesting place. Cuba definitely needs an overhaul but great people!!!
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:58 AM   #66
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Re: Action in Cuba

I can't wait to go someday!

It is one of my greatest spearfishing wishes!

Someday, Someday, Someday!
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:39 AM   #67
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Re: Action in Cuba

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That visibility and bottom structure hurt.. Viva Cuba libre!
I miss it too! Viva Cuba libre! que bastante jodia esta haora!
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:06 AM   #68
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Re: Action in Cuba

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Cuba libre!
cola+rum+ice+lime wedge...??
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Old 03-18-2012, 12:38 PM   #69
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Re: Action in Cuba

Nth spearfishing trip there...
A two weeks cold front/ windy has been making hunting in the blue impossible but enjoying coral reef hunting in 70/ 150 feet deep waters and a couple of isolated reefs at about 2 h boating pioneering.
Cubera breeding season is closed and snappers will migrate there in april.

"Pez leon"/ lionfish are everywhere: Jose my cuban colleague told me that he was stung three times while cleaning these invasive specie: first time was pretty painfully, but then less...could it be a possible poison "immunization"?

Hunting focused only on hogs, cubera and snapper.
Sometimes sharky water (grey/ bull) but nothing disturbing. Barra showed themselves much more sassy/ agressive than usually, so that we have each time to bring back the captures to the boat.
Lindo dias!
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:13 AM   #70
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Re: Action in Cuba

Nice reef hunting!
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:28 PM   #71
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Re: Action in Cuba

beautiful sights of Cuba. Miss it like crazy. Going on the summer. Can't wait. thanks for the pics.
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:45 PM   #72
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Re: Action in Cuba

back to the forbidden island
cubera in the depths...
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Old 02-23-2014, 05:05 PM   #73
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Re: Action in Cuba

Pioneering Jagua Bank hunting in Cuba....
I’ve been doing for the last fifteen years several spearfishing trips to Cuba and every time I had to face there with three cuban basic says about the everyday life :
« It’s difficult, it’s impossible… it’s forbidden! »
Spearfishing gear is not avaible on the forbidden island and many items get prohibited at the custom such as GPS, walkie talkie, Wifi device…
In order to expand my outreach, I rented a 33 feet catamaran and so I could do boating in the Archipelago de los Canarreos. I am aware of different diving spots there and planned to pionner Jagua Bank.
This amazing underwater reef comes up in the middle of the sea from about 3000 meter depth to about 15 meter under the surface. I was told that the week before my stay two proficient cuban spearos got definitively lost in the open sea, at the time there were hunting. The fishing boat captain lost sight of the divers in the swell.
Regulated by the tide, currents there are strong to 4 knots and the swell could make the back to the boat unsafe for the diver…
Winter hunting in the cuban waters means focusing on snappers and hogfish in particular. Lucky in getting two days of becalmed sea in one week I could dive in the shallow wrecks and take several good size fish.
Sharks have been using year long pattroling around the wrecks and made the things sometimes complicated at the time you’r playing the fish. Cooking the captures aboard at night was a great reward for the cuban crew… sot hey could taste some fish they never find on cuban markets.
Pura vida!
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Old 12-21-2014, 02:41 PM   #74
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Re: Action in Cuba

Back to Cuba for 2 weeks pionneering some spots...
To lift the embargo will probably make the things more simple?
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Old 12-21-2014, 06:30 PM   #75
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Re: Action in Cuba

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Toledo, I'm cuban too, and have gone back twice without problems..legally...i dont know who or where you got that information from.Your right about beeing on your own over there, just dont make any trouble and you'll be fine.Oh and you really think the gov. benefits from your money??They got countries like france, canada and spain bringing in millions!!!

Disculpa Virgili but i had to clear that up, great fish man, bet you had a blast!
Small world..what part are you from. I was born in San Nicolas but my marine playground was playa Caimito just to the South. Speared my first fish at the end of the town beach pier (still there today) I think I was five. We still have a small house there two blocks from the canal. Let's hope we can get back down there some day soon and take a looks at the islands to the south just north of Isla De Pinos.
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