At the hotel boundary, a fleet of small fishing boats sets grounded on the mud bank of a small tidal stream, awaiting the flood. Carlos, the waterman in charge of the resorts fishing center shows off a couple of old Penn fifties. We have the gear.” he brags. “for the marlin and wahoo.”
Leaving the resort area I stroll between the water and a few small houses separated by pens of livestock and small gardens. Around each beach-side dwelling, beds of flowers color the scene and scent the air……. the image off a post card.
Down the beach two men seine, up to their chest in water. They’re trapping palemetto. The shallows here are rich, but the narrow sand and rock shelf drop off quickly, ending at the corral reef, then open ocean.
Pedro and Fito head out to do some blue water spearfishing. They’re after wahoo and tuna. Though Pedro’s four banded long gun is somewhat sketchy by open water standards, his float rig is sound, he knows what he is doing.
We met last evening on the veranda of the beach house where I’ve rented a small comfortable room. Pedro, the nephew of my lady landlord is a blue water spear-fisherman.
They swim into the five foot breakers crashing on the razor sharp reef, toward deep water. From where I stand on the limestone bluff, there is no break, only pounding surf. Two heads disappear into the white water.
Pedro doesn’t get his tuna, his wahoo either. He hit the latter – a good one – about forty pounds, but a bull shark took it. Pedro is left only the head, which his mother will make into fish stew. “The bulls can be a problem.” Pedro explains, “But when the big tigers come up from the deep, we leave the water.”
According to both men there were schools of tuna, up to fifty pounds, but they were wary, spooky, staying out of gun range.
So, I treat both young men to fresh seared tuna, in a palm thatch patio restaurant perched above the sea. It’s a chunk from a seventy-pound yellowfin caught the day before by the palidar’s owner Miguel. His hands bear cuts from the handline – he has no gloves.
Against the darkness, lights of a cruise ship appears rising like a small city on the pitch-black sea. Skirting the coast just outside the twelve-mile limit, it’s bound for ports farther south.
Chewing, Fito gestures with his fork. “One day I would like to see that ship up close.” He says. “It must be a grand place to have so many lights.”
It pleases me very much to greet you on behalf of the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba and on my own, as well as to appreciate your invita
tion to the meeting of November 13th, but as you know is not possible to get a visa with such a little window of time. I hope that with the help of people like you, one day, the American government can give me a visa for 5 or 10 years. That way, it will be easier for me to accept the invitations that I constantly receive from the American Boating Community.
On the other hand, I would like as well that the USA´s government lift the restrictions in order that the their citizens can sail freely from Florida to Cuba.
The American citizens are always welcome at the headquarter of our Yacht Club.
I would like to attend the Miami Boat Show because of the possibilities that it offers in the establishment of friendship relations with dozens of representatives from the USA¨s Boating Community as well as from the other countries that will attend the event. I will keep you informed.
I would like to interchange a reciprocal agreement between our yacht clubs. If you agree, I will submit you the draft of the agreement for your considerations.
I hope to visit the web site of the North Passage yacht Club tomorrow.
I take this opportunity to reaffirm my greetings to you and my highest esteem and considerations.