While this book is not about fly fishing it is a great read. By Skip Clement

 Writing a book and getting it published, even if it’s self published, becomes a maddening chore that starts out as a love affair of the most exhilarating kind, but when it’s finished and the book is in your hand you’re proud to have made the journey. Phil’s Acknowledgements attest to the peaks and valleys of the aforementioned. Phil, from all we’ve heard about him, is as experienced on the water in just about every way possible: sailor, coastal fishing guide, big game tournament fisherman, ocean racer and diver with an intimate knowledge of Cuba. His story stays in bounds with his expertises. The only person missing in Phil’s intriguing descriptions of Cuba is Hemingway and Santiago, but he did meet 102 year old Gregorio Fuentes, Ernest’s captain. From Key West the adventure unfolds for a crew of American anglers who sail across the Straits of Florida to Cuba with the prize, a giant blue Giant Blue Marlin. Tournament fishing in the Gulf Stream is not without hazards, as is navigating thru the socialist society of the western hemisphere’s only communist government. Spies, informants, a powerful secret police coronel combine to assure the visiting Americans spend their dollars without spreading the taboo dogmas of capitalism, democracy and most threatening of all free speech. Amazon review said: “Classic cars, centuries old cities and breathtaking mountain vistas, off limits to U.S. citizens, masks the struggle the average Cuban faces to feed his family. Morality battles necessity for a people living on the most fertile of all Caribbean lands where a three meal day is rare, the black market a risky requirement.” Pete’s love of Christina invigorates the tale and the excitment in reading comes with the perils they face. The vicious border security police – El Guardia would imprison and probably kill Pete and his found love Christina if caught. Pete defies the rules of a communist country, tests an angry ocean – and the United States Coast Guard in a rescue dash for his gorgeous island love. 97 Miles South is a good week-ender read if it’s too cold, rainy or you’ve got a “bug” – like I had. I hope Phil comes up with another book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *