Gardens of the Queen, Cuba from Mike Holtby on Vimeo.
This trip was scheduled prior to Obama's overtures to open up our relations with Cuba. We had a special educational visa through Ocean Doctor to dive at the Gardens of the Queen. This is an underwater reserve which was established decades ago, and as a result has some of the biggest groupers and most sharks a diver is likely to see in the Caribbean.
Judy did four dives, and then had an ear blocked with water that she could no longer clear. I did ten dives, reaching a lifetime total of 200. On eight of those dives we were escorted by sharks: silkies, and Caribbean Reef Sharks. In my dive career I have now been diving with seven different kinds of sharks - and never felt threatened.
We also spent a day in Havana, which I found less adamant about "the triumph of the Revolution" which I heard often as a cliché when I first visited Cuba in 2001. I, for one, would like to see the embargo lifted. I can't see how it has made a dent in the Castro regime, and the people need the economic shot we could provide.
3 MINUTE CUBA from Mike Holtby on Vimeo.