60 Minutes ran a really great piece on Jardines de la Reina or Gardens of the Queen (GQ), last night. GQ is a spectacular reef off of Cuba’s south coast with abundant predators including goliath and black grouper and Caribbean reef sharks. My PhD student Abel Valdivia (seen in the video above) is from Cuba and [...]
I shot this video on Gardens of the Queen (Jardines de la Reina) reef south of Cuba in May. This is how reef food webs are supposed to look like; most of the biomass is in the top predators. The diver is Abel Valivia. Go here to see more of our Cuba expedition coverage.
Day 8: Friday 3 June Peace. A gentle breeze coming down the creek between the mangroves and through the corridor of the house, rustling the drying wetsuits over the concrete porch, faint bird and insect songs from the mangroves all around us. A jutilla climbs down out of the trees into the dinghy tied off [...]
Day 7: Thursday 2 June Done. All over now but the last dregs of clean-up and packing. Five days in the “Gardens of the Queen”, and what a time it’s been. A journey back in time in both the state of society and of the Sea. In the last five days we’ve become accustomed to [...]
In honor of international surfing day 2011, here is a great video about surfing in Cuba.
Day 6: Wednesday 1 June Sometime in the afternoon. Siesta time actually—all quiet at the Avalon compound. But no siesta for us. James and I are back at the “lab” after a largely fruitless search among the shallow Porites coral patches of the backreef for the particular sponge we know to harbor social shrimp here, [...]
Day 5: Tuesday 31 May Quarter past midnight, end of a long day on the water and in the lab that started at 0600. Sitting in the quiet breezy night on the narrow concrete back deck of the dorm (not a proper lab as this is really a dive and fishing operation), creaking boat ropes [...]
Day 4: Monday 30 May This morning we dive at a site known as “Pipin” after the famous Cuban free diver. I am snorkeling and the day begins disappointingly since the buoy is in 15 m of water and overcast skies and somewhat murky water mean I can barely make out the bottom. But a [...]
Day 3: Sunday 29 May Fantastic dives and natural history today. We are scouting sites for Abel’s dissertation project examining impacts of sharks on the reef community, so targeting sites where sharks are abundant. This area, the Jardines de la Reina (“Gardens of the Queen”), is widely considered to be among the most pristine sites [...]
[Number 2 in a continuing series] Day 2: Saturday 28 May Up at 0400 again, this time to meet the bus for the long, slow drive across Cuba to our port. Traveling east by bus in the misty humid sunrise across the flat agrarian landscape of Cuba. Endless fields, most apparently fallow, fencerows of sticks [...]
Prologue [A few weeks ago, four of us set out for the pristine reefs of Cuba on a marine biological expedition. Following is the first in a series of daily journal entries from the trip.] Our party consisted of John Bruno and Abel Valdivia of UNC Chapel Hill, myself from VIMS, and James Kealey of [...]
Happy World Oceans Day everyone! Wow, it’s hard to compete with Helen’s whale shark story for a close encounter with an awesome sea creature! Since it’s still fresh in my mind, I’ll go with an experience from our recent trip to Cuba. At the risk of giving you a case of elasmobranch overload, this features [...]
I’ve been around the block a few times, and dove on quite a few reefs over the years. On most reefs in the Caribbean — make that the West Atlantic generally — you’d be hard pressed to see a fish big enough to feed 2 or 3 people. But our last week spent in the [...]