Jibacoa, Cuba ~ 2005

15 06 2005

Well.. Cuba was so amazing the year before, so I just had to go back. This time was going to be a two week trip, so we needed to find a place where the food was a bit better, and where there was a slightly bigger dive op. We had planned on getting alot of diving in!

We arrived at the airport, boarded the bus to the resort (once it arrived), and off to Jibacoa we went! I woke up the next morning, I was sick as a dog. I had some kind of cold or something, but there was no way I was diving. Too stuffed up… pffffttttttttttttt!!!!! I had gone to Florida three months prior, and gotten my OW certification so that I could dive my arse off this trip!

Ok, it sucks, but I was able to snorkel. Luckily, there was a whole lot to see right off of our resort, so that was something…

There was a different theme at the buffet, every night (Italian, Mexican, American, Seafood night). It was an absolute blast. The people there all took the time to say hello and got to know you.. They even had me doing the Sun Dance about 5 times a day.

There were shows at night, and always food available. The piano bar was a blast too, and they had a “disco” for dancing and karaoke.
I even ended up singing on stage, with the band one night, during one of the shows. They had recorded it and wanted to keep the CD. They played it every day by the pool. Man, I really enjoyed that place.. I’m going to have to get back there one of these days!

We went to Havana one day as well.. We didn’t do the tourist thing, but hired a taxi to take us and guide us around. IMO a really good way of doing it. You were not on a schedule, and we were advised where to and not to go.

Our driver’s name was Raphael ~ a wonderful fellow. He showed us all the cool places, and advised us to go to a bunch of different places. The market was quite an experience too. One of the most amazing things I saw was a Cathedral in the main square. This thing was stunning…

Municipal Building… with Raphael standing in the archway…

What used to be the old theatre…

..and… of course, Revolution Square. I actually caught them rolling the carpet down the stairs, as Fidel Castro was to be giving a big speech in the next day or so…

We visited the Jose Monti Memorial, which had some amazing historical artifacts in it. It told the story of how Cuba became. Yes, it was all in Spanish, but I could make out the gist of most of it…

We also sat and had a Mojito at the legendary La Bodeguita Del Medio, where Hemingway used to come and drink his Mojitos…

We even visted a few castles ~ There are three in Havana, that used to protect every port…

Raphael was an amazing person too. He went out of the way, and took us to his home town, where he hangs out. I don’t think the locals were too happy to have tourists there, but we didn’t stay very long…just long enough for a couple of pics!

Raphael also took us way off the beaten path, to show us something so incredibly beautiful. Now… when I say off the beaten path, I really mean it… Not many vehicles would have made it off roading like we went… But this was the result… Pier Alta… It was where he used to come, when not working, when he was a fisherman…

I’m so happy we didn’t go the tourist route, and that we were able to see the things that we saw… An incredible day.

Ahh… a week had passed, and I was finally getting over the sickies. I was finally able to dive!!! w00t w00t w00t!

The first dive was El Valle (The Valley). I took a bit of Ginger, as I am known to get a bit sick on boats here and there… well… I fed the fish on the way out anyway…

There were many different Angel Fish ~ Yellow ones, orange ones, blue and purple ones… so pretty! There were also yellow snappers, and black spotted eels. I also fed the fish on the way back in, but had a great dive…

The next dive we did was a couple of days later ~ El Ancla (The Anchor). There were so many fish! Big green ones, some kind of lizard like fish in the sand, a huge conch, and a spider crab. I didn’t feed the fish on this one!!!

The next day, we did Las Catalinetas (The Pork Fish). This was an awesome dive! There were these funky looking creatures that looked like they could eat us alive!! Ok… it turns out they were Spiny Lobsters, but they were the biggest freakin’ lobsters I’d ever seen!! They were close to 3′ long!!!!!!! We also saw a Moray Eel, and a couple of barracudas. Great day! Two days in a row, I didn’t feed the fish!!!

Two days later, we did Los Cajolones (The Trenches). This would have been my 8th logged dive. It was terribly wavy this particular day, and I started to feel sick on the boat. They helped me gear up and got me in the water. On previous dives, one of the DMs would descend with me, and wait until the others and my buddy came down. Not this time… we stayed on the surface for a good 10 – 15 minutes, while everyone decided what they were doing (some weren’t sure if they were going to come on this dive). I was not a happy camper, and was very very sick in the water. My buddy finally got in the water, and his tank slid off of his BC. I tried to help, but I was just too sick. There was another DM in front of him that helped. It seemed like an eternity before we finally descended, and when we were about 10 – 15′ down, I started to get severe vertigo, and came close to passing out. I knew this dive was over for me, so I called it. I gave the DM the big thumb, and surfaced. He tried to get me to go back down, but I said no way, Jose… So.. onto the boat I went. My buddy went along with the group. I continued being severely sick for an hour, while we waited for the others to return. The poor boat captain was trying to hand me water, but I couldn’t really take anything. We finally made it back to the resort, and I was absolutely done like dinner. I felt like I had been hit by a train. I couldn’t eat, but I tried to drink as much water as possible. I don’t even remember the evening at all. The dive op told me to come back in the morning, and they would give me a free dive, as I didn’t complete that one… which was so generous of them. I woke up in the morning, only to feel like ten trains had hit me… I couldn’t even see very well. I looked out the window, and the entire freakin’ ocean was a sheet of glass… unreal… There was no way I could dive today, and the ocean appeared to have stopped moving!!!!!!! I managed to head over to the dive shop (which was next door to the room), to let them know I was out for today’s dive. The boat was full anyway, so they weren’t able to accomodate me if I had felt well. They did tell me to come back at noon and do a shore dive with them though. I was hesitant, but at this point, I had absolutely no idea that there was diving in Canada (Lmao), so I wasn’t sure when the next time I’d be in the water was. I didn’t want that last experience to be engraved in my mind as the last dive I did. We were also flying out the next day, so this would be my last chance. Our flight was at night, so I would be good to go.

I dragged my arse over at noon, and am glad I did. This dive has to still be in my top 2 most amazing dives to date. It was so relaxing, shallow, easy, and really did make me feel alot better. We saw so many fish on this dive! We saw 3 stingrays, 2 Rockfish, a baby green eel, a flat fish, 2 conchs, 2 Sea Cucumbers, 2 anchors, 1 anchor chain, a school of needle nose fish, some kind of small spiky fish, porcupine fish, angel fish… holy smokes… It was incredible. It was also my first dive over 60 minutes. I am so glad I did that dive…

Here’s the dive boat…

Me with the crew!

There was a hike we did a few times… It was supposed to be a nice, nature walk…. Holy smokes… Nature walk my arse… We were climbing a freakin’ mountain! Here’s a pic of me at the top, looking down on the resort! It’s pretty cool that you can see the reef in the water!

I made alot of friends there, and some that I still keep to this day… from people that work at the resort, to a friend in England.

Ok… I could carry on with the pictures forever… It’s just hard to leave some of them out! This place holds a little piece of my heart.

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