Thursday and Friday Dec 2, 3– Salinas Flats to Ourselves!
We took advantage of arriving a few days early and fished the flats while also making sure the boats were working properly. (Safety first....so we made the sacrifice.) It was a good thing too as there was a problem with the larger boat that Terry and I shared the first day. We had a great day regardless and landed some unique species we don't typically see inside the flats while throwing poppers and trolling.
We did see a couple of “illegal fishing boats” that were reported to the park headquarters once phone reception was available. One boat was apparently charged for poaching in the park and not allowed to fish again for 6 months. I have very mixed feelings about this. The situation in Cuba is extremely challenging, and people are trying to make money or feed their family any way they can. Fishing within the National park is off limits and all the fishermen in the area know this. They also know that the Cuban justice system is not overly forgiving, but they still take the risk.... The vast majority of people in Canada simply do not have to take these types of risks to live day to day. The flip side is that for conservation purposes, and the value the flats fish represent to the local economy, the fish within the Park must be protected.
Our second day we took two boats and a couple of the new guides “in training” with Felipe so he could show them a new area, and let them pole “real clients” around. Terry and I were happy to help train these new young guides. The next generation of Salinas guides is learning and they are keen. We were excited to be there to help start the process. The other really good thing with the two boats together allowed us to take some pictures.
It was a fantastic day.
The water was a bit cool in the morning, so the fish were not in the shallows but as soon as 11 a.m. came around and the sun was up high enough the bones started to become very active. We did well and ended the day walking to tailing bonefish in 6” of water! It was so good to be back on the flats hunting fish again. It is a special type of fishing! We saw one permit just to tease us and a couple of groups of baby tarpon on the flats just for good measure!
Saturday, Dec 4th First Clients in Two Years set to arrive.
Terry and I had a very relaxing day. The highlight was visiting the house that has become a hub for bird watchers. It was a 3-minute walk from our Casa. We arrived to meet the only other tourist we had seen up until that time. A bird watcher from England who was staying in Cuba for a month. We were surrounded by birds of all types including the Cuban Emerald and the worlds smallest bird the Bee Hummingbird. I spent 3.5 hours in this garden setting visiting with long time guide friend Juan Carlos. Terry set up some great pictures with the equipment he had. This garden is definitely a place where a good camera and lens can produce some spectacular bird photography.
The brothers, Mike and Steve, arrived right on schedule and welcomed to their home for the week Villa Rio-Mar. They were greeted in Varadero by Pablo our driver for the week and were on their way in no time as usual.
Link to Instalment Three
Additional Instalments to follow.