Cuba reefs host apex predators and coral cover at optimal levels. While Cuban reef vitality may be linked to economic default and no shoreline development, no agricultural pesticides or fertilizers and limited human population growth, the Castro regime is aggressively developing its reef potential.
Seas to the south are now 100% shark protected.
Most Cuba travelogues advise “getting off the beaten path,” but Reef Libre examines that path, to see where it might lead as things change. Will Cuba reefs remain protected? Or is this perilous age of natural decline a last chance to see a healthy reef system?
Robert Wintner and the Snorkel Bob Jardines de la Reina Expedition herein provide narrative insight with photos and video. First stop is the baseline: Havana urban density. Down south at Cayo Largo, reef collapse seems imminent with 600 guests changing daily, and the phosphate-laden laundry water flowing directly to the deep blue sea. Will Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism step up with the Jardines de la Reina paradigm? Rising from the Golfo de Ana María, Jardines is a thousand square miles of mangrove estuary, for ages compromised by constant extraction of its biggest predators, taken as food. Protected, it now rises on the world reef stage.
A DVD comes with the book in a paper sleeve glued to the inside cover. Reef Libre, the movie, runs about an hour.
Best known as Snorkel Bob in Hawaii and around the world, Robert Wintner captures Cuba above and below the surface with urgency and hope. As a pioneer in fish portraiture, Wintner demonstrated social structure and etiquette in reef society. Reef Libre goes to political context, in which human folly will squander Cuba’s reefs as well—unless natural values can at last transcend political greed. As pundits joust over who did what to whom and why, Wintner ponders reef prospects in view of political changes.
Robert Wintner has authored many novels and story collections. Reef Libre is his fourth reef commentary with photos and his first overview of survival potential in a political maelstrom. He lives and works in Hawaii, still on the front lines of the campaign to stop the aquarium trade around the world.
Though while watching the DVD, I often felt like I was back in school watching one of those films in science class. It was filled with the most interesting information about the reefs and Cuba, as well as had beautiful imagery, but it was a little boring.
The video and the book accompanied each other well. Most of the information in the book is in the film, but the book is a little more detailed. The photos are breathtaking in the book. I found myself lingering often.
The coral is the star though. So many different species of coral and in so many sizes and shapes. Frankly, the narrator said it best when he said the coral reef is 'Neptune's Artwork'. It couldn't be more true.
People who love fish, aquatic or ocean life will definitely want to get this. Even those travel lovers who have an eye on Cuba with enjoy it too. It has enough content in it to be great for tourism information!
All proceeds for the book and DVD are going to a coalition that aims at banning the aquarium trade, worldwide. For more info check out oceandoctor.org
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**No compensation was received for posting. A copy was provided to facilitate a review. Freda's Voice is not responsible for the giveaway or prize shipment. Opinions are owned by this site.