Cuba Feb 2019

 

This adventure will tease your senses and get the adrenaline pumping faster than a Ferrari.  The first part of our expedition is a sojourn to Cuba - to the Gardens of the Queen (Jardines de la Reina) a marine reserve lost in time. Imagine....no commercial fishing of any kind, no inhabitants, no industry of any form and only one dive operator. The reefs have never been touched and swarm with sharks, schooling fishes, groupers of all descriptions and sizes. The gigantic jewfish (aka the goliath grouper), that have largely vanished from other Caribbean nations long ago are abundantly found here, as are Saltwater Crocodiles.  The Gardens of the Queen is our planet's last hidden paradise. Join us for this magical experience.

Choice of Departures:

February 2  - 9, 2019  USD 3800

or  February 9 - 16, 2019  USD 3800

Make your reservation now – only 14 spots per trip.

 Cuba

First named by Christopher Columbus in honour of Queen Isabella, the Gardens of the Queen was established as a national park with an area of 2,170 square kilometres, and is Cuba's oldest and largest protected area. Thanks to Fidel Castro (a diver himself), who rigidly enforced preservation of the area, there is no commercial fishing of any kind, no inhabitants and no industry of any form.  There is only one dive operator, which is a government-controlled joint venture. 

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Without a doubt due to its exclusivity and the immense diversity of marine life, Gardens of the Queen is the best kept secret of the Caribbean.  Sanctioned by the world’s biggest economy, and restricted from mass tourism, the reserve is a time capsule, possibly the norm for most coral reefs in the Caribbean over a half century ago. The largest populations of big fishes are the sharks, snappers, groupers and up to 200 kilo Goliath goupers that are daily sightings. Shark dives are one of the main attractions - expect to dive with 6 different species; Caribbean, Silky, Lemon, Blacktip, Nurse and if we are fortunate, the Great Hammerhead.  The one and only dive operator provides hosts no more than 700 divers per year. Dive sites are well protected from the winds and currents. Visibility average 40m in the Winter months and 20m in Summer.  

Watch images from our recent shoot - https://vimeo.com/167361590

 

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Highlights

Black, Tiger, and the enormous Goliath groupers

Sharks swimming over lush reefs

Congregations of Silky sharks in blue water

Tarpons also known as the Silver Kings! (Megalops atlanticus)

Get up-close with saltwater crocodiles – both above and underwater

Spectacular mangrove forests

Lush pristine reefs swarming with fishes

Friendly Hutia (Capromys pilorides) – endemic to Cuba

Possible encounter with the Great Hammerhead

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  Itinerary - Cuba

Departure 1

2 Feb - Depart Havana for Jardines de la Reina 7am

9 Feb - depart Jardines 9am to return Havana by 4pm (approx)

Departure 2  

9 Feb - Depart Havana for Jardines de la Reina 7am

16 Feb - depart Jardines 9am to return Havana by 4pm ( Approx)

 

How to get there – fly via London, Madrid, Frankfurt, Moscow, Panama City, Cancun, Mexico City, Lima

Expedition Leader -   Michel AW – author and professional underwater photographer & Ron Watkins Photographer

About Ron Watkins

Ron Watkins is a professional photographer, writer, explorer, trip leader and photography instructor specializing in underwater and topside nature photography. Through his imagery, Ron is committed to raising awareness of the challenges facing our fragile ecosystems and threatened marine life in hopes of promoting conservation.

As a trip leader and photography instructor, with experience in diving in diverse environments around the world, Ron is known as an adventurer who is passionate about sharing his knowledge of photography techniques and helping his clients capture images of unique subjects and behavior. He shares his experience through engaging photography and post processing presentations, 1-on-1 mentoring, in-water instruction and making himself very approachable to everyone no matter their skill level.   Whether helping his clients capture a once in a lifetime photo of a transient pod of orcas in the Galapagos, crocodiles in Cuba, giant Humboldt squid in the Sea of Cortez, or rare salmon sharks in Alaska, Ron always has a focus on safety, organization, education, conservation and adventure. Through thorough research and scouting of the environment, marine life and behavior, Ron is able to ensure the best photography and educational experience possible.

Inclusions:

Transfers to/from Gardens of the Queens, 7 nights twin share, full board and 15 dives at Tortuga at Gardens of the Queen.

OG photographic expedition package comprises of expert photo advice, providing you with the best photographic opportunities, expedition dry fit t-shirt, Ocean Geographic E membership included

Additional Payments:

Hotel accommodation in Havana if required ( A Hotels in the vicinty of Parque Central Hotel, Old Havana is recommended ) Inscription fee ( fuel surcharge and park fees) USD 200 - subject to change plus Marine Park Consertavation fee USD 100 ( mandatory for all vistors to Gardens of the Queen as of 1st Jan 2017), Transfers USD 100

 

Price:

Part 1: Cuba- 2  to 9 February – USD 3800 (plus inscription fee/parkfee/fuel/conservation fee/trasnfers USD 400) 

Part 2: Cuba- 9 to 16 February – USD 3800 (plus inscription fee(park fee/fuel/conservation fee/transfers USD 400)

Deposit: USD 1800  Balance Due: 90 days before departure

 

If you need further information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you are ready to book please go to booking link

CLICK HERE to book your spot for CUBA

Booking is not confirmed until deposit is paid. Payment details for payment of deposit will be provided once booking is completed. Booking username and password is not the same as your OG username and password. If you are new trip client you can leave the existing client login blank and complete the booking . If you are an existing trip client please check with us first and we will let you know your trip client user ID and password which will enable you a much quicker booking process.

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