In the Kingdom of Neptune
By: Heidy González Cabrera Photos by Prensa Latina
Foam tracks trail from the propeller of our boat as we head toward the end of the island's shelf where the ocean water is many feet deep. What at a distance seemed to be inviting blue water turns dark and mysterious, albeit serene, as our engine becomes silent and we come to a stop.
People on deck get into their suits, but some are already set to jump into the sea. A smil ing girl sits at the edge of the boat adjust ing her wet suit. She gives us a happy sign and executes a smooth backward fl ip into the deep waters.
The girl is part of a group of youngsters repeating their visit to Cuba in order to dive in its warm waters; so warm, according to them, that they could spend many hours below the surface. And indeed, to this observer, they seem to stay below eternally.
The main focus of scuba diving in Cuba is to preserve the sea ecosystems based on a suitable infrastructure.
Cuba's international diving centers have diving gear, special ized vessels, first aid kits, communication devices and instructors endorsed by the World Underwater Federation (CMAS), the American Canadian Underwater Certifications, Inc. and other international institutions.
There is also a national system of hyperbaric chambers scattered around the country and 24 hour special ized medical assistance all year round.
At the end of the day, the young divers come up proudly displaying the images taken in the deep: the coral of surprising forms, the many-coloured fish, different varieties of sponges and other sea marvels proclaim the existence of an indubitable paradise.
Neptune, god of the seas in Roman mythology, provided this area of the planet with 850 kilometres of coral reef and this, his kingdom, is considered among the most picturesque on the planet.