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Help Cuba Defeat Lionfish!
By Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost Travel Journalist
Cuba has a lionfish infestation just like every other island in the Caribbean, and if you are a certified scuba diver, you can help the island knock down the population of these pesky invaders. (And have a REALLY good time doing it.)
Guy Harvey Outpost Expeditions Adventures will host a weeklong trip to Cuba Sept. 14-20 to compete in the Maria La Gorda Lionfish Derby in the clear, warm waters of the Guanahacabibes National Park in the Pinar del Rio province on the island’s southwestern tip. When I dived there in June, I spotted multiple lionfish on every dive, so I can assure you that you’ll have no trouble locating them.
Like other waters where they don’t belong– such as the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, the exotic peppermint-striped fish from the Indo Pacific are wreaking havoc with Cuba’s native fish populations. So Cuban government officials are granting an exemption to allow lionfish spearing in the Guanahacabibes no-take marine reserve just for the tournament. Competitors may use Hawaiian slings, pole spears and spear guns. Prizes will be awarded for the biggest, smallest and most lionfish harvested, and there will be a lionfish cooking competition.
Your tournament headquarters is the Maria La Gorda International Diving Center which provides dive boats, rental gear, lodging, and dining facilities. But that’s not all: this expedition will be hosted by Cuba native Yoel Gonzalez and includes a two-night stay in the island’s capital of Old Havana where you can take in the early 20th century architecture; ride in vintage American automobiles; sample excellent Cuban rum, cigars and cuisine; and enjoy music and dancing entertainment.
This bucket-list adventure is limited to 40 travelers and will fill up fast. The last Guy Harvey Outpost Cuba expedition in June closed out one hour after its announcement, so you don’t want to wait too long to make up your mind. It’s an opportunity to have great fun while benefitting the marine environment and getting a peek at life in what’s been a closed society to all but a few American visitors for the past 50 years.
For more information and reservations, go to HERE or call 1-844-837-2731.
Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on GuyHarveyOutpostNews.com/. For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling, camping, sailing and powerboat racing. She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit.
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