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March 30, 2005

Off the coast of Cuba. Wednesday, March 30, 2005

BY: Maribel Lopez



Maribel López

At dawn we can see in the distance a line that sketches, through the morning fog, Cuba’s silhouette. The night has been calm and the morning begins the same. This allows us to observe from the Ranger’s deck that between the floating sargassum we can see the small fish that take refuge underneath. Others blend in, like the Sargassum pipefish (Syngnathus pelagicus).

We have passed through some places where there were Portugese man-of-war. This jellyfish, which looks like a medusa, has a painful sting with its long tentacles that can, on occasion, be fatal.

Ricardo Aguilar shouts “whale!!!” We all follow his finger toward where, for a few seconds, he saw the dorsal fin of a whale. It seems to have been a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), but because of the rapidity with which it dove, after showing its tail, and its distance from the boat we couldn’t be sure. We wait for more than forty minutes watching every centimeter of ocean around us. It doesn’t reappear.  

During the sunset, with this almost impossible light of oranges and blues, a pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins appear playing around the Ranger’s prow – they jump, zigzag, dive, rocket back to the surface, show off their best pirouettes for minutes on end; then, as the light fades and the day ends, they offer their goodbye in a dance that looks choreographed and with agile and clean movement are lost in the darkness that has by now fallen over the sea.