Geography, politics, and other factors have allowed Cuba to
preserve the region's most pristine coast and offshore marine
environment. Deep Cuba recounts Bill Belleville's
month-long journey around the island in the company of American and
Cuban marine biologists and a Discovery Channel film crew. It was
the first, and so far only, United States submersible research
expedition in Cuban waters. From coral reefs to mangrove swamps to
a submerged volcanic mountain, the voyagers encountered sublimely
wild places unseen before by anyone from the United States--or even
by many Cubans.
Belleville conveys the tempo of the scientists' workday, during
which the routine gathering of data and specimens could be
punctuated by trips in a state-of-the-art submersible, the
discovery of new species, or a tropical storm. Throughout the trip,
as well, all on board had to work through differences that arose
from the expedition's contrary goals: to produce a commercially
viable seagoing adventure film and to conduct controlled,
methodical scientific investigations.
Belleville paces his coverage of the expedition with absorbing
stories about the history and culture of the island's peoples, from
the indigenous Taino to its current inhabitants of African and
European heritage. Deep Cuba even includes a candid
portrait of Castro himself. An avid diver, sport fisherman, and
naturalist, El Comandante paid a visit aboard the research
Deep Cuba is an engaging mix of nature and travel
writing, along with scientific reportage that is keenly attuned to
current crises in research funding. Revealed here is a magnificent
marine world with crucial ecological links to the Caribbean Basin
and the southeastern United States.
Subjects: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
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