CUBA TRAVEL JOURNAL

We Attempt to Scuba Dive at Rancho Luna

July 4, 1998 10:10pm

Today we hired a car to take us back to Rancho Luna. On the way, we encountered Cuban "cowboys", herding their cattle down the country roads.

Once at Rancho Luna, we met up with Omar, the manager of the only dive shop in the area for a day of diving.

  He equipped us with steel eighty cubic foot cylinders and took us a dive site he called "The Labrynth" in a small inflatable boat. The site consists of an extensive maze of coral caves and tunnels leading to the steep wall. The area had been fished out for years and the reefs looked tired.

Immediately upon my descent I found the air in my tank to be fouled with oil. I continued the dive for only a short while before I had to surface to be sick. Chris also had bad air and a check of the other tanks proved they were all foul. The compressor they have is very old with bad seals that leak oil into the air.

Omar was most apologetic and apparently is accustomed to the bad air. While he assured us a ship container was due to arrive in several weeks to replace all his old equipment we decided not to dive any more and empty the cylinders he had filled for us.

On our way back to Cienfuegos we frequently passed Cubans traveling from town to town in the back of open trucks.  

We returned to the boat and spent the afternoon working on the preparations to sail in two to three days, however we've now run out of water and may have to hand carry water from the shore to fill the holding tank before we can leave. I've asked about ice again and am told none is available until Monday, two days from now. All over fresh food is gone except the butter which we are keeping in a small refrigerator we are running on power stolen from a nearby lamp.

1998 John Petrak

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