Italians Mirtha Mitterhofir, Astryd Ambacha, and Joseph Juliany enjoyed their trips along Havana’s northern coastline organized by the Marlin Tarará Marina, a nautical services provider located east of Havana.
The three international visitors noted that they felt very comfortable aboard the yacht captained by Captain Florencio Moreno Cruz, with 42 years sailing experience and who now dedicates his time to taking tourists out to experience the island’s maritime wonders.
Speaking to Granma International, Moreno Cruz explained, “During the trips guests can try sport fishing or just sit back and relax. We also visit coral reefs where they can scuba dive to the bottom of our insular platform.”
He also noted that the safety of all persons on board - passengers and crew alike - is guaranteed, as every vessel is equipped with safety gear required by international regulations, such as life vests with lights and whistles to be used in the event of an emergency or accident.
According to the experienced sailor, Cuba’s generally calm, warm waters make it the perfect place for nautical activities, with sailing an option year round.
Only in the event of a cold front or hurricane are maritime activities prohibited.
Carlos Moreno Cruz, also a scuba diving instructor with over 20 years experience, added that Tarará is home to over 20 diving sites, with depths ranging between five and 30 meters and “several shipwrecks and natural underwater museums to visit.”
As such, the Tarará Marina offers scuba diving courses in French, English, and Spanish for beginners and those wishing to acquire their international diving certification, with theory classes and practical sessions conducted in either the swimming pool or sea.
OTHER NAUTICAL SERVICES
In regards to other nautical services provided by the facility, Yublein Moreira Lam, head of the Marina’s Marketing Department, noted that they offer a wide variety of boat and shore snorkeling packages.
Equipment for such activities is also available to rent at 14 nautical kiosks across Havana’s Playas del Este region, where clients can also hire catamarans; peddle, sailing, or row boats; kayaks; and other nautical equipment.
The Marina has a long tradition of organizing regattas to celebrate important historic dates or at the request of Havana’s Public Administration Council, with boat-shows along the capital’s famous waterfront.
Meanwhile, the center is currently working on preparations for a fishing tournament in honor of Hispanic Day, in the month of October.
In this regard, Regino Pérez Campos, who has worked as a sales representative at the Marina for over 20 years, noted that the initiative emerged following requests by various Spanish residents living in Cuba and is scheduled to take place October 12, to coincide with the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas.
As such, Regino Pérez Campos stated that the four-day fishing competition is open to anyone from around the world, and that among other trophies, prizes will be awarded for the largest catch, as points are awarded in accordance with the size of the fish. “With this tournament we are aiming to raise the marina’s profile among travel agencies and hotel facilities.”
A SUCCESSFUL ENTERPRISE
The Marlin Tarará Marina is making the most of Cuba’s warm, calm waters and vast marine biodiversity, to promote its leading product, seafaris, available at various points along the island’s coastline. Meanwhile the formidable fishing zone, where currents from the Gulf and Mexico and Atlantic merge bringing with them shoals of most unique kinds of fish, is found only one kilometer away.
In this regard, Ramón Jiménez Romero, director of the enterprise, highlighted the efforts of the approximately 70 employees who work at the marina and the 14 nautical kiosks located along the 20 kilometer stretch of beach in Playa del Este.
The director added, “This structure enables us to meet our annual sales targets in Cuban convertible pesos (CUC). This year we expect to contribute 625,000 CUC to the country; and with the implementation of revenue generating strategies have already reached 78% in the first half of the year and expect to arrive at 133% before the end of the year. We are benefiting from the rise in international tourists currently traveling to the country.”
Regarding the facility’s priorities, Jiménez Romero mentioned improving the quality of services, raising the level of professionalism among staff in their interactions with tourists and clients, and diversifying marine and nautical offers and creating new products.
He went on to note that protecting the environment also features among the center’s important lines of work. “The maritime environment in which we work is clean and healthy, but we must take good care of it,” noted the director.
Talking about the Marina’s history, he recalled that the after the national literacy campaign ended in 1961, youths from all of the country’s provinces came to Havana to continue their studies and were housed in facilities located in the Tarará complex, where the Antón Makarenko Pedagogical school was also founded. Jiménez Romero also explained that the José Martí camp for young elementary school children was inaugurated there in 1975, while the center also received children affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, throughout the 1990s.
The complex hosted a program developed by the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Education for Cuban children suffering from bronchial asthma and diabetes. By 2005 the center was receiving patients from Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean, to be treated for visual impairments, cataracts, and retinitis pigmentosa, as part of the joint Cuba-Venezuela ophthalmological rehabilitation program known as Operation Miracle, launched in 2004.
These special programs continued and on October 15, 2007, the facility received the first group of Chinese students who had come to Cuba to study Spanish.
Lifeguard, Edo Torres, has fond memories of these times: “I spoke with Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz on various occasions because he took a personal interest in the treatment and care being received by the Cuban pioneers and children from Chernobyl.”
Overall Torres, founder of the Marlin Tarará Marina, recommends visiting the shallow part of the beach at anytime, but preferably during the coolest times of the day: between seven and nine in the morning, or five and seven in the afternoon, because according to him, “beside easing joint pain, and cure skin and respiratory conditions, the sea also helps to relieve the body of psychological stress.”