The Last, Best Reefs in the World
by Robert Wintner
Cuba reefs host apex predators and coral cover at optimal levels. While Cuban reef vitality may be linked to economic default and no shoreline development, no agricultural pesticides or fertilizers and limited human population growth, the Castro regime is aggressively developing its reef potential.
Seas to the south are now 100% shark protected.
Most Cuba travelogues advise “getting off the beaten path,” but Reef Libre examines that path, to see where it might lead as things change. Will Cuba reefs remain protected? Or is this perilous age of natural decline a last chance to see a healthy reef system?
Robert Wintner and the Snorkel Bob Jardines de la Reina Expedition herein provide narrative insight with photos and video. First stop is the baseline: Havana urban density. Down south at Cayo Largo, reef collapse seems imminent with 600 guests changing daily, and the phosphate-laden laundry water flowing directly to the deep blue sea. Will Cuba’s Ministry of Tourism step up with the Jardines de la Reina paradigm? Rising from the Golfo de Ana María, Jardines is a thousand square miles of mangrove estuary, for ages compromised by constant extraction of its biggest predators, taken as food. Protected, it now rises on the world reef stage.
A DVD comes with the book in a paper sleeve glued to the inside cover. Reef Libre, the movie, runs about an hour.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of REEF LIBRE from Robert Wintner in exchange for an honest review.
It was my pleasure to be able to read REEF LIBRE and view the DVD included with this book.
The photography in the book was of such an incredible quality and so realistic that at times I felt like I was swimming the reefs myself. I was able to lose myself in the book’s images and found myself leafing back through it over and over.
Reading REEF LIBRE and watching the DVD was very educational and I enjoyed sharing the photos with my family as I was reading through this book.
REEF LIBRE is a book that I will treasure for years to come and it will hold an exclusive position among my collection to be passed along to future generations.
It is with a great deal of satisfaction that I give REEF LIBRE five steaming hot cups of Room With Books coffee.
©November 11, 2015
Best known as Snorkel Bob in Hawaii and around the world, Robert Wintner captures Cuba above and below the surface with urgency and hope. As a pioneer in fish portraiture, Wintner demonstrated social structure and etiquette in reef society. Reef Libre goes to political context, in which human folly will squander Cuba’s reefs as well—unless natural values can at last transcend political greed. As pundits joust over who did what to whom and why, Wintner ponders reef prospects in view of political changes.
Robert Wintner has authored many novels and story collections. Reef Libre is his fourth reef commentary with photos and his first overview of survival potential in a political maelstrom. He lives and works in Hawaii, still on the front lines of the campaign to stop the aquarium trade around the world.
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