Wow, it has been an interesting couple of weeks hasn't it? Fires here in the West, record flooding in Houston, a massive earthquake in Mexico, and then Irma. You have seen the news, and seen the destruction, but it may be that you have not heard too much about Cuba.
It seemed that the worst of Irma was going to miss most of the island, but indeed a good portion of the north coast was hit by the eye of the hurricane, and has been badly damaged. From Camaguey, to Ciego de Avila, Moron, Santa Clara, all the way to Havana people and buildings were hit hard. Wind and waves hit the capital hard flooding much of old Havana. Ten people were reported killed in Cuba as a result of the storm.
We have been getting news from our friends at Avalon and Fly FIshing the Run about the damage. The good news is that everyone we know connected to the fishing operations is OK. The southern coast of the island, the fishing destinations, and the equipment all seem to be intact. The operations along the northern coast, all through the Gardens of the King Archipelago are another story.
First of all, the causeways leading out to the cayes have seen significant breaches, and are already undergoing repairs. On the islands themselves, resorts, hotels, and even the airport at Cayo Coco have been heavily damaged. We have had reports as well that there has been damage to some of the fishing skiffs and the marinas. With these resorts, and the tourists who come to them such an important part of Cuba's economy, it is obvious that the government will make repairs here a priority.
I have a lot of friends now in Cuba, and have just started getting reports from them via e-mail. One friend in Ciego de Avila said that the night she and her family spent in their little house while Irma passed through was terrifying. She thought all the windows of the house were going to blow out, and their roof be torn off. They were lucky, and those things did not happen. But for them, and friends I have heard from in Havana, most people are still without electricity and water. She went on to say that they must move forward, but because almost everything was destroyed, it will take a lot of time.
For those of us thinking of fishing in Cuba, it pales in importance to the lives of our friends there and what they have gone through. That said, fishing will continue. As I mentioned, the southern operations of Jardines de la Reina, Cayo Largo, Isla de la Juventud and Zapata were relatively unaffected and will be operating. Cayo Cruz, Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria are another story, and will have to rebuild and recuperate. I am sure that they will all be available for anglers in 2018 but exactly when is another story. As we hear more news, we will pass it along.