Peter Fowler’s Travel Focus – Jardines De La Reina , Cuba

Photo by Sean Landsman

                                            Photo by Sean Landsman

Old Ottawa East welcomed yet another talented photographer last fall when Sean Landsman and his wife, Sarah McConnachie, moved into the community. An Instructor in Carleton University’s new Interdisciplinary Science and Practice program, Landsman “moonlights as an underwater photographer and freelance science writer, a natural fit with my background as a fisheries ecologist”. In this dramatic underwater shot, taken during the couple’s 2017 honeymoon in Cuba, Landsman captures three streamlined Caribbean reef sharks, typically found in the tropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Brazil and measuring up to three metres in length.

Sean Landsman: We stayed with a local husband and wife in Santa Clara for two or three nights and then spent a week on a live-aboard dive boat diving one of the most spectacular areas in the world – the Jardines de la Reina (Garden of the Queen). This area remains perhaps the most pristine coral reef ecosystem in all of the Caribbean, thanks to a limited number of divers allowed per year and the relatively low amount of coastal development in Cuba compared to other parts of the Caribbean.

The underwater photo shows three Caribbean reef sharks I encountered on one of my dives. Jardines de la Reina is known for its abundance of predators – we swam with sharks every dive, and even crocodiles in the mangroves in between dives! There is really no feeling like swimming up close with sharks. It’s not for everyone, but for those that are willing to try, it can be a life-changing experience.

They are stunningly graceful and surprisingly curious. I like this photo in particular because it conveys their gracefulness and the abundance of sharks at the site. The circular arrangement of the sharks keeps the viewer focused on the animals themselves

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