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  • Writer's pictureAndy Scaysbrook

The Malecon Fisherman

The waves splash over a Fisherman on The Malecon, Havana
The waves splash over a Fisherman on The Malecon, Havana

Cubas world famous Malecon in Havana is synonomous with many things. It has seen everything from revolution to racing. In the 1950’s the road was the used as the course for the Cuban Grand Prix which ran until the early 1960’s. The race was most famous for the kidnapping of Juan Manuel Fangio the Argentinian racing driver who was kidknapped by Fidel Castros men with the aim of drawing attention to their revolutionary activities. Fangio was later released and praised his captors for their integrity and hospitality.

Nowadays the Malecon is a gathering point and a social hub for Cubans who gather to play music and socialise there every night.

The locals use their fishing time as a social occassion
The locals use their fishing time as a social occassion

The Malecon is also used by many Havanians as a food source. The rich waters of the Caribbean sea that surround Havana boast a plethora of sea life. The locals can be seen fishing there on a daily basis often late into the night. They gather on the huge wall that protects the road from the raging sea and fish there for hours on end. The fish are sold to restauranteurs and locals stop by to purchase the days catch for their families. Many people fish here purely to survive. Food rations dictate the lives of the Cubans and produce can some times be scarce. People can never be sure of what will be available in the government run stores so any chance to secure fresh produce is seized upon with great vigour.

The local Rum
The local Rum

The spirit amongst the Fishermen is good. As with all Cubans they are welcoming and friendly and are happy to share their Rum and cigarettes with me - in fact, they insist! I ask them what they catch most “ Red snapper is our favourite” they tell me “ but we are happy with whatever we can get” As I shoot the men pull out a wide range of fish, some tiny little tiddlers that are then used as bait for the bigger fish and a range of larger fish. The big fish bring great joy to their faces as they cheer each other as the land another catch.

Catch of the day
Catch of the day

Catch of the day
Loading up the bait

Fishermen Cuba
Waves and the rod

Cuban Fisherman
Waiting for a bite

Cuban fishermen
The light of the day begins to face

Cuban Fishermen
Waves break over the Malecons sea defences

The temperatures are high, its November and the evening sun is going down but the temperature is still in the late 80’s as the waves crash against the Malecon walls soaking the fishermen in the process. They laugh as cooling water washes over them “ The waves are most welcome” they tell me “ they bring in the big fish and the water keeps us cool” As I’m crouched down shooting picture a huge wave smashes against the wall and a sole fishermen takes the full brunt of it. He looks at me and grins “ today I am wet but I’m no longer hungry!”  That the spirit of the Cubans, down but never defeated.

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