Ever since they were discovered by human beings, islands are seen from the ocean and look out toward the ocean.
Perhaps living on islands is what makes us curious people, with an insatiable need for exploring the unknown, going beyond borders and taking risks. But going through that experience together in life within a small space also anchors us and unites us.
The relationship between Cubans and the sea is a very intimate one. A walk along Havana’s Malecón — or any of Cuba’s seawall promenades — is proof of that. From all parts of the city they come, every day: hundreds of people, for an indispensable encounter with the smell and the color of the ocean. Couples in love, groups of friends, families, fishermen, young people who have been up all night and those who are just trying to escape the stifling heat of summer.
It is hard to find a Cuban who can go very long without seeing the ocean and not miss it. In my case, the need to be close to the sea was an early revelation. I remember that walking along the Malecón was the first thing I did when my parents allowed me to go out alone. It was also where I received my first romantic kiss, and many an evening ended on the Malecón amid guitar music and friends. It was also there, with the waters of the Caribbean as a backdrop, that I first met the person who would be the love of my life.
Like many others, I have confessed my secrets, joys and sadness to the sea. It has been an important part of my life, my needs and my affections.
We have devoted this issue of OnCuba to the sea, to that beautiful sea that marks us as Cubans. We present you with articles that illustrate different ways of relating to the sea. Through Natalia Bolívar’s expert pen, we come closer to Yemayá, the mother of life and ruler of all waters. We come in contact with the blue magic of Alicia Leal, and, through the lenses of brilliant underwater photographers, we dive to the depths of the sea to discover its mysteries.