Fishing in Gibara

Photographs by Gonzalo Vidal (all rights reserved).

Bahía de GibaraThe ocean is the first sight that greets you when you arrive in Gibara. Not the wide open expanse, but the tiny fragment that lingers trapped by the curves of the coast. On the motionless bay the small boats drift, their masters still seeking to drag a precarious living out of the abandoned waters, once the route of Gibara’s wealth, now the symbol of the town’s stagnation.

Fishing in GibaraAt the start of the recent film made by the Cuban director Enrique ‘Kiki’ Alvarez, Marina (2011), the story’s eponymous heroine reflects: “The first time my father brought me to Gibara, he tells me that I said that the boats were toys, and that I believed that I could catch them in my hand. But I don’t remember anything. All I remember is that I always wanted him to bring me down to the seawall. To count the boats, in case any were missing.”

Fishing in GibaraWhile those with actual boats belong to what is known by the locals as the “fishing cooperative”, though in fact they work for the provincial fishing company PESCAHOL, many others go out on the inflated inner tubes of truck tyres, wading and swimming through the muddied waters to catch what they can. Squids, octopuses, whatever fish their lines can entangle. Food for their homes, to sell to allcomers on the rocky shore, or knocking on those few doors where money can still buy alimentary variety.

The following sonnets, evoking Gibara’s relationship to the sea, were written by local poets, and first published in the literary bulletin Arrecife, produced by Gibara’s municipal library.

En azul movimiento rutilante
Se adueña del paisaje colorido;
Viajero por gaviotas perseguido
En su viaje salobre y ondulante.

Presencia en marejada resonante
Riega en el viento musical sonido,
Penetrando en el puerto y el oído
La canción del oleaje fascinante.

Y emerge de sus líquidos cristales
La sumergida esencia marinera
De caracoles, peces y corales.

De azules besos en la piel playera
Y en sus manos de espumas a raudales
La desnuda cintura costanera.
By William Cuesta Mora
Fishing in GibaraFishing in Gibara

Gaviota fue mi infancia entre tu arena
Secretos compartidos, marejada
Trayendo una esperanza a mi enramada;
Balandro que encalló y tu amor carena.

Nostalgia tu salitre en mi memoria,
Presente está tu azul en mis congojas,
Aguas de sueños, que mis manos mojas,
Y un nauta descubrió para tu gloria.

Amigo confesor de mis temores,
Cómplice de añoranzas y de amores.
Refugio de marinos y barquillas,

Si algún día te echaran al olvido,
Aquí me encontrarán, a ti fundido,
Pescando una quimera en tus orillas.
By Arsenio Valdés Bruceta

Fishing in GibaraFishing in Gibara
Entrelaza el perfume de su aliento
Anhelos que florecen en sus olas,
Beso de sal, rumor de caracolas,
Dulce murmullo, paz del pensamiento.

Lecho de las gaviotas y marinos,
Sueño y sustento de los pescadores,
Magia que deslumbró conquistadores,
Hechizo que cautiva peregrinos.

Es fuerza, enigma, marejada y calma;
Bondad revela la humedad de su alma
Entre el azul que juega con la brisa.

Su eterna voz de resplandor y bruma
Descubre los secretos de la espuma
Y alegra la ciudad con su sonrisa.
By Eugenio González Aguilera

Fishing in Gibara

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