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  • Brady Stroh

Blue Caribbean Pigs

Oh my... it's the Bay of Pigs

It’s another cool, damp, dreary February day and I'm penned up inside. So I decided to spend a little time sorting through some pictures I had taken a few years ago. Since the geologist/geographer in me tends to bleed through quite often I, of course, gravitated to an album of aerial images. I came across the one displayed above.

If you are lucky enough to have a window seat on an airplane, at the right time of day, with a good sun angle, and modest cloud cover you may be able to capture some interesting images. That was the case as we were flying over the Caribbean one morning en-route to Miami from Guayaquil. The light and cloud conditions were perfect on this day so I got out the iPhone and started clicking.

The whites, blues, aquas, browns, and greens seemed otherworldly as we passed over the hundreds of islands, reefs, lagoons, and shorelines of the Caribbean Sea. Swirls of submerged sand from eroding corals and pencil thin lines of breakers could be seen through the clear shallow coastal waters. We were seven miles from earth observing a passing planet. Soon we would descend and land on yet another planet — Dade County Florida.

I spent over an hour absorbing the detail in the image above on my 32” monitor — each "zoom-in" revealed fascinating new features until the image eventually began to pixelate. But then it dawned on me... other than being somewhere in the Caribbean, I had no idea where that picture was taken. I knew we were about an hour from landing. The main land mass in the frame was very large, and we soon passed over its northern shore.

OF COURSE... it was Cuba! But where on the Cuban coast was it? I had not a clue.

It was time to open up GoogleMaps and take a virtual tour of that coast. I zoomed in and followed the shoreline until I found a place that matched the look of my iPhone click. Well, what a surprise!

I had flown over and taken a picture of the Bay of Pigs... THE BAY OF PIGS!!!!!

Bay of Pigs image from GoogleMaps

If you were born after about 1960, the Bay of Pigs probably means nothing to you. But if you were in elementary school in the early to mid 1960’s, and you remember the air raid sirens and those ridiculous “duck and cover” drills (follow the link and watch the video), then you probably also remember the Bay of Pigs invasion that led to the terrifying Cuban missile crisis.

So there it is, my iPhone image of the Bay of Pigs with more detail than the CIA probably had in the images they used to plan the failed attack on Fidel. I naively passed over the coastline that served as the pathway to a near nuclear confrontation with the Russians and... all I saw was the beauty of nature. Sometimes naivete is golden.

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