"Everything about him was old, except his eyes that were of the same color of the sea, cheerful and challenging", Hemingway wrote in his most important work. In this way, he used to describe his inseparable friend Gregorio Fuentes, born on July 11th, 1897 in Canary Islands and transferred to Cuba next to his parents when he was only six years old.
They met each other in 1928 in Dry Turtle, but the friendly strings were deeper at the beginning of the 30’s when Ernest, astonished by the careful work that Gregorio carried out, hired him to work in the yacht El Pilar.
A passion for fishing united these two men.The open sea was the beginning of a great literary career and legend. Fuentes was a sailor by nature: he survived four hurricanes, he swam all along infested waters of sharks to rescue a man that was drowning, and he could feel in his bones the exact place for where the fish, as to say the marlin and others would pass.
He always lived in a humble house in the fishing town of Cojímar. He lived till the age of 104 years, when that Sunday morning his tired heart stopped beating, maybe while his mind was getting into another marine adventure.
A few months before the farewell, Gregorio received the honorary title of Captain of the International Association of Fishing as a Sport (IGFS ). That day, in the Nautical Club that takes his boss's name, that vivid legend told anecdotes and always talked cheerily, with his inseparable cigar in the hands.
After the suicide of Hemingway, Fuentes never returned to the sea and never took a fishing rod. He always refused to accept the fact of Papa’s death, when qualifying of non-sense the causes of the suicide and in more than one occasion he referred to Papa’s death
as a conspiracy.
"I have not stopped crying "Papa" not even a day in these years", said the old fisherman the day in which he was turning 100 years celebreting with friends. Once, Hemingway referred to Gregorio and simply wrote: "It was a luck to find him."