The treacherous Florida Straits


It’s very hard to swim the Florida Straits from Havana to Florida, there are so many physical obstacles that could hamper and abruptly halt the attempt entirely. The Associated Press report on Diana Nyad’s 2nd attempt on this feat explains, in detail, how unpleasantly treacherous it is and was. Unfortunately Nyad failed again as she stopped short. There’s additional information on how Australian endurance swimmer, Susie Maroney, successfully swam the estimated 90 miles in 1997 in a shark cage. Here’s the whole article (Please Read):

Endurance athlete Diana Nyad ended her swimming ultramarathon from Cuba to Florida on Sunday after medics warned another painful sting from a Portuguese Man o’ War could be life threatening, Nyad team members said.

Nyad was very swollen from multiple stings to her face and body, said Vanessa Linsley, who worked on Nyad’s team.

The 62-year-old swimmer had completed at least 49 miles of the 103-mile passage of the treacherous Florida Straits. She soldiered through the stings, at one point cutting eye and mouth holes through a swim cap she wore over her face to prevent future stings.

But by late morning, medics warned toxins from the stings were building up and another sting could be serious.

In a Facebook posting, Nyad’s team said she called out to her team from the water, saying medical experts told her not to go another two nights in the water.

According to the post, Nyad told her team: “But for each of us, isn’t life about determining your own finish line? This journey has always been about reaching your own other shore no matter what it is, and that dream continues.”

Linsley said Nyad was about to get out of the water and was surrounded by her support team.

Nyad was making her second attempt in as many months at the Cuba-Florida crossing, a lifelong dream that she first tried as a 28-year-old back in 1978, when she swam inside a steel shark cage for about 42 hours before ending the attempt. A cageless attempt this past August fell short 29 hours in when, gasping for breath, Nyad threw in the towel after an 11-hour asthma attack she blamed on a bad reaction to a new medicine.

Australian swimmer Susie Maroney successfully swam the shark-filled waters from Cuba through the Straits and to the Keys in 1997, though she used a cage. Nyad was trying to become the first to finish it without a cage.

Earlier in her latest swim, Nyad received oxygen and a steroid shot from her doctors and was treading water while she recovered from the stings.

After that, her team said in a website update that a so-called “staged swim record” would still be valid as long as she was on the boat only for treatment and not to rest — rather than a nonstop record.

Nyad’s website said she spent the night trying to recall favorite songs and thinking upbeat thoughts while slipping through the waters under a nighttime sky bristling with stars and a sliver of a crescent moon.

The swimmer faced other obstacles aside from the man o’ war stings. On Saturday, handlers spotted barracudas in the area, and she got a visit from a curious Oceanic white tipped shark that was shooed off by a support diver.

Without a cage to protect her, Nyad relied on equipment surrounding her with an electrical field that is harmless but deters most sharks. Her divers are there to gently discourage any who make it through. But not all encounters with marine life were unpleasant. Earlier in her journey, 10 pilot whales emerged in the distance ahead of the swimmer, according to one team tweet.

The Los Angeles woman regularly paused to rest and refuel on food that her assistants passed to her in the water, but without getting on the boat. To maintain her strength she ate pasta, bananas, bite-size pieces of peanut butter sandwiches, and high-calorie and high-carbohydrate drinks……From this Link

It’s great how the Associated Press took the time to report this unsuccessful attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida. All those poisonous stings from these jelly fish and the chance of shark attack. All the braveness exhibited by long distance swimmer Nyad, as she took it to another level, abandoning the shark cage altogether and risking her life further.

With great disappointment she had to give up the challenge because of the severity of the stings. Her team helped her out of the choppy sea as she carefully stepped back on to the boat that closely accompanied her throughout her unsuccessful voyage (Image Above). The team doctor who was awaiting on board immediately provided her with the appropriate medical attention.

This 2nd attempt by American Nyad was reported extensively by the media. It’s hard to fathom how interested these news outlets are and how much time they devoted on an aided swimmer’s attempt to navigate the Florida Straits from Cuba to America. But much more disturbing and so uncomprehending, is the omission of a little known fact about Cubans who perished in these exact waters of the treacherous Florida Straits. This stretch of ocean between Havana and the Florida Keys is considered by ALL Cubans as a deep-water cemetery of an estimated “65,000 Humans” who never made it while attempting to ESCAPE from the totalitarian Castro regime, so they could live the rest of their lives FREE in America. No wonder those waters are so shark infested!

4 thoughts on “The treacherous Florida Straits”

  1. Jose, you worded it very well. This is something that bothered immensely since the story first broke out. This intense interest in Nyad is disturbing, but then again, anything that serves to draw attention from the horrible repression inside Cuba, anything that creates a smokescreen seems to be fascinating to the mainstream media. Whether it be a man with 12 fingers, or a dog that’s suckling piglets, etc.. Anything but the obvious, you know, the boring, mundane story of Laura Pollan and her pesky group being beatened, dragged down the street, jailed and almost crushed against a wall as they engage in what is essentially a David-like battle against a Goliath.

    By the way, is there any doubt that if a long-distance runner had been running across the dessert from Mexico to Laredo, Texas, the mainstream media would not have mentioned the Mexicans who die trying to cross into the USA?

  2. This sort of bullshit is beyond pitiful; it’s insulting and deeply disrespectful, whether that’s intentional or not. The last thing Cuba needs is another media stunt.

  3. asombra,

    Insulting is a very tame word to describe this story.

    What’s beyond insulting is that MSM news outlets like CNN pay more attention to this bullshit story than to the plight of those Cubans that drowned or were eaten by sharks (or both) while crossing the FL straits.

    In my view Diana Nyad’s stunt was an insult to all those dead souls. Sorry, but a part of me wished she had gotten a good shark bite (instead of several Portuguese Man O’War stings) as a memento for her disrespect.

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