A rather courageous sexagenarian US woman by the name of Diana Nyad had to abandon her brave attempt to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage after she began vomiting.
According to Matt Sloane, a CNN reporter who accompanied the swimmer in one of her floating entourage, the 61-year-old American had already completed 29 of the 60 hours the entire trip was expected to take. However, at 12;45am (local time) she was forced to quit midway between the journey’s two points and without her final destination – Key West in Florida – being in sight.
She was hoping to complete the 166 kilometre journey that would establish her as the world record holder for ‘the first person to accomplish the crossing without a shark cage.’ To prevent her from becoming just another shark snack, amongst the group of vessels that escorted her were specially equipped kayaks that transmit electronic signals that are proven to annoy sharks. And there’s nothing worse than a piqued shark.
When interviewed earlier this month on the Today Show on MSNBC Nyad said “I don’t want to have that asterisk at the end of my name at the end of this. I want this to be ‘that was the first swim ever done without a shark cage, from Cuba to Florida,’ just point blank.”
Nyad’s watery journey commenced at 7:45 on Sunday night on the outskirts of Havana, as she entered the water, encouraged by well-wishers and began her epic ‘voyage’. But eighteen hours into the swim, Sloane tweeted that Nyad had encountered a little asthma and some shoulder pain, but was persevering and moving strongly.
It was Nyad’s second attempt at the crossing. She had previously tried in 1978, at the age of 28 but had to abandon the wet mission on that occasion due to heavy winds and large waves.
Born in Florida, the courageous woman will celebrate her 62nd birthday this month.
A 22-year-old Aussie bird – Susan Maroney – successfully completed the swim in 1997.
Which isn’t bad for a Sheila. However, she used a shark cage the bloody coward.
“I am not sad. It was absolutely the right call,” Nyad told CNN after she’d stopped throwing up.
Well done Diana Nyad. Clearly a very exceptional individual.
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Read about other record breakers like Clayton Treska, Lance Armstrong, TJ Lavin, Shalane Flanagan and Jane Goodall.
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