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Day One Of Diana Nyad’s Xtreme Dream From Cuba To Florida

At 6:05 pm on a warm, humid Friday evening on the shores of Havana near the Hemingway Marina Club, Diana Nyad stepped off a jetty wall and started her 103-mile journey towards “any place in Florida”.

Starting at a 57 stroke-per-minute pace, Diana looked like she has no ill effects of her previous attempt. Strong, confident and consistent, her first 2 hours and 15 minutes were solid.

And her timing could not be more perfect with the doldrums ready to roll in. Flat as can be, a glassy surface was expected to greet her further out in the Florida Strait. Her hand-selected team was in place with four escort boats around her, including two kayaks at all times sandwiching her and a rotating shift of three safety divers (for sharks).

But it was a notorious small creature that dialed in danger first. The Portuguese man o war, the bane of ocean swimmers worldwide, reared its tentacles and seared Diana in a major threat to her Xtreme Dream. At least one, but perhaps more, Portuguese man o war stung her badly from arm to leg after the sun went down. The excruciating pain, caused as the tentacles wrapped around her limbs and torso, nearly derailed Diana’s Xtreme Dream within the coast of Cuba.

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