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Monday, September 2, 2013

Diana Nyad, Havana to Key West!


Monday, 2 September, 2013

It took Diana Nyad 35 years to achieve her goal, however she achieved it today after decades of trying! Her first message of three was “You should never, ever give up”. Second was: “You’re never too old to chase your dreams” and third was regarding her swim “It looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team”.

She is the first person to swim from Havana to Key West without the aid of flippers or… get this, a shark cage!
Diana Nyad is sixty four years old and this was her fifth attempt, the previous four were unsuccessful and they date back to 1978. That’s 34 years!

Now, I’ll take a different take on the whole matter, because my journalistic and blogger colleagues will no doubt be mentioning all of the incredible attributes and feats of Ms. Nyad’s achievement earlier today. Before that however, I will take the opportunity to mention that as I saw her flotilla approaching from several miles out, right up to the point where she approached and walked onto the Conch Republic sand of Smathers Beach, right off of South Roosevelt Blvd, also known as the only stretch of A1A in all of the Keys (2 Miles), I got a big lump in my throat and my eyes filled up with tears. I’m not ashamed to admit it either!

On a silly, yet serious side of things, my dogs, Cajun and Tooloulou Rehm today were the first to add their support to Ms. Nyad by starting the battle cry for her to be awarded the Keys to The City of Key West! What a great idea!

By the way, Cajun and Tooloulou are also attempting to be the first dogs to be made “Citizen(s) of the Day” here in Key West! If you are on Facebook, please stop by and give their page a “Like”!  Here’s a link!


Because of the amazing accomplishment of swimming 103 miles (167Km), one side bar to the story is one of the underlining points of it all. Ms. Nyad swam from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Conch Republic, U.S.A. Havana and Key West have always been sister cities, something that has been in effect long, long before the fifty year old embargo started.  Ms. Nyad’s achievement today once again links the cities in a very positive perspective. Of course, the previous attempts over the last thirty four years were not successful and therefor didn’t garner the attention that the success today did and will do. However, from this day on, the media will freshly list the cities together again, because of Ms. Nyad’s achievement. People have long since forgotten the air links via Pan Am between Key West and Havana, which handled both passengers and mail. Perhaps to a lesser degree of Hemingway sailing off to Havana with his Key West pals for a weekend of fishing, fun, and drinking.   

With today’s events, Key West and Havana are again linked, thanks to Diana Nyad. Personally, I think that the very first step in restoring relations between the U.S. and Cuba should take place here in Key West. What better place to hold it? Key West actually used to be part of Cuba and was often referred to as “Havana North”. If talks need to take place between the countries, here’s the place to do it.

As of earlier this year, Key West is now officially a city from where air travel to Havana is approved, as well. In addition, Cuba as a whole, has been moving more towards a free market economy in the last few years. Besides, the absolute best way to turn a socialist economy on its ear, is to put money in its citizen’s pockets.

All of the accolades that have gone to Diana Nyad are all justified many, many times over! And who knows? Maybe, just maybe we’re one step closer to having normal relations with Cuba because of her amazing feat.

A very big congratulations to Diana Nyad! It took 34 years but she never gave up, she’s never too old, and she has great people behind her!

What an inspiration to us all!

Thank you Diana! 

Using full zoom, from the end of Simonton St., Key West

View off the White Street Pier at Diana Norad’s flotilla as it approaches Smather’s Beach

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Another view off the White Street Pier, using 40% zoom

Diana Nyad approaches the shore at Smather’s Beach, Key West

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People rejoice!

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Thank you everyone!!


  1. Very well stated Chris.. Terrific blog as always!

  2. As always, food for thought. Thanks for another great post, Chris!