Diana’s First Feeding, 10:30 a.m. EDT

Diana’s First Feeding
Saturday August 31, 2013, 10:30 a.m. EDT, Swim time: 1:31
Reported by Katie Leigh


Diana has been swimming for 1.5 hours and has completed her first feeding. Handler Bonnie gives Diana water that she drinks through a “Camelback” bladder with a long drinking tube.

 


Additionally, Diana takes several sips of a thin smoothie-type mixture – containing bananas, peanut butter, honey and other ingredients – that Bonnie says tastes like tea.


Handler Pauline feeds Diana bites of a peanut butter and honey sandwich on whole wheat bread. After consuming about half the sandwich, Diana says “I can’t have any more food,” but Bonnie persuades her to have one more bite.


Bonnie asks if Diana’s skin is chafing at all and Diana points out a small place near her armpit. Bonnie puts on rubber gloves and adds more lanolin to the affected spot.


Diana isn’t talkative, but comments, “Could the water be any bluer?” to which Pauline answers, “It matches your suit and your cap.”

“I was trying for that,” jokes Diana. “Fashion, you know.”


Bonnie tells Diana she needs to eat two “Shot Blox” that have been chilled on ice. Diana obediently forces them down, although you can tell she doesn’t want to. “These need to be colder,” she tells Bonnie, who tries to argue that they were on ice and just came out of the cooler. “Feel them,” says Diana. Bonnie then admits that the nutrition gels have been out of the cooler for 5 minutes. Diana knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to ask for it.

Diana treads water during the entire feeding because she is not allowed by the rules of marathon swimming to touch the boat or be supported by any outside person or object at any time during the swim.

All of this takes about 12 minutes total, and then Diana pulls her goggles back down over her eyes and is back to stroking again. Elbows high, she’s going for it.

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Press Conference in Hemingway Marina


Friday August 30, 2013, 4pm local time
Hemmingway Marina, Havana, Cuba


Approximately 15 reporters, including CNN and BBC, attended Diana’s press conference at Marina Hemingway beginning at 4 p.m. At this time, the media and the Xtreme Dream team were alerted that the start time of the swim will be 9 a.m. tomorrow morning!


Diana spoke and answered questions, mostly in Spanish, for almost an hour. On the occasion that she needed a translator, she called on her long-time friend and Cuban resident, Kathy Loretta.


Diana explained various aspects of the swim, including her shark protection, the dangers of box jellyfish in the sport today, a new jellyfish mask to protect her while swimming at night, and what went wrong in previous attempts. She spoke about how nobody has done this swim before, despite trying since the 1950s.


Diana stressed to the crowd that this swim has been her dream for 36 years now. After last year’s attempt, she considered trying a 100-mile swim in different locations such as Guam or the Maldives. But she said “it wasn’t in my heart. My heart is with THIS swim, from Cuba to Florida, and there is a part of me that doesn’t ever, ever want to give up. This dream is alive.”

 

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Diana Begins Her Swim at 8:59:02am


Saturday August 31, 2013, 859:02am local time
in Hemingway Marina, Havana, Cuba

Diana arrived at the starting point of the swim in a black taxi, escorted by Marina Hemingway Commodore Jose Escrich. Dressed in her long white terry cloth robe, with the logo of her major sponsor, Secret, she was greeted by 40 media and supporters. Framed by American and Cuban flags, she shouted to her XTreme Dream team on surrounding support boats, “Thank you. Thank you for everything. Let’s make it all the way!

 

 


Diana took off her robe and Head Handler Bonnie Stoll finished applying pure lanolin to the swimmer’s body. Then with a shout-out of “Courage!” (pronounced in French), Diana Nyad jumped into the water from the shore a short way off Marina Hemingway in Cuba for the start of her epic swim to Florida at 8:59:02 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.

 

 

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Diana arrives at the start point


Saturday August 31, 2013, 850am local time
in Hemmingway Marina, Havana, Cuba

Diana has arrived at the start point. We’re ready to go!

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Ready for the Start


Saturday August 31, 2013, 835am local time
in Hemmingway Marina, Havana, Cuba


The Xtreme Dream Team cleared Cuban customs at 6am and the fleet is in position for the swim start.


The seas are calm, the sky is clear, and winds are 4-6 knots.

It’s a great day for dreams to come true.

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Voyager Departs For Cuba

Friday August 30, 2013, 1:45pm local time
aboard the vessel Dreams Do Come True
in Hemmingway Marina, Havana, Cuba


Diana’s escort boat, Voyager, left Oceanside Marina in Key West en route to Cuba yesterday morning at 4:27 a.m. carrying many of the key players in Diana’s Xtreme Dream: Navigator John Bartlett, Chief Ops John Berry, Driver Dee Brady, Handler Pauline Berry and crew member Taylor Cline.


Voyager made a quick crossing in about 12 hours for the purpose of checking currents, water temps and conditions that Diana will encounter on her swim back to Key West.


Around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Ground Ops Chief Vanessa Linsley briefed the team about what to expect during the crossing and customs procedures and arrival in Cuba.


About halfway through the meeting, Diana and Head Handler Bonnie Stoll made a surprise appearance and were greeted with cheers and hugs from the team.

 


The rest of the XTreme Dream Team, about 40 members in total on four boats, left the marina between 7 and 8 p.m., arriving in Cuba 14 to 17 hours later.


Even the names of the boats involved seem to be perfectly planned, among them: “Dreams Do Come True,” “Sentimental Journey,” and “Kinship.”


Next up for the team is Diana’s press conference at 4 p.m. at Marina Hemingway, followed by the last meeting between Diana and her entire XTreme Dream team before the swim starts. When Diana will jump into the water to begin her ocean crossing is not yet finalized. The start time will be determined after last-minute consultations with experts on weather, wind conditions and currents.

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Tomorrow I leave for Cuba

It was 35 years ago that the Dream first flirted through my brain.

Cuba to Florida.

Swimmers had started trying in 1950. To this day, nobody’s made it (without speed help of a shark cage). I tried in 1978, a brash 28-year-old, humbled by the ferocious Gulf Stream and the dangerous wild life after 42 hours.


After retirement and not swimming a stroke for 30 years, I entered my 60’s with the Dream still stirring in my imagination. More even than the huge endurance challenge, I was looking for commitment, for the high of reaching for the stars. The Cuba Dream was once again alive. Tried twice in 2011. Once again last year. The deadly Box Jellyfish, along with other Big Mother Nature forces, did me in each time,the last one 51 hours.

Tomorrow I leave for Cuba for the Final Attempt. This is the end of the journey. And the journey has been magnificent. The intensity, the people, the pride in touching one’s deepest potential. But this time, along with all the life experiences and high emotions of trying so hard to achieve something so difficult, perhaps this time the Dream will at long, long last come true.

The weather forecast, seemingly perfect as of yesterday, is now turning against us somewhat. We will make final decisions once in Havana. On one hand, can’t cowboy it up and go out in something truly undoable. On other hand, if not ideal and promises to be a bear of duress and rough seas, going to put my head down and press through.


The new jellyfish protocol, a silicone mask, is also a gargantuan challenge. It’s cumbersome. It’s hard to breathe. It requires much energy for a high-pressing stroke. But the tentacles of the Box cannot penetrate it so I must keep a positive attitude, trying to wear it through three continuous nights.


The crew is fantastic. 35 people. All first rate, in both expertise and heart.

Here we go.

 

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Teddy’s Party


I guess I never do tire of Teddy stories and photos….how about you?

Enough already?

Just in case you needed to know, Teddy evidently had a rousing and thus exhausting birthday. My friend Cynthia feted him in style back home….thanks Cyn!!!!

 

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Join the Xtreme Dream Team! Show your support for Diana with a shirt, cap or wristband!

On my 64th Birthday, In My Prime


With all the tension of waiting for these trade winds to give us break, the Key West based crew got into our birthday spirit (Dee Brady and I share Aug 22) on a magical private island in the middle Keys, named Seabird Key.


Dee, Pauline and John gave me the painting they had commissioned….and I cried.


It’s my companion boat, Voyager, rendered from a photograph during our 2011 attempt from Cuba. There they are, each crew member on the job, making our way. This will live on my wall at home forever more. An impression more than a realism. The evocation of a feeling of camaraderie. The undeniable vastness and majesty of the ocean. My Team. My Boat. The Expedition pulsing with adventuresome spirit.

 


A reminder to me that this Cuba Swim journey has been a thrilling four years of discovery and passion and friendship. ONWARD, Voyager….ONWARD!!!

 

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Happy Birthday Teddy!


My hound dog Teddy turns 8 today.

It’s been two months since I’ve seen him, as I wait out the winds in Key West, but I get regular photos….look at my handsome boy sunning in Los Angeles.


His baby picture here with his sweet sister Scout, whom we lost to kidney disease in January.

RIP my tender Scout.

I miss you, Teddy!!! Hope to be back from Cuba and home very soon!!!

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