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Diana Nyad: Tougher than Sharks

While Travis and Zac have posted a couple of non-cigar-related stories in the past, I’ve remained adherent to our title—“Best Cigar Blog”—almost to a T. Earlier today, though, I read a story in the New York Times that struck the “whoa” nerve, and I decided I had to do a post about it.

Diana Nyad, a 61-year-old marathon swimmer and world record holder for longest swim, will soon attempt to be the first ever person to swim from Cuba to Key West without a shark cage, according to an article by Lizette Alvarez. To give you an idea of the scope of this feat, the distance between Cuba and Key West is 103 miles, and the swim is expected to take roughly 60 hours.

Traveling closely behind her during the journey will be two kayaks loaded with GPS equipment and “shark shields,” since the stretch between Cuba and Key West is notoriously full of sharks. A shark shield, according to the Times article, is a neoprene rod that emits electrical waves to stun sharks when they swim too close. These, however, are not guaranteed to work, so there will be crewmen standing by with spears, ready to jump in if necessary.

Nyad had previously attempted the feat back in 1978 in a shark cage, but with fewer technological trimmings and inadequate on-the-go nutrition. She ended up veering off course after about 50 miles (which is still damn impressive) due to inclement weather and was forced to give up. This time, though, she is well-equipped, thanks to $500,000 worth of gadgets to guide her (and protect her from sharks) along the way.

This has got to be one of the most badass feats ever attempted by anybody, ever. This beats any on-foot marathon I’ve ever heard of by about 2 billion badass points. I complain when I have to work a 60-hour week, even though it’s broken up into 8 or 10 hour shifts and I get to eat, drink, smoke, and sleep in between. Can you imagine swimming through turbulent, shark-infested waters for 60 hours straight, only stopping occasionally to eat part of a banana or drink a protein shake? Needless to say, my hat goes off to Diana Nyad, even if she doesn’t finish the trip.

Since this is a cigar blog, I Googled and Googled in hopes of somehow relating this story to cigars, but I couldn’t find anything saying whether Nyad is the cigar smoking type. I somehow doubt that someone who is training for a 60-hour swim has time to smoke, though.

Nevertheless, it makes me wonder—if you were about to embark on a 100+ mile nonstop swim, what would you smoke the night before? And afterward, once you’ve slept for a good, I don’t know, 25 hours and taken in 15 or 20 pounds of ribeye and mashed potatoes, what would you pick for your victory cigar? Feel free to post yours in a comment, and maybe if we get some responses, I’ll figure mine out.