Diana Nyad’s weekend
Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, 8:59:02 A.M.
Sixty-four year old Diana Nyad begins her fifth and — she insists — final attempt to swim the 103 miles from Cuba to Florida. For the next 50+ hours, she will not sleep, and she will pause — treading water — only to eat, change in and out of her jellyfish protective gear, and receive brief medical checks.
Saturday August 31, 2013, 10:30 a.m. EDT, Swim time: 1:31
Diana pauses to eat: she “takes several sips of a thin smoothie-type mixture – containing bananas, peanut butter, honey and other ingredients,” a couple bites of peanut butter and honey sandwich, and two Shot Blox; she complains that the nutrition gels aren’t as icy cold as she likes, then resumes her swim after the twelve minute meal.
The bread’s out of the oven and cool enough to slice: toast all around. I take bites while doing dishes and sweeping up flour. Eventually, we all get dressed and head downtown to the SPCA where we will pick up the kittens we adopted the other day.
Saturday August 31, 2013, 1:45 p.m. EDT, Swim time: 4:45
Diana has swum 7 miles.
We drive across town and back to bring home our new kittens. The boys name the orange tabbies Nutmeg and Ginger. We bake spice cookies to celebrate.
Saturday August 31, 2013, 5:05 p.m. EDT, Swim time: 8:05
Diana’s support crew worriedly monitors a storm system that is 3 miles from her location.
later Saturday afternoon
Friends send me a message from the beach, asking if we’re up for a visit; I invite them for dinner. Tired from being on my feet in the kitchen all day, I suggest take-out pizza; they offer to bring a salad. Tony makes some spicy fried almonds and chills a bottle of prosecco.
Saturday August 31, 2013, 8:00 p.m. EDT, Swim time: 11:01
Update from the team: “One thing none of us has to worry about is her hydration. She is hydrated. We feed her all day as much as possible: a lot of peanut butter, a lot bananas, a lot of bread, a lot of honey, ginger and some energy bars. This evening we started giving her a little pasta to keep her warmer. Hydration all night, all day. She is very hydrated.”
We start with prosecco and Aperol to celebrate our new kittens and the close of our foundation‘s application period. We have over 1,400 applications to read but will start that work after the weekend. For now, it’s cocktails and almonds, pizza and wine, spice cookies and bourbon. Like Diana — and not at all like Diana — we are very hydrated.
Sunday, 10 a.m., Swim time 25:01
Diana has been vomiting through the night, unable to keep much down because of all the sea water she ingests through her protective jelly fish mask, but still she pauses after her morning feeding, asks the support boats to circle, and leads everyone in singing Happy Birthday to one of the crew.
Sunday, 10 a.m.
Manage to get to church on time with my parents and the boys, who are reluctant to leave the kittens. The boys get through the 75-minute service with a snack of fresh bread, walnuts, and almonds.
Sunday, 5:21 pm
One of the independent observers of Diana’s swim describes some of the rules of marathon swimming: “Her handlers can feed her, rub chafing cream on her shoulders, apply sunscreen to her lips, and make sure she has enough water to stay hydrated. What is strictly taboo is giving her any assistance with making progress on the swim – hanging on boats, etc. It’s a rule that everyone takes seriously – Diana in particular.”
We feed the kittens, rub their heads, and make sure they have enough water. They are a little shy about being handled — Ginger in particular.
6pm September 1, 2013, Swim Time: 33 Hours
Diana prepares for the night by putting on her jellyfish protection suit and slathering her face with a protective “sting stopper.” The sting of a box jellyfish can be fatal, and getting stung on her lips contributed to Diana stopping her 2012 swim attempt.
We play with the kittens some more and then get them settled, confined to my office for the night with some soft pillows, an old baby blanket, and a cardboard box to play with.
Monday September 2, 2013 at 715am. Swim Time: 46:15
“Diana has gotten very cold, so the handlers were not stopping her to eat and drink overnight in the hopes that swimming would keep her warm.”
Monday morning, dark o’clock
Up with the kittens. I’m cold and want to curl up on the couch with them but they finished all their food over night and they want to play, to eat, to scamper about.
Monday September 2, 2013 at 10:40am. Swim Time: 49:40
She’s been swimming for nearly fifty hours, but Diana Nyad stops — 2 miles off the Florida coastline — to say thank you to her crew. And then — 52 hours, 54 minutes, and 18.6 seconds after leaving Cuba– she finishes her 110.4 mile swim.
Monday morning, later
I run a couple miles, stir together some waffle batter (friends are coming for brunch), and then we watch Diana Nyad make history.
with thanks to all the contributors on Diana Nyad’s blog for the information and updates I’ve quoted here