The 103-mile journey to cross the Straits of Florida features swift currents, sharks, and the extremely venomous box jellyfish. But 29-year-old Australian swimmer Chloe McCardel will battle it out this week, attempting to be the first to complete the swim from Havana to Key West sans shark cage.
Though Australian Susie Maroney completed the swim with a shark cage in 1997, no one has yet made it completely exposed. American Diana Nyad has tried three times, and Australian Penny Palfrey made an attempt, but both had to give up due to injury, jellyfish stings, or strong currents.
McCardel has been training for the 50- to 60-hour swim for six months now. Her attempt will raise money for cancer research in dedication to her mother, a breast cancer survivor. But McCardel also says, “At the moment it's the most high-profile marathon long-distance swim, and swimmers really want to come here and be the first. It’s like winning a gold medal.”
She set off yesterday, and you can follow her progress via GPS tracker.