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Aluminum Kayak built to escape Cuba

What does the water mean to you? ✨

For Laureano Ricoy Iglesias and Consuelo Rivera Giz, it meant freedom.

To escape the totalitarian regime in Cuba, an auto mechanic and his wife secretly assembled a boat from hoarded pieces of aluminum and a lawn mower engine. Sitting back to back and wearing only their swimming suits, they set out in the treacherous Straits of Florida on a moonless night in September 1966.

They had only enough water and food for a couple of days. The two were found and rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard three days later south of Alligator Reef Light in the Florida Keys.

This aluminum kayak proudly sits in our International Small Craft Center for guests to witness Laureano and Consuelo’s journey to freedom firsthand.

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