Aluminum Kayak

Watercraft

Effect: Culture

Type: Kayak

Composition: Metal

Place: Central & South America

Date: 1966

Builder/Location: Laureano Ricoy Iglesias and Consuelo Rivera Giz

Donor: Courtesy of the United States Coast Guard

Museum Location: 9

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.

Aluminum Kayak, 1966
Laureano Ricoy Iglesias and Consuelo Rivera Giz,
Jibacoa, Republic of Cuba
Courtesy of the United States Coast Guard

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.

When one has grown up in liberty is when one realizes it is important to have it in which to live. We lived in the enormous prison which is Cuba, where one’s life is not worth one crumb. Where one goes out into the street and does not know whether or not one will return to one’s home, because the political police can arrest you without any warning and put you in prison.

Before this could happen to us, we thought of going into the ocean, and risking death or being eaten by sharks, is a million times better than to stay suffering under Castro’s communism.

– Laureano Ricoy Iglesias, “Narra Matrimonio Cubano Cómo Huyó de Cuba
en un Kayak de Fabricación Casera”, by Benjamin de la Vega, no date

Origin: Jibacoa, Republic of Cuba

Aluminum Kayak

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