Last year, American paddlers Andy Cochrane, Wyatt Roscoe and Luke Walker had an idea: to paddle 120 miles from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida. It took them 27 hours and 12 minutes from start to finish, making them the first documented single kayakers to ever do so.
And on Wednesday – the one-year anniversary of their journey – the team has released their short film documenting the whole endeavor: “The Crossing.”
“The goal of this project was to better understand and empathize with the thousands of refugees and migrants who have made a human-powered journey in the hopes of changing their situations,” says Cochrane, executive producer and kayaker. “After the paddle I have a completely different understanding and respect for people who need to flee their homes and search for asylum. We had all the advantages – modern sea kayaks, months of training, a food plan – and we still barely made it.
“The Straits are big, nasty water. They are notorious for good reason. My heart goes out to people put into that situation because they have no other option, those who aren’t safe at home. We also learned a lot from the refugees we met in Miami, and how much they love the U.S., how much opportunity they see, how patient they are with change, and how much respect they have for free speech, hard work, and other people. It makes you question your own perspectives a lot.”
This epic journey truly pays homage to the thousands of brave men, women and children who have attempted this same crossing in far less-than-adequate equipment. It’s a testament to the fortitude and determination of any person seeking asylum and opportunity, and it also poses the question: What is the human cost of closed borders?
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