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Fla. Mayor to Float on DIY Raft From Cuba to US

'I want to know what the men, women, and children go through to get here'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2016 2:03 PM CST
Fla. Mayor to Float on DIY Raft From Cuba to US
Clint Johnson, mayor and adventurer.   (Facebook)

The mayor of a Florida town who loves "living outside the box" will soon be living it up on the high seas when he makes what one friend is calling a "very risky" trip, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. Clint Johnson, mayor of DeBary, plans on cobbling together a raft and floating from Havana to Key West, so that he can "share the experience and weigh the pros/cons of a more open relationship with our neighbor 90 miles south," according to his website. Johnson plans on heading down to Cuba in mid-April, then making the return trip solo through the Florida Straits on an unpowered DIY vessel with little to no help. "I want the trip back to be as authentic as possible," the 30-year-old says. "If I've got a big boat sitting right there with granola bars on it … that ruins the whole thing. …If I did have a chase boat, it would definitely be far out of sight."

Johnson expects the entire trip to take two days if conditions are perfect, more than a week if not, and he'll have a personal locator beacon and another location device so he can send updates to his website as he blogs his way through the experience (he says he was able to get the license from the US State Department for the trip to Cuba for "journalistic" purposes). "I want to experience what it's like to come here on a raft," he tells Fox 35. "I want to know what the men, women, and children go through to get here." The State Department already seems to have some insight into that experience, warning on its website that "Cuban territorial waters are extremely dangerous and difficult to navigate, even for experienced mariners. The potential for running aground is very high … and running aground will often lead to the complete destruction and loss of the vessel." (He'll just miss the Rolling Stones concert in Havana.)

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