UnNews:Nyaditski endures mosquitoes in third Amazon swim attempt

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20 August 2012

Amazon1

Another lovely day swimming the Amazon – but beware of night fall

AREQUIPA, Peru -- Polish endurance swimmer, Diana Nyaditski, endured several mosquito bites as she sought to become the first person to swim the entire length of the Amazon River unaided. Nyaditski, who is less than a week shy of her 63rd birthday, jumped into the waters near Arequipa, in the Peruvian Andes on Saturday in her third and latest bid to make the swim. Her first attempt was thwarted by a random temper tantrum just miles short, and then a really bad mood forced her to abandon her second attempt just meters shy of her goal.

Before departing Saturday, Nyaditski spoke of how the terror and sensory overload of marathon jungle river swimming is most intense at night, leading the mind down horrifying contemplative paths. And while poisonous creatures - such as Heliconius butterflies, Brazilian hairless wandering spiders, Amazonian pit vipers, Cutaneous chytridiomycosis fungal parasites, and more than 500 deadly fish and serpent species and over one million insect species, including piranhas, water snakes, anacondas, black mambas, zombie spiders, fanged centipedes, mad-river-wasps, horned death scavengers, and even head hunters and Pygmies along the river with blow darts - are among Nyaditski's minor concerns, it is pesky mosquitoes that are her real worry.

In a tweet, Nyaditski said there were mosquitoes everywhere above the water as she swam through the night. "I do worry, when I stop in the middle of the night," she said. "You're tired and you're out there thinking about the terrible ways your life could end up. And then the goddamn mosquitoes start."

Nyaditski wrote on her Twitter account that she was steadily stroking onward early Sunday despite mosquito bites. Her goal is to become the first person to swim the Amazon from the Ucayali–Marañón confluence all the way to Marajó Island located at the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil, a distance said to be roughly 6,752 kilometers long – very roughly. "There are many mosquitoes," said one of her tweets, adding, "I am swimming breaststroke right now, making my nipples erect, and leading with my head."

Nyaditski posted a message on her Twitter account late Saturday saying she had been stung on her upper lip by a mosquito she could clearly recognize as sterilized, not the more dangerous mosquitoes that carry harmful viruses. The second benign mosquito sting was to the left ear lobe, a later tweet said. She didn't give more details on later bites. This time Nyaditski hoped a good luck charm from Borneo would protect her from bites. The trinket is reported to be a NaaSoobee-wAando-juNjee or Indonesian purple rabbit’s foot.

Deeply tanned from long hours straining in the Moonlight, Nyaditski admitted to a minor case of nerves before departing Saturday. But she sounded confident. "I feel really excited," she said. "I respect this. I know how absurd it is. There's a good reason no one's ever done it." Speaking with reporters Saturday, Nyaditski would not rule out another attempt should this one fail, but she seemed to acknowledge that even she has a limit, and that limit is bloody mosquitoes.

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