Saturday, August 29, 2009

He Swam The Amazon

"That's 3,274 miles, swimming 10 hours a day for 66 days.. on two bottles of wine a day *or 196,440 lengths of your average pool."

That is what crazy Slovenian distance swimmer, Martin Strel just did. I am a big fan of these crazy ass stunts of human endurance but once you read about what danger he faced daily, I never even want to SEE the Amazon in a picture let alone go to that death trap. Every place I have gone or heard about from Australia to the sea have things in there that are just waiting to mess us up. At least in Canada they are large and furry and you can see them coming...not swimming up your wang like those fricken Candiru fish. Read on.

"Martin trained more than five hours a day in his local swimming pool and finally began history's longest swim in April 2007. His daily target was to swim for 10 hours every day, covering around 90km. But the adventure soon became a struggle for survival. As well as dehydration and exhaustion, water-borne parasites left his body racked with infection and disease, including dengue fever, which triggers painful cramps.

Tarantulas, giant millipedes and scorpions would drop off the trees into the river, often getting entangled in his hair. Birds would fly down and attempt to peck at his face. Larvae burrowed into his skin and his face was stung by wasps. Some days he even had to wear a pillowcase over his head, with slits for the eyes and mouth to protect his face from the heat.

However the hazards above the water were nothing compared to the horrors below. The biggest danger was the bull shark, responsible for the deaths of more humans than any other type of shark in the area. Then there are stingrays and anacondas lurking in the shallows, crocodiles and alligators that can seize human-size prey and gobble it whole. Long, poisonous snakes slither out of nowhere and giant catfish up to 15ft long, known to swallow dogs and children, hide in the mud.

Once he had to be hauled from the water screaming in pain, as shoals of piranha fish gnawed at his leg. He swam in the faster-flowing middle of the channel, in places 100ft deep, in the worst Amazon floods for a century, but sometime he couldn't avoid the stiller water. In an attempt to stop the razorjawed piranha fish from smelling him, Martin would lather his body with gasoline and cream and buckets of pigs' blood would be thrown into the water to divert their attention.

But of all the dangers, the one Martin feared most was the tiny candiru, otherwise known as the vampire fish, a parasite with a vicious tactic. It is attracted by the scent of urine and enters the body by swimming up the penis. Once inside it locks itself on with a series of spikes and feeds off blood and tissue. Surgery is the only way to remove it. And if Martin was attacked the nearest emergency ward was hundreds of miles away."


Mykal Banta said...

Got it. Peeing in the Amazon. Bad. Very, very bad. -- Mykal

PS: my word varification is "WARMIES." I'm simply not comfortable with that.

Pss: I misspelled warmies somehow. Now my varification word is "iboyed" -- still uncomfortable over here!

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

That is too funny. Sometimes, Mykal, you just gotta put the mouse down and back away slowly.

Nicole said...

LOL That is so cool! I guess I don't have to worry about that bug, though... LOL
My word verification is aninsu. ?