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US Swimmer Ends Cuba-Florida Crossing After Severe Jellyfish Stings



Photo: Diana Nyad

MIAMI – US Swimmer Diana Nyad ended her bid to cross from Cuba to Florida after suffering severe jellyfish stings, reports CNN.

The endurance swimmer, who will turn 63 on Wednesday, was pulled from the water early Tuesday morning, reports CNN.

A major thunderstorm and jellyfish made the crossing too dangerous and forced the swimmer to abandon, according to USA Today.

Her team said that she was around 90 kilometers off the coast of the island of Key West (Florida) when she was pulled from water, explains BBC News.

Her tongue and lips had swollen overnight because of the exposure to salt water. She suffered several jellyfish stings, starting on her first night, writes The Washington Post.

This was Nyad's fourth attempt at the crossing. Her first attempt took place in 1978.

She failed again in 2011 due to shoulder pain and an asthma attack. Later the same year, potentially deadly jellyfish put an end to a third attempt, says BBC News.

As of Monday night, it was her longest attempt with 52 hours spent in the water, reports the Washington Post.

Diana Nyad's latest attempt came to an end overnight - almost 42 hours into it, and her best attempt so far.AMAZING.diananyad.com/blog/Extreme-D…

— Brent Hill (@Brent_Hill) August 21, 2012

The full distance between Havana, Cuba and Key West, Florida is 165 kilometers.

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Migrant Lives

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

An orchid rehabilitation project is turning a small Mexican community into a tourist magnet — and attracting far-flung locals back to their hometown.

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

Marcos Aguilar Pérez takes care of orchids rescued from the rainforest in his backyard in Santa Rita Las Flores, Mapastepec, Chiapas, Mexico.

Adriana Alcázar González/GPJ Mexico
Adriana Alcázar González

MAPASTEPEC — Sweat cascades down Candelaria Salas Gómez’s forehead as she separates the bulbs of one of the orchids she and the other members of the Santa Rita Las Flores Community Ecotourism group have rescued from the rainforest. The group houses and protects over 1,000 orchids recovered from El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, after powerful storms.

“When the storms and heavy rains end, we climb to the vicinity of the mountains and collect the orchids that have fallen from the trees. We bring them to Santa Rita, care for them, and build their strength to reintegrate them into the reserve later,” says Salas Gómez, 32, as she attaches an orchid to a clay base to help it recover.

Like magnets, the orchids of Santa Rita have exerted a pull on those who have migrated from the area due to lack of opportunity. After years away from home, Salas Gómez was one of those who returned, attracted by the community venture to rescue these flowers and exhibit them as a tourist attraction, which provides residents with an adequate income.

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