Dr. Angel Yanagihara, Head of the Jellyfish Safety Team
615pm September 1, 2013, Swim Time: 33:15
On Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013 (33 hours into the swim) shortly before sunset of what could be the last full night of Diana Nyad’s epic crossing of the Florida Straits swimming from Cuba to Florida:
During the 6 p.m. feeding, Dr. Angel Yanagihara, leader of the Nyad’s Jellyfish Safety team, entered the water to apply “sting-stopper” to the swimmer’s face (see video). Later, Dr. Yanagihara, explained the background of this preventive measure (and creamy remedy) that Nyad’s team hopes will prevent the deadly box jellyfish or any such stings from thwarting Diana Nyad’s #XtremeDream ever again.
The sting-stopper is an inhibitor mixture that I invented. I am a professor at the University of Hawaii and so this technology has been licensed through the University of Hawaii to a company. But I have provided this technology in advance of being available in the commercial marketplace–to the University of Miami, and those physicians are here on board, so in consultation with University of Miami physicians we have determined that this is an effective thing for us to apply.
We have determined that this is an effective treatment.
I developed it with Diana Nyad and her team and other swimmers who have been interested in the technology, and weíve now formulated it into this anhydrous lanolin base which is very stable in the marine environment, so that an ocean swimmer can swim for up to 90 minutes in the water. It has loads of this inhibitor that prevents the tentacles from discharging as well treating any potential stings.
So what we’ve opted to do tonight rather than that full-face prosthetic silicone mask which she was having a little trouble with (with mouth sores I think) we’ve opted to start out in a conservative fashion with just the sting-stopper on all the exposed surfaces of her face.
We’ve got two divers in the water eyes-on. I’m going to be in and out of the water all night long. If we see any boxies [box jellyfish] then immediately we switch back to the original plan with the full silicone face shield.
We’re going to be re-applying it at each feed all through the night.
645pm September 1, 2013, Swim Time: 33:45
“I think Diana is feeling strong and very coherent. She is joking for the first time all day.“
“The only concern is that she is throwing up everything she eats. She’s quite nauseous from sea salt, but that’s to be expected. It’s very normal for her and we’ve seen it in any of her swims over 15 hours or so. We’re giving her enough calories and nutrition. We’re just going to keep feeding her and we hope that some of it is going down. She’s not weak. Her stroke count hasn’t changed.“
“We’re holding off putting on the mask tonight because Angel and the shark divers haven’t seen ANY box jellies. They’ve seen a few moon jellies and other creatures, but she can live with a little sting from a moon jelly. The only thing we’re worried about is box jellyfish. If that changes, we’ll put the mask on. It’s a nightmare and very uncomfortable for Diana. She’s wearing the rest of the suit, so only parts of her face are exposed.”
To prepare for the dusk and night hours when jellyfish and other stinging creatures are more prevalent, Diana put on her jellyfish protection suit at her 6 p.m. feeding stop. Because she struggles so much with the protective mask that she wore last night, the team made a decision not to put it on immediately. Instead, the parts of her face that are exposed were slathered with a protective cream, dubbed “Sting Stopper,” that was created by jellyfish expert Angel Yanagihara and the University of Hawaii.
Additionally, a diver will be in the water with Diana at all times to look for box jellies. If any box jellies are detected, the mask will go on immediately.
Dr. Angel Yanagihara is closely monitoring for any signs of Box Jellyfish. At this time, none have been spotted. She explains a little about their behavior, giving some indication of why we are not seeing any so far during Diana’s swim.
You Don’t Say
by Janet Hinkle, Independent Observer
As an “official” observer, it’s my job, along with co-observe Roger McVeigh, to make sure Diana obey’s rules associated with this competitive swim. Her handlers can feed her, rub chafing cream on her shoulders, apply sunscreen to her lips, and make sure she has enough water to stay hydrated. What is strictly taboo is giving her any assistance with making progress on the swim – hanging on boats, etc. It’s a rule that everyone takes seriously – Diana in particular.
But there’s another rule that’s just as important. It’s not in any rule book. It’s one of Diana’s own making. “She never, ever wants to know what time it is or how far she has gone,” says Bonnie Stoll, Diana’s most trusted handler. “It’s a psychological thing,” adds navigator John Bartlett.
Crew members tell stories of training swims where someone broke “Diana’s rule.” It wasn’t pretty. Let’s just say Diana wasn’t happy.
“She’s always been that way,” says Bonnie. “She has her own way of doing things.”
As an observer it’s my job to take notes on the progress of the trip. I get most of my information from navigator John Bartlett. Wind direction, boat speed, course changes, Diana’s feeding breaks, any significant event are all a part of the log I am keeping.
I gather this information mostly from whispered conversations aboard Voyager during three hour shifts. I whisper because I don’t want to be the one to break Diana’s cardinal rule.
Update from John Bartlett, Navigator
4pm Sunday September 1, 2013. Swim Time: 31 Hours
Diana has swum 63.25 statute miles from the starting point of the swim. This is farther than she has gone in any previous attempt. Her path is only 5 miles to the east of a straight line from Marina Hemingway to Key West, thanks to a favorable Gulf Stream.
Her overall average speed of 2.04 mph has been increasing progressively throughout the day due to a favorable current. She is still swimming strongly at her typical training speed of 1.5 to 1.6 mph.
North latitude 23 degrees 52.7
West longitute 82 degrees 00.4
Update from Navigator John Bartlett
Sunday, 8:59 a.m., 24:00 Swim time
Diana has swim 38.18 statute miles, as the crow flies. She is averaging 1.6 mph over the 24 hours. Her position is 23 ’35’ N and 82’ 14.3’ W
“She’s right on the bullseye. We are just approaching the strongest flow of the Gulfsteam about 15 miles ahead of us. At that point, the flow direction will change and that will help us big time. We’re trying to get into that position that we observed on the way over.”
Sunday September 1, 2013, 8:30 am, Swim time 23:31
Dr. Covington and Dr. Kot examined Diana this morning at 7:15 a.m. They report that her pulse is strong and her lungs are clear. Diana’s shoulders are sore, but not hurting, so the doctors are not concerned. Diana had been vomiting every time she drank throughout the night, but once the jellyfish mask was removed she ate some pasta and was able to keep it down. The doctors did not administer any nausea medication. The only medication Diana has taken is Tylenol.
The doctors will re-examine Diana again in a few hours and every 2-3 hours throughout the rest of the swim.
“We’re optimistic,” says Dr. Covington. “She’s looking very good.”