The Blue Bottle Jellyfish

Posted in At Sea, Dangerous on August 3rd, 2009 by MadDog
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On Sunday up at Blueblood I was enjoying a particularly fine conversation with a friend while being comforted and nourished by my cheap cigar and a cold brewski. This is one of my favourite of all times and places to follow dear brother Bob Marley‘s advice to, “Don’t worry. Be happy.” It works for me.

Suddenly Eunie came hippity-hopping up out of the water crooning, “Ouwy, ouwy, ouwy, ouwy . . .” I heard somebody yelling, “Blue bottles!” Eunie chased all of the kids out of the water and came to me to put some hydrocortisone cream on the red streaks on her arm.

If you’re going to be stung by a jellyfish, you couldn’t do much better than a Blue Bottle.  This jellyfish is known elsewhere as the Portuguese Man of War. Though it feels as if you’ve drenched the area in napalm and set it on fire, nobody dies from it. You might, however, temporarily long for death if you get enough tentacles stuck to you.

Here’s a typical warning on an Australian beach:

A Blue Bottle Jellyfish warning on an Australian beach

Though we only saw possibly a hundred on Sunday, they can blow up for miles on beaches. Check this image that I filched from a National Geographic site:

Blue Bottle Jellyfish on an Australian beach - filched from National Geographic

After treating Eunie’s stings and making sure her wine glass was full, I went jellyfish hunting. It wasn’t difficult to find a specimen:

Possibly the Blue Bottle Jellyfish that attacked Eunie

It’s a fairly good image, so click it so that you can see it larger. You can see that the single tentacle is quite long. Large individuals can have tentacles as long as ten metres. We are often stung by tentacles of dead jellyfish when no jellyfish can bee seen. The tentacles remain poisonous long after the organism has died.

As with most marine stings, you don’t want to rub the area of the sting. We always keep vinegar on the boat, as it helps to neutralise most common venoms. I also keep hydrocortisone cream to apply to stings as it seems to calm down the pain and inflammation very quickly.

I’ll end up the post with a pretty sunset that we enjoyed on Friday evening as we went out on Tab Anchorage  to Pig Island  for a little swim:

A lovely sunset on Friday evening on Tab Anchorage

Fortunately, there were no jellyfish.