Jellyfish !!

Well, we’re pushing onwards and upwards with summer. The kids have been on holiday for a week and that means its only 5 weeks until we get the villages back and normality returns :).

Two jellies at Bamburgh

In the last two weeks we have seen the start of the Jellyfish season on the beaches. Normally, we dont see so many until September, when the weather livens-up, but with a strong Northerly/Easterly wind, they get blown inshore from sea and stranded on the beaches.

I think I’m becoming a bit obsessed with them. They are such interesting creatures. (last night I found myself trawling through the many pages on Wikipedia about the species).

Yesterday I was diving on a boat at the Farnes and Paul, and the Divers and I got chatting about the Portuguese Man ‘o War. Apparently they are occasionally spotted around the Farnes and St Abbs.

The Portuguese Man ‘o War, the Box Jellyfish and the Lions Mane are the biggest and most dangerous kinds, but are RARELY found in waters of the North Sea.

The Portuguese Man 'o War - not local to the area.

Now, LOTS of Jellyfish get washed-up along the beaches here, but rarely are any of them any real danger. Even the most dangerous Jellyfish are rarely fatal, and 99.9% of the time the worst case scenario will be severe pain until treatment is administered. Any deaths from Jellyfish stings are unlucky and are associated with people who many be allergic or be especially susceptible.

There are thousands of different species of Jellyfish, but along the beaches of the North East, you will see a regular collection of about a

Brain-like tissue and textures...

dozen, ranging in size from a centimeter to about 2-3 feet across. They come in clear, white, blue, pink, purple, red and deep red colours.

Generally the smaller pink/blue types are harmless and can be handed without injury, the darker they are the more likely they are to sting. If you are stung, the best treatment is vinegar. Take a cloth of bandage and soak it with vinegar, removing any excess, then apply to the affected area. In the rare event of  having been stung by a Portuguese Man ‘o War, don’t use vinegar – this can make the sting worse and spread it (the The Portuguese Man ‘o War is not actually a Jellyfish, but a close relative).

Foot used as scale

Remember that the stings – or nematocysts – can remain active long after the jellyfish has died or dried-up, so be careful when handling if you choose to do so. Local fishermen laugh heartily when old stored fishing gear is taken out of storage and handled months after being on the sea only to sting the new lad on the harbour not wearing his gloves.

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