The scourge of the Summer Stingers

10 Jan 2011 0

If you were sporting a few battle scars from your weekend surf this morning, you’re not alone. Prevailing onshore winds saw Bluebottle jellyfish plague beaches along Australia’s East Coast, and it seems only a lucky few have come out of the water unscathed. It’s the classic summer scenario: east coast epidemics of jellyfish.

Bluebottles, or Portuguese Man-o-war, are unwelcome seasonal visitors to Australia’s beaches. According to Coastalwatch’s resident weather guru Ben Macartney onshore winds, such as those we experienced over the weekend, push the bluebottles in to the beaches. And with onshore winds are predicted to continue this week, the bluebottle epidemic may not ease anytime soon.

“We’re currently experiencing an extended easterly flow affecting the entire east coast over the coming week which will sustain bluebottles at higher than average numbers,” said Ben.

John Charlton, Coastalwatch’s chief surf reporter agrees: “Persistent onshore winds through the night contribute to the plague washing up on our shores. When the wind backs off at night, the rush of bluebottles doesn’t seem to be so bad.”

Some patrolled beaches on Sydney’s coast closed beaches over the weekend to avoid the stingers.

“While it’s not normal practice to close the beach under such circumstances, warning signs about the bluebottle infestation were displayed and announcements were made over the loudspeaker system,” says Chris Parsons, spokesperson for the Manly Lifeguards.

“The bluebottles arrived in waves covering virtually all of the flagged beach areas. At one point, the public’s heeding of the warnings meant that virtually no swimmers were in the water.”

Bluebottles are a team of organisms called zooids, together they function as a single animal. Some zooids make up the stinging tentacles, while other zooids make up the feeding tentacles. Under a microscope a tentacle will look like a long string of barbed hooks, hence they stick to human skin. Bluebottles range from blue to pink hues, and tentacles can grow up to ten metres long. Click here for more information and fun facts on blueys.

So what do you do when there’s swell, it’s hot, you want to go surfing, but the sea is bobbing with little blue bubbles? Short of surfing in stockings, there’s not much you can do but stay out of the water or take your chances in an uncrowded lineup.

The Australian Museum advises the best aftercare of stings is to immerse in hot water and avoid itching or rubbing the sting as this releases more of the toxin. It is best to rinse with seawater (not freshwater), and apply soothing antihistamine or anaesthetic ointment, and wait it out. And no matter how emphatic your mates are, peeing on it won’t help.

Got any hilarious Bluey stories? Know any home remedies? Let us know...


Got any hilarious Bluey stories?

Tags: (create Alert from these tags)

blog comments powered by Disqus
Features
This Week In Surfing: Jordy's Huge New 20 Minute Film, and The Wrights Are The Best Story In Surfing Right Now

This Week In Surfing: Jordy's Huge New 20 Minute Film, and The Wrights Are The Best Story In Surfing Right Now

Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was March 24, 2017

0 24 Mar 2017
Hydro Foil Boards Are Here To Kill You

Hydro Foil Boards Are Here To Kill You

There’s a good chance you’ll be decapitated before you finish this sentence

3 23 Mar 2017
Weekend Surf Forecast 24 - 26 March, 2017

Weekend Surf Forecast 24 - 26 March, 2017

Is the surf looking good this weekend? You bet it is.

0 23 Mar 2017
Recent

Weekend Surf Forecast 24 - 26 March, 2017

Is the surf looking good this weekend? You bet it is.

0 23 Mar 2017
Is Glenn Micro Hall Better Than Tony Robbins?

Is Glenn Micro Hall Better Than Tony Robbins?

1 21 Mar 2017
Stephanie Gilmore & Owen Wright Win First Event Of The Year

Stephanie Gilmore & Owen Wright Win First Event Of The Year

0 19 Mar 2017
Bells Beach 50 Year Storm Invitational About To Hit Go

Bells Beach 50 Year Storm Invitational About To Hit Go

1 16 Mar 2017
The Weekend Surf Forecast 17 - 19 March, 2017

The Weekend Surf Forecast 17 - 19 March, 2017

0 16 Mar 2017
Latest News

Weekend Surf Forecast 24 - 26 March, 2017

Is the surf looking good this weekend? You bet it is.

Is Glenn Micro Hall Better Than Tony Robbins?

The Dooley Podcast: Dissecting stop 1 of the WSL CT

Stephanie Gilmore & Owen Wright Win First Event Of The Year

Quiksilver & Roxy Pro wrap up on the Gold Coast

The Weekend Surf Forecast 17 - 19 March, 2017

Planning to brave the elements this weekend?

Popular This Week

Burleigh Point At Its Best Over The Weekend

Last Friday, Saturday & Sunday at the Point

Sean Doherty On: The Return Of Owen Wright

You’ve never witnessed a scene in the surfer’s area quite like it

Burleigh Point At Its Best Over The Weekend - Part II

The weekend explodes into brilliant barrels

Hydro Foil Boards Are Here To Kill You

There’s a good chance you’ll be decapitated before you finish this sentence

Go to Top