Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just when you thought it was safe(r) to go in the water...

Prepaqre for the invasion of the jellyfish. That's the result of a National Science Foundation study, which reveals massive swarms of jellyfish are appearing in oceans worldwide in apparently unprecedented numbers.

I don't know about you, dear reader(s), but jellyfish scare the crap out of me. They're just...weird. They're goopy, tentacle-y, and they don't even have brains!!! How can we compete with such a beast???

I remember summers on the beach at Port Aransas as a kid, having to dodge beached jellyfish and Portuguese men-o-war (which also contributed, I'm sure, to a lifelong fear of Lusophones.)

Incidentally, having spent all of my childhood beachgoing at Port A and Corpus Christi, Texas, I was in my early teens before I learned that it is not normal, after a day at the beach, to sit in the tub and clean tar off of yourself. Thank you, offshore driliing industry!

Back to the jellyfish, though...if we're already having problems with depleted fisheries, melting glaciers, and oceanic "dead zones," the thought of angry swarms of jellyfish in coastal areas is, well, troublesome. I will be spending all of my vacations in mountainous inland areas from now on.

Portugese Man o' War pic from Wikimedia Commons

1 comment:

Todd Stadler said...

Yeah, no question about it, men o' war are just creepy/freaky. Of course, they're not technically jellyfish -- in fact, as Wikipedia notes, "it is not a single animal, but rather a siphonophore – a colony of four kinds of highly modified individuals, specialized polyps and medusoids." Can they get any creepier/freakier? Yowza.

Frankly, I'm far less worried about proper jellyfish than those things. They look more like a disembodied central nervous system than anything else, and it's clear that they are only intent on causing pain and death.

And when you're wading in the shallows and you look up at the next wave coming in and you see that horrid blue balloon floating on top, it strikes fear in your heart every bit as much as would a shark fin. Because you never actually saw shark fins, nor felt their bite, but you are familiar with the man o' wars ways.

Also: tar. I can relate. That's where I got my ocean experience, too. Sigh. Texas.