On the Road

Jellyfish

Whenever you travel to a beach always ask the locals about the dangers of the sea. They will know what risks you need to be aware of and how to treat them. You can check by walking along the tide line to see if any jellyfish have been washed up and by asking other travelers if they’ve been hit.

There are so many poisonous kinds of fish that there’s not much point describing them all here. Many of these are impossible to see and can be fatal. The main thing is to scuff you feet when entering the sea so that any sting rays, stone fish or other poisonous fish that bury themselves in the sand will move on.

Jellyfish are found all over the world and their sting ranges from the annoying to the lethal. They come in all shapes, sizes and colours and some have long, stinging tentacles that can trail five metres behind them. They often come in schools and so there will be seasons when it’s not a good idea to swim on some beaches.

Don’t get too paranoid either though as there’s generally more water than jellyfish and just because you feel some little nips doesn’t mean you’re in danger – these tiny stings can be from fragments of tentacles or baby jellyfish that can’t really harm you.

If you come across jellyfish whilst swimming stay calm and make your way slowly back to the beach -they’re not going to pounce on you but you need to stay cool so you don’t run out of energy and drown.

Jellyfish stings burn painfully and can be treated with urine, vinegar or local plants. Often it’s actually better to stay in the water as the pain gets worse on contact with air.

If you see jellyfish with a little sail that sends them scooting across the water then you want to get out of there quick – it could be a Portuguese Man of War and these bastards can lay you in hospital.

As usual, Australia is where everything gets scary. They have box jellyfish which can be fatal as well as a whole attractive array of other sea creatures to cause you endless pain and fear.

As usual, turn down the sound to avoid the irritating narration and dodgy electric guitar soundtrack.