Parenting classics: bluebottles and beaches


Recommended Posts

My brother's family are with Di and I for the next few days at the beach. Huddy and Em are gorgeous 5 year and 3 year old kids who love the beach but yesterday was the first time that they have experienced the dreaded "bluebottle"....a painful stinger (that nasty blue part) that can leave you in tears.  When the winds blow from the north east they wash ashore in their thousands.  The wind turned North East yesterday afternoon. One minute we were all playing happily in the shallows of the surf building a sand fort, and the next moment the beach was awash with bluebottles. I called everyone out of the water. Sweet. 

As fathers go, I was a solid 7 out of 10. My aversion to safety standards let me down. An example would be when my 10 year old daughter once said while fishing" Dad, how about I hold your cigar while you fuel up the outboard".  Kids :rolleyes:

Yesterday my brother Mark took it to a whole new level :D

Mark saw the arrival of bluebottles as a fantastic educational opportunity.  He caught three of the recently beached ones and carefully put them in a bucket.  The kids crowded around and Mark pointed out the features of the bluebottles, their lifecycle, the stinging parts etc etc. 

Great parenting. 

Great parenting right up to the part that when finished he threw the contents of the bucket away behind him (bluebottles) and told the kids to go play. They all went and jumped into the sand fort.  Unfortunately that is where my brother had unknowingly thrown the bluebottles :o

The bluebottles wrapped themselves around little feet. Screaming, tears, a long walk home. Brother in the doghouse. 

Brilliant afternoon,,,it is not often that i get to look good as a parent. :clap:

 

download.jpg

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My grandad took us out, and was talking tough about how the dog was being soft about getting in the water, and how "it was going to get in the water today".  Picks the dog up whist we stand and watch.  Walk over a wooden bridge by and inlet to the beach with water flowing underneath (1 metre drop nothing cruel). Drops the Lab cross over the edge.......only one problem....wrist in in the leash......leash still on the dog............see you later Grandad!!!.....the laughing lasted until the cold kicked in on the walk back to the car.  Classic!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, Baccy said:

Is that some sort of Jellyfish? We have them around the beaches here but I've never seen any that look like that....

Yes, a common jellyfish on the East Coast of Australia, with a nasty painful sting. Also known as a Portuguese Man-of-War.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i'm at hastings point, just south of rob. i remember a few years ago when i was down here, i looked out and saw a few guys fishing in the surf. mis summer, middle of the day and they are all in waders. insane. had a closer look. there was a blue line about a metre wide and 5-6 inches deep, going all the way up the beach, as far as i could see both ways. bluebottles. 

 

as for parenting, not to point fingers at anyone in the family but i rang my sister's just before christmas. my niece is a vegan, spare me, and was cooking. she answered the phone. my nephew, who was at my place, yells out, 'ask her how the deep frying is going'.

i ask.

my niece says in her most bubbly voice, 'good, really good. no more explosions'. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, IanMcLean68 said:

Yes, a common jellyfish on the East Coast of Australia, with a nasty painful sting. Also known as a Portuguese Man-of-War.

Yep, known by this name here in Hawaii. Nasty sting, I know. In addition to coming ashore via certain wind directions, they also apparently spike in numbers with the lunar cycle - I think it’s about 8-10 days after a full moon.

Correction: I just realized that it’s the Box Jellyfish with influx based on the lunar cycle, not the Portuguese Man-of-War. We have both of these lovely creatures.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, Lomey said:

When we were in the Bahamas this past summer the lifeguards on the beach had spray bottles of vinegar to spray on yourself if stung. Got stung, but didn't test out the vinegar. I just didn't go back in the water. Problem solved. :)

the vinegar is not to prevent stings, rather to reduce the impact.

further north we have the box jellyfish and the irakanji (no idea of spelling) and i understand a lot of beaches will have vinegar to try and assist. the problem is that most people who get stung by those are dead before they can get out of the water. and in nature's inevitable way, the box jelly is almost invisible in water and the irakanji is so small you won't see it at all. these two make the bluebottles/man'o'war look positively woosy. 

apparently they are two of the most painful ways to die imaginable. 

but come on over, the water's fine! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, TBird55 said:

We have them occasionally on the Alabama gulf coast. They say if you urinate on the stings it helps neutralize the sting. Or put some ammonia on it.

Down by Dauphin Island?  I had no idea.  Interesting.

You can't be too hard on their dad.  Getting stung is a rite of passage- best to get it over with sooner than later.  

I cut my teeth at summer camp when I was 8ish.  The summer camp is a story in itself, being a former munitions range in West Berlin within sight of Checkpoint Bravo- before you started camp you had to undergo a safety briefing on not picking up unexploded ordnance.  I somehow managed to keep all 10 digits anyway.  Well, some camp buddies and I found a yellow jacket nest in the ground- Nazi Yellow Jackets, or maybe they were Commie Yellow Jackets- regardless, I was the one who took to flooding them out with a garden hose (I cannot recall if I spearheaded this mission or if I was dared into doing it).  I really thought it was a clever strategy until I could see funneling swarms come up from two other nearby holes.  

Fact #1- An 8 year old boy cannot outrun a swarm of angry yellow jackets.

Fact #2- They stop chasing you after about 50 yards.

Fact #3- Totally unrelated, We also had a very cute camp counselor who danced on a table for a bunch of the older boys and ever so briefly semi-flashed us Mardi Gras style.  I somehow- instinctively- knew I should tag along with them.  I only saw bra, but up to that point in my life it was the most incredible thing I'd ever witnessed.

I feel bad for so many of today's kids who are all too often spending all their hours playing video games or being smothered by overprotective helicopter parents.

Anyway, being stung by a Portuguese man-of-war sucks, but they'll be tougher for it and will have a cool story to tell some day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, MD Puffer said:

Down by Dauphin Island?  I had no idea.  Interesting.

You can't be too hard on their dad.  Getting stung is a rite of passage- best to get it over with sooner than later.  

I cut my teeth at summer camp when I was 8ish.  The summer camp is a story in itself, being a former munitions range in West Berlin within sight of Checkpoint Bravo- before you started camp you had to undergo a safety briefing on not picking up unexploded ordnance.  I somehow managed to keep all 10 digits anyway.  Well, some camp buddies and I found a yellow jacket nest in the ground- Nazi Yellow Jackets, or maybe they were Commie Yellow Jackets- regardless, I was the one who took to flooding them out with a garden hose (I cannot recall if I spearheaded this mission or if I was dared into doing it).  I really thought it was a clever strategy until I could see funneling swarms come up from two other nearby holes.  

Fact #1- An 8 year old boy cannot outrun a swarm of angry yellow jackets.

Fact #2- They stop chasing you after about 50 yards.

Fact #3- Totally unrelated, We also had a very cute camp counselor who danced on a table for a bunch of the older boys and ever so briefly semi-flashed us Mardi Gras style.  I somehow- instinctively- knew I should tag along with them.  I only saw bra, but up to that point in my life it was the most incredible thing I'd ever witnessed.

I feel bad for so many of today's kids who are all too often spending all their hours playing video games or being smothered by overprotective helicopter parents.

Anyway, being stung by a Portuguese man-of-war sucks, but they'll be tougher for it and will have a cool story to tell some day.

i think i am correct in saying yellow jackets are what we call european wasps. our paper wasps are bad enough but those european wasps are seriously nasty. got one up the back of my shirt in nz once - was sliding down a steep rock to get to a really really big pair of trout. both ten pounders. this thing got up my shirt and i could not have cared less about the fish. hurt like hell. i screamed blue murder. 

introduced species for us and nz. whoever did it should be locked in a box with a dozen of them. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wasps have that distinct ability of getting one's attention.

Mud dauber wasps in the southern US are docile for the most part.  They're ubiquitous in Alabama as are their dried mud nests and despite them flying all around you in the summer they're never more than an annoyance.  Except for one time... I couldn't sleep.  My wife was expecting and close to being due.  The natural thing to do during a major life change like this is compound your stress by buying a large home.  It was a stress-related insomnia for sure- the tension had my neck muscles burning.  My normal routine is to go in the kitchen, pour a large glass of milk, and read a book in these comfortable dining room chairs in the breakfast nook.  They're cushioned and have a gentle curve atop the chair's back, so you can rest your head in a natural position that relieves your neck muscles.  Very relaxing.  I had my milk, my book, and I was already feeling very tired and didn't think I would be up much longer.  I sit down and lay my head back on this chair and instantly feel as if a red-hot awl was jabbed into the back of my neck.  I jump up, trying to restrain the volume of my voice, making unintelligible noises the best I can recall, and look back on the chair to find a sluggish mud dauber, recently awoken from a winter slumber, still gripping the chair where I laid my head back.  I ended up not falling back asleep that night.  The tiredness I felt instantly gave rise to a massive and sustained adrenaline response.  Looking back, I'm still amazed that I was stung by a mud dauber.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

55 minutes ago, Ken Gargett said:

the vinegar is not to prevent stings, rather to reduce the impact.

further north we have the box jellyfish and the irakanji (no idea of spelling) and i understand a lot of beaches will have vinegar to try and assist. the problem is that most people who get stung by those are dead before they can get out of the water. and in nature's inevitable way, the box jelly is almost invisible in water and the irakanji is so small you won't see it at all. these two make the bluebottles/man'o'war look positively woosy. 

apparently they are two of the most painful ways to die imaginable. 

but come on over, the water's fine! 

Yes, the vinegar was to spray on to lessen the impact of the sting.  People were using it after stung, I just didn't want to smell like vinegar the rest of the day.  Lol!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, IanMcLean68 said:

Yes, a common jellyfish on the East Coast of Australia, with a nasty painful sting. Also known as a Portuguese Man-of-War.

The blue bottle is not a jelly fish.

Current relief measures used on beaches is to:

Pick off the stringers, wash area with warm to hot water, apply "sting-go" spray, and then apply ice packs.

Back in my day, we were told to "rub with wet sand"  :wacko: 

Vinegar came later, but is still used in remote areas where hot water is not available. Using urine was never an official thing.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Trevor2118 said:

The blue bottle is not a jelly fish.

Current relief measures used on beaches is to:

Pick off the stringers, wash area with warm to hot water, apply "sting-go" spray, and then apply ice packs.

Back in my day, we were told to "rub with wet sand"  :wacko: 

Vinegar came later, but is still used in remote areas where hot water is not available. Using urine was never an official thing.

 

trev, spot on. and technically, nor is it a man'o'war.  just a lesser rellie.

this is not a bad piece from aust geographic.

302_1026.jpg
The common bluebottle found in Australia is the Physalia utriculus. IMAGE CREDIT: Matty Smith

The low-down on common bluebottles

By Jennifer Ennion | November 21, 2016

From where they live and what they eat, to how to treat a sting – everything you need to know about these most unwelcome summer visitors at the beach.

 

IT’S THAT TIME of the year again when the pretty but painful bluebottle washes onto beaches around Australia. If you’re one of the millions of Australians who live on the coast, it’s highly likely you’ve been stung at least once. But aside from learning quickly to steer clear of this infamous hermaphrodite, many of us know little about them, including how to correctly treat a sting.

So what do we know about bluebottles?

Sometimes confused with its larger, more venomous Atlantic cousin, the Physalia physalis (or Portuguese Man o’ War), the common bluebottle found in Australia is the Physalia utriculus, which is smaller and less venomous, explains research scientist, author and marine invertebrate expert Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin.

Although bluebottles appear to be single animals they’re actually colonial organisms known as siphonophores. Within the colony, specialised polyps make up the float, tentacles, digestive system and gonozooids (for reproduction). In some ways a bluebottle is an individual as well as a colony, explains Lisa-ann.

“They have repetitive parts that function separately, like a colony, but they cannot survive alone, like an individual,” she says.

We also know that the float, or sac, supports the colony and can grow up to 15cm. These floats have the fascinating feature of leaning to the left or right – a design believed to be the marine stinger’s way of ensuring that only part of a population is blown into shore and stranded during certain wind conditions.

Physalia bluebottle

Multi-tentacled form of Physalia, preserved. (Image copyright Lisa-ann Gershwin)

“If you look at bluebottles from the top, you’ll see that some have the colony – the blue fringy bits – to the right, while others go to the left,” says Lisa-ann. “I think it’s one of the coolest things about them.”

A group of bluebottles is called an ‘armada’, which is the Portuguese and Spanish word for a naval fleet.

How and what do they eat?

Bluebottles are active fishers, dragging their tentacles through the water in search of prey. They catch, sting and kill fish and other small marine life, and then the main fishing tentacle contracts the prey towards the mouths (yes, plural) of the bluebottle.

“The tentacles are armed with batteries of powerful stinging cells called nematocysts, which inject potent venom into prey, immobilising it more or less immediately,” says Lisa-ann.

“To us, it hurts, but to a fish the violence of being impaled by thousands of tiny harpoons and immobilised with a cocktail of muscle toxins and neurotoxins can be powerfully destructive.”

Where do they live?

Armadas of bluebottles travel the ocean’s surface at the mercy of wind. As a result, we see several species in Australian waters. The dominant species, however, is Physalia utriculus, which has a half-crested float and a single main fishing tentacle. They are most prevalent in sub-tropical regions, but will sometimes turn up in large numbers in North Queensland. Generally, though, large armadas can be found along beaches on the Gold Coast, around Sydney and Perth, and across Tasmania, says Lisa-ann.

If you get stung

There are two types of bluebottle stings. The sting from the Physalia utriculus is fairly uneventful, says Lisa-ann, and the pain generally fades within 30 minutes. The larger species in Australia (which is yet to be named and classified) has multiple main tentacles and causes Irukandji syndrome.

“This second one is much rarer, and is only reported every few decades,” Lisa-ann says.

If you’re unfortunate enough to get stung, Surf Life Saving Australia has this advice:

  • Do not rub the sting area;
  • Remove the stinging cells from the skin by washing off tentacles with seawater or picking them off;
  • Immerse the sting in hot water or apply ice to help with the pain.
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are those the same Portuguese man-o-war that they have in Cuba? Friend of mine got stung by one while on vacation and spend a couple of days in a hospital. These are life-threatening.

He described the feeling as having red-hot barbed wire wrapped around your leg.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

Community Software by Invision Power Services, Inc.