I don’t want to swim past a certain hour in the day for two reasons: in the late afternoon, the sunlight does not penetrate the water as much and I start losing visibility. The water beneath me turns into a darker blue and my field of vision is limited. This becomes a problem for me since I like to see as deep as I can so that I have as much time as possible to react if needed. The second reason is that in the evening, like in the early morning it is feeding time for some sea creatures and I don’t want to be mistaken as food for some of them. One of them is Jellyfish, they rise to the surface at the end of the day to feed.
Even though I wear a full wetsuit, fins, hoody and googles that cover most of my body, I still get stung. This is true that there is one part of my body that is left uncovered and in my case, it is a pretty big surface; my nose. In the late afternoon, I see jellyfish, about the size of my hand gliding one to two meters below me. I don’t see the smallest one rising to the surface.
It is not a pleasant encounter when they meet my nose, I never see them, I just feel them. I bite into my snorkel to ease my pain and swear like a sailor when it is too intense.
Since recently I look at them in a different way. I have learned that they have so many amazing characteristics. In her book Spineless, Juli Berwald describes the acceleration of the jellyfish sting as probably the fastest in the animal kingdom, “the acceleration of the stinging cell is 5 million g.” Who knew! Every time I feel their sting on my nose, I think about how a small translucent animal can deliver such a blow! This is for me mind-blowing.
We still have so much to discover and learn about the ocean, this is another reason why we have to protect it.