lived or stayed long
enough on some of eastern
beaches, and if you enjoy to visit the beach often like me, then you know what I am
There can be long periods of time with no bluebottle in sight, but every so often there is a day
beach is covered in dead blue bottle jellyfish.
Like many other Australian jellyfish, they
give you a painful sting with possible other health complications,
and that still works, even up to a few days, after the animal died.
If you were up to a
barefeet beach walk you may want to go and get your
shoes, or else you will have to watch your every step, because once you saw a few of them washed
up on the
beach, there will be a lot more of them.
occur in large groups and whether they get washed up on the
beach depends on the time of the year as well as the strength and
direction of the winds, tides and currents.
They don't drift under the water surface - they
float on the surface of the water, and sail with the
That is only one thing that makes them different from proper jellyfish.
That's right - bluebottle
proper jellyfish, and therefore, jellyfish treatment such as vinegar is
not only useless - pouring vinegar on your wounds actually makes things
What Are They?
not only different
from proper jellyfish, but also most other animals.
Bluebottle jellyfish is
not a single organism,
but instead, in a similar way to corals and sea anemones, it consists
of many different individuals, so called polyps, which do depend on
each other for survival.
Each polyp have their own
- some make up the tentacles
that are used in defence and catching and killing the prey. Others make
up the reproductive and digestive system, and yet others make up the air filled sac that
animal float on the surface of the water, with tentacles hanging down
in the water.
Where Are They Found?
In Australia, we are so used to the dangerous
animals that are found nowhere else in the world, that it
crosses most of our minds that this creature, for a change, is also found in a lot of ocean
waters in the rest of the world. But it does like the
tropical and subtropical waters.
In the rest of the world
it is called
Portuguese Man of War, and it is known to be found in
waters of south
and west Africa, the Mediterranean, Gulf of
coast of Florida, Gulf of California, and Hawaiian islands.
And in Australia, it is much more common on the east coast than in the
or west, although they do turn up there too.
Sting and Venom
tentacles of the bluebottle jellyfish are constantly fishing for food
in the water, and
they carry is used
for killing the prey.
The tentacles can be up
to 30 metres
long, and if you happen to be in its way you will get
The tentacles will attach themselves to your body, leaving red marks
that last for a few days.
have small firing cells that inject
poison into you.
The poison first causes severe, sharp pain
that normally lasts for about a hour.
After that it turns to a joint ache.
In some cases, further
such as vomiting, nausea, headache, breathing difficulties, shock,
fever, muscle cramps, or back and abdominal pain may develop.
A sting can also cause an allergic
Obviously children, old people, and people with allergies are at a
higher risk for complications.
get out of the water
and try getting the tentacles off you without touching them with your
Pour salt water
on the wounds.
Then pour hot water
woulds - it defuses the poison.
Do not pour vinegar, it will
only fire more stinging cells that will release more poison
(vinegar is an excellent means for box
jellyfish and irukandji
but not bluebottle). Do not rub the affected
again it only releases more poison.
Ice packs can be used to reduce pain.
lasts much longer than a hour, or you get a reaction of any other kind,
you should seek medical
No bluebottle fatalities have been confirmed in Australia but up to 30,000 stings a year are reported,
most on the eastern coast of the country.
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contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my partner Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old Telegraph Track). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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