During a morning walk on an Australian beach, Brett Wallensky discovered a massive heap of sea creatures he described as “the stuff nightmares are made of.”
“There must have been thousands of them beached and they were all alive and wriggling,” Wallensky told Caters News. “The color of them was just amazing, it is so bright—almost alien.”
Lying in rock pools were thousands of venomous bluebottle jellyfish that had washed ashore at Barlings Beach in New South Wales on Friday, as was also reported in The Sydney Morning Herald.
The bluebottles, known outside of Australia as Portuguese man o’ war, feature long tentacles that can deliver a sharp sting.
“It was the stuff nightmares are made of,” Wallensky told Caters. “It was just horrible to look at them wriggling around and trying to sting you. If you fell in there and got that many stings all over you, I can’t imagine you would survive.
“The color of them was just amazing, it is so bright—almost alien.”
Indeed, Tui Benjamin of Caters described them as alien-like blue jellyfish.
“That is the only time in my life I have seen them in these quantities,” Wallensky told Caters. “I’ve never seen that many together before.”
Wallensky and his partner Claudia had seen the bluebottles floating on the surface of the water earlier while kayaking.
The Sydney Morning Herald writes:
Their blue, balloon-like sails are a common sight in Australian waters during the warmer months. Dragging long tentacles beneath the surface, the pretty but mysterious sea dweller is known to deliver a sharp sting.
Blue bottles are siphonphores, a strange kind of colonial jellyfish. Rather than being a single organism, individuals (or “zooids”) each make up parts of the colony’s tentacles, digestive system and more…
Beachgoers are advised to stay well clear, as even dead blue bottles can deliver a painful sting lasting up to a few minutes or several hours.
More than 10,000 people report being stung by bluebottles in Australia every year, and that number can climb to 30,000 in peak years.
Wallensky said he’d been stung by bluebottles several times as a boy, adding, “It does hurt very much.”
“Apparently they are sitting just off the continental shelf in their thousands just waiting to get blown into shore,” he told Caters. “It definitely put me off swimming in that area – it would have been crazy to go swimming when they are there in those numbers.”