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Sep. 15 2009 - 10:01 pm | 9,503 views | 1 recommendation | 1 comment

At play in the seas of the killer jellyfish

boxjellyfishsignI’m not sure how you ignore that sign, at left. It nearly resembles an alien abduction. At the very least, it says, “You are promised a very gross time.” 

But 61 people so far this week have decided that the usually excruciating sting of the box jellyfish is worth the price of admission to Hawaii’s beaches, as reported by KHNL.com: 

“This water is fantastic, so warm,” Mila Golijanin, resident of Canada, said. “It’s fantastic and beach is amazing.” Golijanin and many others here on vacation are ignoring the box jellyfish warning signs at Waikiki Beach and taking their chances in the water. ”Who cares about the jellyfish?” Golijanin said before going back into the water. For some, the adventure comes at a price. ”I saw the sign and I says, well, what do they look like,” Luz Elower, resident of California, said. “So I was looking and I didn’t see anything, but then all of the sudden, bang.” A lifeguard sprays white vinegar on Elower’s arm, after the 76-year-old suffers a painful sting.

Box jellyfish are about 1/2,000th the size of the giant jellyfish that have been invading Japanese waters this year. But their venom — injected via tiny filaments that shoot into your skin like a cop’s Taser dart — imparts one of the most painful and deadly stings in nature. Since 1954, box jellyfish venom has caused over 3,000 recorded deaths, often due to cardiac arrest. You could combine the fatalities of the four most dangerous shark species and they don’t come anywhere near that level of lethality. A bad sting can leave permanent scars

But we humans tend to reserve the right to endanger ourselves. How can you qualify the danger of, say, rock climbing, versus the danger riding your bicycle on a dangerous road? What are the chances of getting killed by a box jellyfish versus dying in a car accident on the way to the beach.

I don’t know, but I think I’d at least wear a wet suit if I didn’t care about the sign. 

via Waikiki lifeguards treat 61 for box jellyfish stings – KHNL NBC 8 Honolulu Hawaii-.


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  1. collapse expand

    Not bad for a brainless, spineless, heartless organism that hasn’t evolved for millions of years.

    As an aside, did you hear about the guy who tried to swim from Santa Cruz to Monterey, but forgot to check conditions, and swam right into a jelly bloom? No wetsuit, he had to turn back after 3 miles. Awesome.

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    I've worked as a ghostwriter, a magazine editor, and an acquisitions editor in publishing, and lived for quite a while in NYC. Now I live in the trees and am a freelance "content provider" for print and digital media and for broadcast programming. I also rep the work of angling artist Ernest Schwiebert. I published a short story collection, "The Midnight Fish," in 2001, and the satires, "The Vampire Survival Guide," (2008) and "The Vampire Seduction Handbook," co-written with Luc Richard Ballion" (2009). My novels are represented by Harold Ober Associates, NYC.

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    Spring ‘10: Going fishing, making stuff up, fooling my friends, trying to find an illustrator for a graphic-novel project. Other than those things, the usual: Working on a new long-form project while trying to sell the others.