At play in the seas of the killer jellyfish
I’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.