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Friday, September 26, 2014

Cala San Vincenzo and The Venomous Pelagia Noctiluca of Mallorca

We really enjoyed Cala San Vincenzo.  It's a small sandy beach at the head of a cove, with beautiful blue and turquoise water, and great views of rocky cliffs.  These cliffs are the backs of the slab of land that juts out in some of the photos of our previous Mallorca/Majorca post.  As you can see from the photos, it was an odd day for weather.  We had clouds alternating with sunny, clear skies, every ten minutes or so.  It was soothing to watch the shadows of the clouds slowly roll along the towering cliffs.

In photo above, some people are out in the water, which was pretty warm.  A lot of people were snorkeling, so we tried it too.  It was fun to watch small schools of 8" silver and white fish.  An isolated black and blue fish with red and purple highlights popped up here and there, and we hovered over the top of a few schools of hundreds of two-inch silver fish.  The water was fairly calm, and most of the time it was even shallow enough to stand up. All these favorable conditions were helping Jennifer become more comfortable than ever with snorkeling.

Unfortunately, we encountered another type of sea creature that left a mark on Jennifer's arm for two weeks.  We were swimming along peacefully when Jennifer suddenly popped up and yelled "something bit me!!!" My first thought was that there aren't any fish that would bite someone here, are there?  When I looked under the water - yikes!  - there was a reddish spotted jellyfish right next to Jennifer, bobbing under the surface.  It wasn't a clear jellyfish, or a purple Portuguese man-of-war, like I've seen many times before.  This was rust-colored, about 4 inches across, with white dots on its "petals."  Once I saw that, my skin started to crawl.  How many more of these are there?!  Needless to say, we swam back to shore as quickly as we could.

Once we got back, we saw yellowish welts raising up in a couple of spots near Jennifer's elbow.  We heard someone else saying they got stung too.  Then we found out they even have a special beach flag for jellyfish, sort of like red beach flags for dangerous tides.

Here's a reference I found about the Pelagia Noctiluca jellyfish.  Looks like we were lucky it wasn't worse!  
Pink jellyfish (Pelagia Noctiluca)
Sting level: painful and dangerous.
It is a 10 cm fluorescent jellyfish, transparent with pink or purple tones. It has 16 long tentacles that can cause pain, burning, nausea and muscle cramps. They are not very common, but if seen do not touch!
Another arcticle about this jellyfish: Pelagia Noctiluca invade Ireland!
The article above says they do NOT recommend URINE as a treatment for these stings! That's funny because Jennifer remembered an episode of Friends where Monica got stung by a jellyfish, and that's how they cured her.  I can't believe I'd never heard about that.

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