Bird's Eye View of Bute


(2) Dead Right way up

(2) Dead Right way up

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The Lion that does not bite, but it gives one nasty sting!

This is the time that the Lions Mane Jellyfish arrive in our waters and end up on our shores. They are to be avoided at all costs as to be stung by one will cause you great distress for many hours. If you look in the inner harbour you may be able to see a few of them, and many more can be seen aground on the beaches out Battery Place etc. If you are swimming in the waters around Bute and have a mask or goggles on, then you may be able to spot them in time, but if you have just got on a cossie, then you are in for a bad time. They look very dangerous with their deep red lower parts, but the bits to watch out for are the long translucent trailers which are very hard to see that will cause you big problems.

Many years ago I was snorkling below the main pier looking for lobsters with a founder member of the Isle of Bute Sub Aqua Club, when we were covered in stings by these jellyfish. We did not know what was wrong with ourselves as we had on dry rubber suits, fins, mask snorkel and rubber gloves, so we thought we were safe. We thought that we had got the flu. It was not until we stripped of that we noticed the red weals on our wrists that we undestood what went wrong. The cuffs of our suits stopped about an inch from the cuffs of our gloves, leaving that part open to the stingers. Our suits had hoods on them, and as we had good masks we thought that this area was safe also, but the mouthpiece of the snorkel left our lips open to intruders. We still thought that we ok as we could see all around us and could swim away from these horrible things, but we could not see the streammers that had been ripped from the jellyfish as they had been thrown against the mussel covered pier structure from the wash from the ferries arriving at the pier which ended up floating about at surface level and we were swimming through them. At that time we did not know what to do with them, so we just went home feeling sorry for ourselves, and thole the pain, which is very unpleasant.

Well that is what happened to us, so do not let it happen to you, be very aware of these things, if the weather has been rough, then the waters edge may be covered in these stingers. Have a good look before you even go for a paddle, and as for a “skinny dip” at midnight forget it!
If you do get stung, then wipe the stung area with vinegar, or rub with alcohol, or make a paste with baking soda. Do not rinse with water, as that just makes matter worse.. Another remedy is to spread meat tenderiser on it. (so the book says). If in doubt or feeling poorly consult your doctor. Swim safe or do not swim at all.

Norrie Mulholland.

First Published in the Buteman, 19-05-2006

I have added two more images of them so that you will recognise them when you see them washed up on the shore 24-08-2011

A more modern cure is to apply urine to the sting area,( your own is preferable) but that is enough to stop you going for a dip in the first place?


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