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Old 03-01-2006
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Jelly fish in the Caribbean??

My family took a chartered trip in the Caribbean the last week of July in 2004. We cruised the British Virgin Islands. It was a great trip, but the family was a little freaked out by all the jelly fish. What is the jelly fish season down there? We'd like to avoid them next time if possible. Many thanks for any information.
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Old 03-04-2006
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Summer

Sea Wasps are thought to "swarm" for summer night spawning about 10 days after a full moon in protected areas, such as leeward shores, sometimes brought in by tides over reefs and "trapped" near shore in great numbers. They generally occur in quiet, shallow waters of protected bays and estuaries, and over sandy-bottomed shorelines, though some species have been reported in the open ocean. Box jellies apparently descend to deeper water during daylight hours, but during summer months, adults are often reported at the surface.
The Sea Wasp found in the Caribbean is a box jellyfish with a small, four-sided, bell- shaped body, up to 2 x 3 inches, though often resembling a one inch "cube." Its four tentacles average about 12 inches long, one attached to each bottom corner of the body.

During certain parts of the year, and its difficult to predict exactly when, there is the rare, but real dangerof encountering a Portuguese Man-O-War. These jellyfish drift on surface currents and winds, and usually sit in dead current spots or drift onto the beaches. The Portuguese man-of-war (Physalia pelagica) is capable of giving a sting even after being washed ashore and apparently dead, therefore extreme caution is urged all bathers When these pests are in evidence. Severe cases of shock accompanied by stomach cramps, nausea, dizziness and pain have been reported after tl1e sting of Physalia. Pain may be felt in the armpit and groin within 15 minutes. In some cases breathing becomes difficult and backache may be experienced. In any event, the Portuguese man-of-war is one of the most violent stinging of all marine invertebrates and should be avoided.

First Aid: Generally soak area with household vinegar to keep undischarged nematocysts from firing, which then may be removed. Soak exposed eyes copiously with tap water. For various symptoms other than pain not bearable after applying ice packs, take the patient to an emergency room. Get immediate medical help for severe reactions as stinging may bring about anaphylactic shock.

HTH,
Gord May
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