Tag Archives: jellyfish

jellyfish on beach

New Smyrna Beach Jellyfish, Seaweed, and a Bumpy Beach Drive

We are still waiting for the boat we ordered to come in and I’m dying to get out on the water.  For now I must be content with visiting the beach and river.

This morning I headed over to Flagler Ave. to see how the ocean looked.  There have been beach advisories lately because of the high winds, which cause high tides and rip currents. And sure enough, the waves were crashing and the beach was a mess.

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Messy Beach and Rough Surf

The tide was going out, so I decided to drive down Penninsula Ave. and get onto the beach from one of those drive-on spots.  The one I chose had a big puddle of sea water at the bottom of the ramp.  The toll-collector and I watched the car ahead of me navigate it along the edge, and he made it.  I have a 4-wheel drive Subaru, which always handled very well in the snow, so I was not afraid of a sea puddle (it was a BIG puddle).  I slid around a bit but made it out to the beach traffic lanes fine.  But the driving was very bumpy because of all the ruts in the sand.  For that reason I didn’t go very far before parking.

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Portuguese man-o-war 

The first thing I noticed, besides all the seaweed, was the blue jellyfish.  Yes, man-of-war jellyfish were scattered along the beach.  I got a couple of pictures and didn’t know what type they were until I got home and showed the picture to my son.  He knew right away it was a man-of-war.  Believe it or not, people (tourists?) were still going in the water!

I walked the high tide line of sand hoping to find some cool shells, but all I found was the regular variety.  My goal was to get close to the jetty and boardwalk of the Smyrna Dunes Park down by Ponce Inlet, but it was too far to drive on that bumpy sand.  I may end up getting a pass so I can drive to the park and walk along the boardwalks.

sea bird on beach
Sea Bird in the Sand

I did see something odd though.  A sea bird was plopped down in the sand.  At first I thought it was dead, but it wasn’t.  I’ve never been to the beach when a bird was nestled in the dune area.  I snapped a photo without getting too close.

beach shells

The shells I found were the regular arks.  I was hoping to find some unusual seashells because of the high tide and rough surf.  I didn’t find any super unique shells, but I did collect a little slipper shell, a black rock, and a Sea Purse Bean (photo below).

There are a lot of sea beans mentioned in my “Florida’s Living Beaches” book.  Some have a much thicker ring, but they are all hard and roundish in shape.  This is the first time I have collected a sea bean.

sea bean

 

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Jellyfish Found in Florida

Lion's mane jellyfish
Lion’s mane jellyfish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many ways to enjoy the beach and there are some things at the beach that can ruin your fun too.  One reason we love being near the ocean is that it is ever changing.  From the tides coming and going, to the creatures we see walking the shoreline there is always something new to see.  And some days there will be jellyfish to contend with.

They are not something we really want to swim with at the ocean, but some jellyfish found on Florida beach shores are harmless.  In fact the clear blobs that look like a lump of transparent jelly are actually part of the former jellyfish.  The mesoglea, as it is called is the part of the jellyfish that was the “bell” shape on top.

Also the “moon jellies” are round, flat and clear, and the other type you may see is the Cannonball jelly.  It has a clear bell attached which is yellow to brown.  Ovate comb jellies can be seen glowing in the surf at nighttime if you are lucky enough to see them.

It’s best not to touch any jellyfish if you aren’t sure what it is.  Some can still sting you after they are dead.  The huge Lion’s Mane jellyfish is one that can do so, but it prefers cold water so you would only encounter it dead in Florida – my guess.  I’ve been stung, by something, while swimming and had welts all up the back of my leg.  I never saw the jellyfish though.

Check out this video of divers who found a Lion’s Mane jelly.