Not a Balloon!

warningWhat looked like translucent blue balloons were scattered here and there along the shoreline. They were almost an oval shape and ranged in size from small to medium.

I had seen them last year and were told they were jelly fish. They didn’t look dangerous but I had no plans to touch one to find out!

On my way home from a walk this morning, I encountered two friends who pointed to one and asked if I knew what it was. One bent down, small stick in hand, to get a closer look.

Suddenly three young Mexican girls came running towards us, yelling, “No! No touch!” They tried to find the English words to make us understand. My limited Spanish came into play and I said, “Peligroso” which means dangerous. The girls nodded and looked quite relieved that we understood.

My friend thanked them and one little girl smiled and said, “You are welcome.” The girls then ran off in the other directions, happy to know they had kept us safe.

This concern for strangers is one of the many reasons I love the people in our adopted winter home.

I did a little research when I got home and discovered that although closely related, these were not jelly fish but Portuguese man o’war. Their long tentacles, which were buried in the sand when we saw them, grow to an average of ten meters and contain barbed tubes that deliver a venom capable of paralyzing and kill small fish and crustaceans. The sting is rarely deadly to people but is extremely painful.

Once again, I thanked the unknown girls on the beach who ensured we didn’t find out how painful it could be.

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