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Saturday, May 25, 2002

Lots of jelly, but no peanut butter

On Thursday (May23) we all headed down to Malibu for a work/play session at Joe's favorite playground. He can always seem to entertain himself for a few hours while Rosanne and I work on our writing. After a while we headed over to Zuma Beach for a quick walk in the waves. What greeted us was quite interesting.

Scattered along the beach were dozens, if not hundreds, of small blue forms. Each had a rigid fin rising up and I immediately assumed they were jellyfish. To my amazement, no one seemed to be paying them much attention. Having never seen a jellyfish "up-close-and-personal" I wondered if I was correct in my assumption.

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A fellow beach-goer, more knowledgeable than myself, informed me that they were indeed jellyfish, but they were relatively harmless unless you touched their underside. It seems they lose most of their tentacles as they wash ashore. It still made for an interesting walk as we made great pains not to step on any of them.

Today I took a few minutes to find a little more information on our little, blue beachcombers. A search on Google directed me to the this Monterey Herald article about a similar incursion up north. According to this article, these "By-the-wind-sailors" (Velella velella) are not true jellyfish, but related to them. They are similar to the much larger and more dangerous Portuguese Man-o-War and both use a rigid fin on top of their bodies like a sail, catching the wind to help them move about.

It seems that even after living in California for nearly 16 years we are still learning new things. Yet another entry for Joe's childhood journal.


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