Tropical Beach Life
Tropical Beach Life
We’ve been spending almost every day exploring another new beach along the coast of Queensland. My wife is on the hunt for the perfect shell, while I’m learning about all the things that are different on these tropical beaches.
The further we head into the tropics, we are reminded about the threat of jellyfish. Many beaches have installed these “Stinger Nets” to protect swimmers from the larger Box Jellyfish. They can grow up to the size of a man’s head, and have tentacles that trail off behind its body for several feet. The season for these jellies runs in the winter months (Oct.-April) but they have been found later and sooner than that.
The other jellyfish threat is a marine stinger called the irukandji. These stingers are almost microscopic and often swim past the protection of the older stinger nets. The locals simply stay out of the water when the irikandji are in season, but full length body suits made out of lycra can also be worn for protection. Vinegar can often be found at public beaches to wash the sting area, and signs like these tell how to treat the sting. If enough a swimmer gets stung enough times, their heart stops from the toxins. An unprotected girl was fatally stung several months ago swimming on the Queensland coast.
What else can kill you in Queensland?
Rock fish: poisonous spines.
Blue Ringed Octopus: poisonous bite
Sea Snakes: poisonous bite
Cone Shell: toxic barb
These dangers also include the usual sharks and crocodiles that can end your day, but at least you can see these coming!
On a lighter note, one harmless organism, but equally interesting was the soldier crab. When the tide went out on certain beaches, these soldier crabs would come out of the sand en masse to scavenge for food. There were so many of them that I could hear them marching across the tidal flats. These crabs were different than the ones that made the balls outside their homes. These were called footballer crabs, because of the balls of sand they make after filtering the food out of it.
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