Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jelly with breakfast

       I've been up in the Seattle area over the last few days, and was staying at a great little rental cottage right smack on the water.  On Tuesday, I'd awakened early. The tide was in, which meant that the water was all the way up to the pilings on which the cottage's foundation rested.  I'd made my morning coffee and was standing at a window in the kitchen, looking straight down at the water.  And something sort of pale and fuzzy caught my eye.  I looked closer.  It was whitish and sort of translucent.  Seaweed? A plastic bag under the water? 

A jellyfish!

I'd never seen a jellyfish outside of an aquarium.  I watched some more, noticing that it had started to drizzle a bit and drops were hitting the still surface of the water.

Wait....those weren't drops. It wasn't raining.  That was the water surface moving because there were more jellyfish.

And more. And more.

I realized that there were thousands of them, as far as I could see, just drifting, pulsing slowly as they do.  A jellyfish ballet right outside my window.  It was mesmerizing.

 I ran to wake up Miss C, who grudgingly got out of bed to come see and then was instantly awed and delighted to see the water water ballet we had performing right outside our window.  She consulted the Google and learned that they were Moon Jellies, quite common in the Puget Sound and distinctive for the four-leaf-clover looking structures which, it turns out, are gonads.  The male jellies' are white, the females are a pinkish tone. 

And then Miss C spotted this fellow, off a ways under the surface of the water so it was hard to see him clearly:

We think it was a Lion's Mane jellyfish. 

Good thing we weren't going swimming.  But what a magical sight!


  1. Wow! Magical is right!

  2. Wonderful photos!

  3. Lovely photos! I've never seen that kind of red jelly fish, is it a poison one?

  4. Vera, I had to look it up to see. The white moon jellies are apparently relatively harmless to humans. But the lion's mane jellies do sting, and because of their size they can be very painful although rarely fatal. Apparently there's a Sherlock Holmes story called The Lion's Mane where a guy dies and his last words are "lions mane!" and Sherlock eventually realizes that he is dying of the jellyfish stings because of his weak heart. But gosh, imagine going swimming and finding oneself amid that massive school of white jellyfish. Even without stinging it would seriously freak me out.

  5. I have swam with small, gossamer jellies. It was a weird sensation but not as weird as swimming through water thick with gelatinous fish eggs (or something!)