1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Man O' War, Friend or Foe?

When fellow bloggers remind me that I am living in a virtual paradise (please see comments on my previous post), I consider it my duty to investigate their assumption. Hubby and I visited Pensacola Beach on Sunday and found the red flags flying for good reason. The surf was rough and DANGEROUS! The only people allowed in the water wore wet suits and rode flimsy boards. All other reasonable souls ate lunch, walked, and observed life on land.

These prints in the sand do not belong to us. Hubby and I wore sandals on the beach because we found lots of interesting blue blobs littering the beach. I initially thought they were jellyfish, but Hubby remembered that they are much more dangerous than mere jellyfish. They are PORTUGESE MAN (MEN?) O' WAR! Even busy people like the first Prince Albert of Monaco found them fascinating enough to enlist the help of renowned scientists to study them. The original Prince Albert, as a young man, had the foresight, intelligence, and initiative (and lest we forget, lots of time and money!) to explore the forbidding waters of the Arctic Circle and open an oceanographic institute in Monaco. It is too bad the current Prince Albert of Monaco found chasing skirts more to his liking as a young man than seriously following in his progenitor's footsteps. For some reason, in the last several years, he has suddenly discovered the old man's passion and has jumped on the global warming bandwagon (ship?). It had very nearly left him behind.

I was glad for once that Micah was not with us on the beach because he would have been tempted to pick one up and could have been injured. These creatures, though they appear harmless and quite beautiful, can pose serious threats to curious or careless people. They should definitely not be handled or stepped on. Anaphylaxis can even occur in some people who are hypersensitive to the toxins in their long tentacles, traces of which can linger on objects such as shoes and beach toys. In spite of their dangerous methods of capturing prey, they are not without their own predators. They do provide food for various fish as well as loggerhead sea turtles.

Hubby has been suffering lately with a head cold, and a warm day at the beach helped clear his sinuses and some muddled thoughts in my own head. Just a few hours spent watching the waves and the curiosities they leave behind them can do that for just about anyone who likes to ponder.

The Kraken
Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millenial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the lumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.
--a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson--


  1. I had man-o-war tentacles wrap around my legs one time and I thought I would die for about a half a day! I had driven myself and friends to the beach (in High School days), and I drove a stick shift one else could drive one, and I was incompacitated! It was a huge disaster! We put about a thousand different home remedies on it and after about 12 hours it finally calmed down (the pain). I hate the site of these bad boys!!!

  2. I guess I am fortunate to have never seen one of these ugly things. That video is surreal. It looks like a big ole slug. Yuck! I hope no on got injured on them and all are savvy to the pain these things can cause. Curls my toes just thinking of it. Hope the hubby is on the mend and you guys have a wonderful New Year!

  3. Julie, sounds like you are very familiar with these bad boys. I read on one site that meat tenderizer is supposed to ease the pain. Somehow it dissolves the proteins that are responsible for the sting. It's something everyone along the coast ought to keep on hand, maybe even in the car. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Tina, after I realized what the blue blobs were, you can imagine how nervous I was for all of those surfer dudes and gals. It's possible that the critters were not in the area where the surfers were, though. After lunch, we drove a few miles down the road to a different section of the beach that had less surf and no surfers. I was kind of surprised that there was no purple flag flying that day. It's the one that warns of dangerous marine life.

  5. I know that every Paradise has its own drawbacks--I'm thankful that we don't have hurricanes here in Illinois, for example.

    These men o'war are fascinating! I've heard of them, but have never seen them before. I'm with Tina--they look like giant blue slugs. I hope no unsuspecting tourist--like me--picks one up!

  6. When someone mentions Man O' War I automatically think horse. Of course you won't find him on a beach;)

    Nasty jellyfish, yuck.

  7. The only good jellyfish (or Man-o-war) is a dead one. They sure are lovely, though. Like gigantic blue jewels. I'm afraid Micah wouldn't be the only one tempted to touch - me too.
    Have a happy 09!

  8. I've heard of these nasty things also. I'm glad I've not come in contact with them. The puffer fish is bad enough. All kinds of dangers on the beach but you can find some beautiful things also. I have an almost perfect conch shell I found. I gave it to Young'un for his collection.
    Have a great New Year.

  9. Hi W2W, pretty scary stuff there in paradise! I have had run ins with jellyfish babies floating and going down my swimsuit top, ouch! A walk on the beach, with shoes, though is nearly the most perfect activity on earth.
    ps, your blog is looking especially striking with the colors and photos!

  10. Hi! I got your message and just wanted to tell you that the vendor just told me to water in the cups of the bromeliads every 2-3 weeks, and only moisten the soil every 2 months or so, but not much. It will be a big experiment for me too! LOL :) Best wishes!

  11. Hi, Rose! A serpent in every garden, eh? You bet! And irresistably beautiful at that. Consider yourself warned, though, next time you visit a beach and see one of these guys. I hope your weather (and governor!) get under control soon. I'm glad there is someone like you in Illinois helping it save face these days. Keep up the good work!

  12. Marnie, I hadn't even thought about good old MOW. Secretariat will always be my favorite, for some reason. You're another Illinoisan giving us all some hope for the future. Thanks!

  13. Have you seen the Discover Channel show that talked about the Box Jellyfish? It's the most venomous of all they say. I lived in Charleston, South Carolina for five years when I was in the Navy and spent plenty of time at the local beaches. I never experienced anything harmful on the beaches. But did have a run in with fire ants once or twice. They're just as dangerous if you ask me. (I'm allergic to most bee stings, and think those stinging jellyfish would do me harm also.)

    The Kraken reminds me of nightmares I used to have about giant octopus'.

  14. Terrible cliches aside, don't you think old Blue Boy deserves some credit for fattening up some loggerheads? ;>} I hope '09 lets yin have its say for a change. May yours be prosperous and peaceful.

  15. (Last comment meant for WS.)

    Lola, you're so right. The beach always has a surprise or two up its sleeve to keep us on our toes. Beauty and the beasts! Have a great '09! I noticed that you posted recently. I will be over for a visit soon.

  16. Thank you, Frances, for the compliment! It means a lot to me, and I'm glad you like what you see. I know I can count on another Illinoisan from way back to be an encourager. Let us know how the Hamamelis smells when the buds open all the way!

  17. Thanks, Julie, for answering my question here! Maybe the brom is one houseplant that will thrive on my benign neglect. I will remember to keep the cups filled and be stingy with the water elsewhere. We're accountable to each other now, you know. May the best brom (keeper) win!

  18. TC, I only got the Discovery Channel for the last year when we were in Illinois because we had cable there. No gardening chores there in the apartment, so TV was a smidgeon of solace. Here we have a fairly good antenna capturing several PBS stations, and I'm content. I actually thought of your anaphylactic reaction to fire ants when I realized what the blue blobs were. Too scary! So you like the Kraken image with the far-reaching tentacles? Stay warm and dry in the New Year! (You did get your water pipe fixed, right?)

  19. Wonderful post with the video clip and all. I was not familiar with those as I have never lived near the ocean..much as I wish I did. Please tell hubby that I hopes he feels better..Have a very healthy and happy New Year...

  20. Thank you, Michelle. I guess I had never seen them before either, because I thought they were just jellyfish. Hubby was the one who remembered seeing them somewhere before and knew what they were. Seems like before I started blogging, my powers of observation were either nonexistent or woefully undeveloped. This past year has been a real eye-opener for me in more ways than you can imagine. And I'm really grateful for all of the wonderful people I've "met," like you, while blogging. Best wishes to you and your family for a great New Year!

  21. So there are serpents in your Garden of Eden, too bad. They are beautiful aren't they? Fun to see the beach and blue skies as I watch snow fall. Happy New Year!

  22. Hi, Sarah. Yes, the poor things stranded on the beach couldn't help being dangerous, but there they were, tentacles and all. I hope your New Year is serpent-free and full of adventure!

  23. Hello-
    Beautiful photos of sky and sea, plus closeups of the dangerous man of war.
    Your narration is informative.
    Allergies are prevalent in our family so we were alerted to this as young ones when we vacationed on beaches.
    I hope that this new year continues to bring new wonders into your life and that Best wishes!

  24. Hello, Gel! I'm glad you came to visit and thank you for the compliments. I like to share things about this world that intrigue me or pique my own curiosity. Best wishes for you and your family for the New Year!

  25. Thanks for stopping by, I don't have a lot of locals who comment. I think I recognize where you were for your mon'o war walk, Casino beach? This is my post from there during Hurricane Ike:

    You might also want to check out Barrier Island Girl. Her Pensacola Beach photos are wonderful:

    Catch you later.

  26. Hi, Walk2Write--I'm slowly catching up on my reading. That ocean looks inviting, even it's rough. When I was a kid, my sister and I went running on a Texas beach jumping on these funny bubbly things. Fortunately they were just your average jelly fish--but our legs stung for days! I hope your new year/new life in Florida is wonderful.

  27. Hello, PJ, and thanks for visiting. The man o'war's pic was taken on the portion of beach closest to Fort Pickens. I'm not even sure if that section has a name. The first picture was taken from the new outdoor eating area at the beginning of the pier. Thanks for the links. I will check them out. I have linked to your post on the pelican drop in my latest post. I hope you don't mind?

  28. Thanks, Cosmo. I hope you enjoyed your vacation in AZ. The pictures you took were stunning. Happy New Year to you and thanks for the good wishes!

  29. Ewww! They make a compelling argument against walking barefoot on the beach!

  30. Hi, GG! I don't like walking barefoot on the beach anyway. Too many people bring their dogs for a walk (even though pets are prohibited at the beach here) or leave sharp objects lying around. Seeing the Man O' War finally convinced my husband to keep his sandals on too.

  31. In south africa we simply call them blue bottles and i have suffered the sting of this creature as a kid. the memory will never leave my mind