Message in a Bottle

Could SW France Summer 2010 be worse than 2009’s?

Will  air shows, night surfing contests and other wave-riding events be doomed again due to poor swell conditions this August? Like an extinct volcano, is La Gravière gone for good? Or is it because of the El Nina or El Nino effect? Are we all gonna mute into SUP riders?

While the north Atlantic is again doing its best impersonation of the Med or even lake Geneva, (I heard some crew scored in Corsica recently…) a new menace is upon us: the man of war, the bluebottle, call it what ever you want but Physalia physalis jellyfish is here!

Yesterday after a 2 foot surf, I encountered a true Jaws scene, people suddenly rushing to their feet on their towels yelling at their kids to come in, frightened mothers, angry dads, kids in shock, lost lifeguards called left, right and center to help the wounded. Not enough time to pull up the Red Flag, without warning the attack started with the in-coming tide and the onshore wind…

Two, then three, then six people stung, screaming as if undergoing severe torture. Venom filled tentacles everywhere. 28°c in the air, beautiful sunshine and not a soul in the water. End of the holidays for the stung ones, traumatized kids not about to go back and play with those funny bottles again.

Normally only known to inhabit tropical waters, the jellyfish are here firstly because the Atlantic has been asleep, no swell and consistent onshore winds are pushing the squadrons of jellyfish towards the European coastlines. Secondly because their number one predator, the loggerhead turtle, has died from ingesting human plastic waste. Time to read the message in the bottle, the turtles probably hoping someone gets it…

For more gnarly Blue Bottle action, check this Youtube clip:


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