The weather today was pretty bad, but it was still very nice to go for a quick stroll on the beach; we chose a new destination: Gunwalloe near Helston. The beach and cliffs here are more reminiscent of some of the North Coast spots, quite barren. At the moment, Facebook and Instagram are overflowing with pretty pictures of washed up Portuguese man o’ wars (or Portuguese men o’ war?) in Cornwall, but we only saw two small shrivelled up ones (at Holywell Beach) so far. It was therefore great to see ten or so on the high tide strand line at Dollar Cove and Gunwalloe Church Cove. The smaller ones measured only five cm or so, with the largest one close to 20 cm (the size refers to the pasty-shaped, gas-filled float or pneumatophore). Unlike true jellyfish, which can move by contracting muscles around their bell, the Portuguese man o’ War (Physalia physalis) just sails. More amazingly, they actually are not individuals but colonies comprised of different, specialized individuals (it is getting late writing this, so I will lazily refer to Wikipedia). Stunning colours and truly great finds!
Interesting to see this, having grown up in Falmouth. I got one of these caught up in my snorkel recently while swimming in Sydney harbour catching fish for the aquarium that I set up for my daughter, who lives near Manly. The stinging cells are very efficient! It would seem that I was unlucky, since, while common on the surfing beaches, no one that I spoke to was aware that they occasionally drift into Sydney harbour’s creeks.
that sounds painful!
Hope you managed to get some fish for your daughters aquarium though!