We popped to the beach for a lunchtime walk yesterday, because Wren likes to go as often as she can and a daily dose of beach exploration does us all good.
We were very surprised to find that the beach was covered in jellyfish of a few different varieties. We used to see this happen from time to time when we were living in Cornwall, but it was our first jellyfish encounter since we moved up to the Orkney Islands.
It is always such a shame to see such beautiful creatures stranded on the beach, but fascinating all the same. Their colours and patterns are quite wonderful and there is something other-worldly about them. I suppose they do come from another world really, the world in the seas and oceans – never meant to be seen on land.
It has been very windy up here at times this week and I am guessing the weather out at sea has caught them and brought them too close to the shore.
A large area of tidal pools splits the sand in two at Saviskaill Bay. As we walked along the rocks we noticed a small jelly trapped in a tiny pool, not much bigger than itself. It was partially sticking out of the water and as the tide was at its lowest point, we knew that it would be hours before the sea came to its rescue.
We nearly always have a bucket with us at the beach so we scooped the jellyfish up (with some difficulty) and relocated it to a large pool much nearer to the sea.
I warned my kids to be very careful not to touch it, or any of the other jellies as they can sting even if they have been washed up. This particular jellyfish was a Blue Fire Jellyfish and can give a sting similar to a wasp’s sting.
My teens were fascinated by these wonderful creatures and really happy to have helped one. As we walked further along they managed to save another couple of jellies in trouble and it was nice to know that some of them at least, would be returning to the sea.
Unfortunately the jellyfish weren’t the only creatures that got swept into shallow waters. We also found two dogfish.
I feel like we experience the passing of time and the cycle of life and death a lot more, up here in these wild islands. Perhaps it is just that we notice things more, without all of the distractions of life on mainland UK or perhaps it is because we are often the first people to have seen something, before it has been cleared away.
Either way, I don’t think that it is a bad thing. For myself, I find that it makes me appreciate my own life all the more and also gives me a great respect for the natural world.
If you want to know more about some of the jellyfish found along the UK coast take a look at this handy guide https://coastmonkey.ie/jellyfish-identification-guide/