Can't believe it's already been a month in this glorious sunshine. Of course we did have two days of near frost while Saskatoon managed a warmer temperature...but things are back as they should be and I'm on the deck in shorts, while my Saskatonian friends should be wearing coats, mittens, scarves and hats. Not that I'm trying to be mean or anything, but seriously, if I ran away from there for some heat and found them sunning themselves while I froze, I would be seriously irritated.
Much has transpired since my arrival here, but other than one tiny little tale of jellyfish, not much else seems worthy of recounting. Anyway, on to the jellyfish story. It was a bright sunny day, and I decided I would go to the beach while mom and Shara went shopping. My beach of choice - the Colony. Now the Colony boasts world class tennis courts and very pricey condos for those with wealth dripping from them like an icecream cone in the sun. Despite my not fitting into that category, I found that the beach is actually open to the public, and if you wander into their restaurant (straight of of Cocktail with the hut and a feisty bartender) one can order a margarita and then head towards the white sands to find a lounger or a little shaded lounger complete with the banana leaf thatched umbrella to shade yourself. I, of course, chose the loungers closer to the water.
I was there early, and although there were a few people milling around, not a single soul was venturing into the water. This did not deter me, I headed to the water's edge, and noticed a lot of little jellyfish had been washed up on to the beach. They looked like clear jelly-like bubbles, so I was glad I was wearing water shoes. Anyway, I figured what the heck, they can't be dangerous, after all there are no warning signs posted around, and if there is any danger, someone will come charging down from the pool to yell at me to get out, after all, what else are lifeguards for? So I slowly waded into the water. The sensation was bizarre. Kind of what I think jello wrestling would be like. Every move I made I could feel the jelly fish swirling around my legs and every where I looked I was surrounded by the little suckers. Undaunted I waded further in until I was in up to my neck. I wanted to go further, but the thought of my hair full of jellyfish kind of made me hesitate. Anyway, other than the weird sensation of swimming in jello, no one seemed to care that I was in the water and all was quite peaceful. So I spent an hour or so swimming with the jellyfish. By then a few more people had wandered out to enjoy the sun and sand, but none of them came in the water. Surprisingly, the gulf water was really warm and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. After about an hour of swimming alone I started freaking myself out thinking of sharks...at that point I decided why the hell would anyone stay in the water if all they were doing was trying to remain perfectly still in order not to attract the attention of sharks...so I decided to get out.
Now you may wonder why I would be freaking out about sharks and the reason is this: About six years back when I was in Florida, I waded out into clear shallow waters and was just enjoying the view when I suddenly felt a strong bump against the back of my knees. Looking down I saw a large, very large, fish swimming near me. A second glance had me realizing it was a baby shark. I was a bit scared but not freaked out or anything and just stood there watching it. Then suddenly I had another thought...if the baby shark is out here bumping my legs...mama shark can't be far behind.
About then I started to panic and was about to bolt for the shore when I remembered that sharks are sometimes attracted to splashing and motion, so I slowly backed out of the water. I think those few moments felt like forever, but I was safe, nothing chewed off half my thigh, so whatever! Anyway, by the time I was out of the water I was over my fear and sprinted for the lifeguard all the while screaming "Shark shark!" feeling quite proud of myself. They closed that part of the beach that day, but by the next all was back to normal and I was once again frolicking away in the water. So apparently I've had some sort of delayed stress regarding the shark, cuz it never once bothered me again till now. But this year I am totally paranoid about a shark chewing off my leg.
Err sorry, forgot I was telling you the jellyfish story...anyway, I got out of the water, dried off, headed back to the bar for another margarita and then Mom and Shara showed up and off we went. When I mentioned the jellyfish, they seemed horrified and wondered how I didn't get stung. I happily reported that I was SURE these were non stinging jellyfish since no one had freaked out on me going in the water and there were no signs posted saying swimming was not allowed. This seemed to appease everyone....everyone until I got home and was near a computer. I started wondering about non stinging jellyfish, so I decided to do a search on them, and search Manatee beach. Turns out marine biologists in the area have been confounded by the sudden influx of large numbers of jellyfish and are thinking it's because of low salinity in the water. Also turns out there were lots and lots of warnings about not entering the water and special warnings about the manatee beach jellyfish that could incapacitate you should be stung! Soooo, how did I manage to swim peacefully with literally hundreds and hundreds of jellyfish all around me? I have a theory, I think my flabby thighs jiggled so much the poor little jellyfish thought I was the mother of all jellyfish, and chose to bow down and worship me, rather than sting me.
But the big question is...why did the Colony staff not stop me from entering the water? My guess, they couldn't care less if I lived or died..what's one less tourist in Florida after all?