Its this time of year on the Great Barrier Reef that we get lots of questions about marine “stingers” i.e.. Jelly fish.

 

“Stinger season” here is typically from the start of November until May, and is when the waters are generally warm enough for the jelly fish polyps to release them selves from the inland waterways where they have been resting attached to rocks and asexually reproducing. During the cooler months.

 

Most jelly fish are quite harmless to humans but the box jellies are quite dangerous. Although they are generally not a worry to visitors to the Reef. However, as there is a slight risk, all precautions must and are taken.

 

The box jelly fish have a box shaped body (or bell) and have the long stinging tentacles coming off each corner. Like all jelly fish the tentacles and trigger “hairs” on them that once toughed cause a barb (nematoblast) to fire out and inject a venom. In the box jellies it is very toxic and can cause respiratory attacks, pain, nausea and in some instances cardiac arrest and death. Although this is extremely rare.

 

The  biggest is Chironex and is easily seen with the naked eye and can have long tentacles many meters long. The small one(size of a match stick) called Irukandji is harder to spot. So on the swimming beaches there are stinger nets where swimmers should go to, to swim safely.

 

The beaches are dragged daily by life guards (they walk the lengths of the beaches in the water towing a sample net to try and catch any if they are there) to see if any stingers are present and if there is any risk then a warning is given.

 

For us divers and snorkelers out on the Reef, it is unlikely to come across them, as they usually stay close to coastal waters and drift don the coast southwards.

 

So if swimming on the beaches make sure you swim in the stinger net enclosures.

 

Out on the Reef, as already mentioned, it is highly unlikely to come across them. However as an added precaution most of the operators will supply lycra stinger suits. These are the all in one, very thin material suit which will not only protect you from the stingers, but also the sun. Wearing beach wear like this (rash vests etc. are also good, will prevent any problem.

 

A lycra stinger suit usually has a hood and long sleeves and legs to protect all of your body. They come in different sizes too. Most operators offer them for free, but some do have a small charge to hire them.

 

Most divers will still only dive with shortie wet suits, as the risk is so minimal, but better be safe than risk it, so just ask for a lycra stinger suit if they don’t have one provided (again unusual for any operator not to).

 

As for specials, Mike Ball has added a few more dates on in December and a couple in January next year. $200 of Cod Hole and Coral Sea trips ad $500 off the 7 day trips.

 

Reef Quest has extended its specials though out November.

 

Here is the Reef Magic Reef Report

 

Water Temperature: 27 degrees

Underwater Visibility: 22 metres

 

CURRENT OBSERVATIONS

As of 4pm Today

 

Marine World:     ESE winds 9 knots

Low Isles:            SE winds 15 knots

Cairns Airport:    E winds 13 knots

 

3 DAY OUTLOOK

As per Bureau of Meteorology – Cooktown to Cardwell at 4pm

Monday:              E/SE 10-15 knots

Tuesday:            E/SE 10-15 knots

Wednesday:       E/SE 10-15 knots

Today’s Magic Moment: The name Wendy was made up for the book “Peter Pan”

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2 Responses to Stingers on the Barrier Reef

  1. Brian Henchey says:

    Hi – my wife and I are thinking about visiting from Canada in March (escaping thewinter here), however when looking at how much it rains in the north, it seems that we should come another time.
    Can you comment?
    Thanks.
    Brian.

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