Avoiding Jellyfish Stings While Snorkeling

We love swimming in the ocean and snorkeling. We have snorkeled in Bali, Costa Rica, Mexico, and on the Hawaiian islands of Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii, as well as in California and Florida. Being able to have a fun and safe swim in the sea is one of the true pleasures of traveling for us and you don’t have to be uber fit or young to enjoy a snorkel adventure!

Many folks have asked us about the dangerous creatures in the ocean and if we were afraid of being hurt. Like many subjects, there is a lot of misinformation and fear mongering about the dangers of going for a swim, but there are also some real perils!

One of these dangers is being stung by a jellyfish. In our many years of snorkeling, we only experienced this once. While snorkeling in Pemuteran on the island of Bali in Indonesia, we suddenly experienced what felt like small electric shocks on our arms and legs. It was uncomfortable enough to cause us to leave the water.

After speaking with a local diver, we learned that there were sometimes almost invisible little jellyfish off the coast off Bali that could sting you. Although we weren’t really hurt, the experience prompted us to do some research and we soon purchased rash guard shirts for each of us and a jellyfish sting preventive lotion called Safe Sea.

Safe Snorkeling in Hawaii

The Hawaiian islands are one of our favorite places to snorkel. We have done lots of snorkeling there and think it has been some of the best snorkeling in terms of seeing lots of varieties of colorful fish and beautiful coral. We were aware that there were times that box jellyfish were present in the ocean on east and south facing beaches and have seen signs posted on the beach warning swimmers away.

In February 2016, we read an online article about an increase in box jellyfish in Hawaii, published by Beat of Hawaii. It is good to have an article like this one to help you know what to look for, best times to schedule your Hawaii vacation, and how to treat stings if you are unlucky enough to get stung! You can read it here.

There are specific times when the jellyfish show up off the south coast of Hawaii and they are correlated with the full moon. The predicted dates for 2017 are below.

2017

January 19 to 21
February 19 to 21
March 18 to 20
April 19 to 21
May 18 to 20
June 17 to 19
July 16 to 18
August 15 to 17
September 14 to 16
October 12 to 14
November 12 to 14
December 10 to 12

The box jellyfish usually appear ten days after a full moon. You can check the date of a full moon and count ten days after that. Also be cautious a few days before and after the ten day mark.

Besides knowing these dates, it is a good idea to walk on the beach before going in the water. If you see the dead jellyfish on the beach, don’t go in and notify any lifeguards so they can post warnings. Asking locals can also be a good way to make sure there are no jellyfish present in the water.

Have fun in the sea

Playing in the oceans of the world is one of the reasons that we are long term travelers. Outdoor activities require people to respect nature and use common sense and precautions to stay safe and have fun. By being prepared for challenges, you can enjoy yourself and not be at risk.

We have added rash guard shirts and Safe Sea, a jellyfish sting prevention lotion, to our travel gear along with sunscreen, and our masks, snorkels and fins.

Watch this video if you want to learn more about how a jellyfish stings you. It is a bit long, but I found it fascintating.

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About

Laurie is an artist and therapist who loves to travel. She and her husband Neil are currently traveling the world and getting free lodging by house sitting.

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