Just When You Thought It Was Safe…

May 28th, 2007




Dear Mum,

I haven’t been swimming in the sea here yet. As I mentioned in one of my journal entries, I like my sea served at room temperature, and it hasn’t quite got there yet.

I’m certain that I’ll be splashing around in the shallow end of the Meditteranean Pool fairly soon though, so I thought I’d better do a tiny bit of research and see what the likelihood is of any unpleasant surprises lurking beneath the surface of these calm and peaceful waters.

Cyprus has 49 Blue Flag beaches apparently, two of them being at Larnaca. The authorities have gone to a lot of trouble to make it that way. The water is clean and unpolluted, and as good as you’ll find anywhere in the Mediterranean. So, no danger of picking up any nasty diseases.

But what about fishy thingies? What about jellyfish for example? I hate jellyfish!

I came across a BBC news article from last August:

Thousands of holidaymakers in the Mediterranean have been stung by jellyfish as huge swarms of the creatures invade coastal waters. At least 30,000 people have been stung since summer began.

Fantastic! That’s boosted my confidence!

Global warming and overfishing of the predators that eat jellyfish are to blame apparently. No mention of Cyprus in that article though.

So I delved a bit further and found a recent article on the Cyprus Mail website.

Swimmers have been warned to be on the lookout after large concentrations of jellyfish were detected in the southern Aegean, near Rhodes. The Eastern Mediterranean eastbound currents, in conjunction with the westerly prevailing winds, are logically expected to carry some of these animals into the coastal waters of Cyprus.

Animals? !!

We don’t know exactly how many are in our waters but the conditions here don’t suit them…

Fussy little things then, are they? But just one jellyfish is too many for my liking!

Very few will make it here, with three reports so far coming to light. A mother and child have made a full recovery after coming into contact with the animals.

Animals!  –  there they go again. Just how big are these jellyfish?

Ok, let’s not get pedantic over terminology. The patients made a full recovery, and that’s what matters. But I’m not interested in making a full recovery. That is to say, I don’t want to be in a position where I need to!

Avoid bodily contact with jellyfish.

Really? You mean we can’t pick up the cute little jelly-welly-fishy-wishys and cuddle them?

If there is a lifeguard on duty, call him…

Yeah. Let him get stung instead.

I also found a definition of the symptoms of having a phobia of jellyfish:

Breathlessness, excessive sweating, dry mouth, shaking, heart palpitations, inability to speak or think clearly, a fear of dying, becoming mad or losing control, a sensation of detachment from reality or a full blown anxiety attack.

Hmmm… that seems to describe perfectly what I go through every time I see a beautiful woman and immediately fall in love. So all I have to do is overcome my fear of jellyfish and I’m sorted!

What else don’t I like? Sharks are pretty high up the list. Any sharks in the Med?

The existence of approximately 46 different species of sharks in the Mediterranean  –  16 of them measuring three or more metres in length, and 15 being potentially dangerous species  –  makes the occasional encounter between humans and these animals in the most frequented and most travelled sea unavoidable.

Unavoidable! i.e. inevitable! It’s not looking good is it?

And yeah, they can call a shark an animal if they like. I’m past caring! I just want to go for a dip in the sea and know that nothing’s going to eat me! Is that too much to ask?

I was going to do searches for Conga and Moray Eels, Baracuda, Manta Ray, Octo Pussies etc. but I was afraid that it might put me off salt-water swimming for life!

Anyway, life is all about taking chances. ‘If you never take chances, then you risk even more’. Never understood that one, but I thought I’d thow it in anyway.

So I shall take my life in my hands soon, along with the rest of the Cyprus sea-splashing society, and launch myself headfirst from the parapet of the highest sand-castle I can find into the shark-infested waters of the Jellyterraneanfish Sea, and hope that I don’t meet a crocodile of Piranha fish, on a school trip from South America.

What I’m really praying for is Eva Longoria to come floating past so I can do some synchronised swimming with her. And a dolphin of course. I could happily splash around with both of them for hours.


Being realistic, probably not much chance of either…     😦


– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Go on then, George. I know you’re dying to do your party piece. Give us your impersonation of a fish…


©MPB 28/May/2007
Blue Flag Beaches
BBC – Jellyfish
Cyprus Mail – Jellyfish
Jellyfish phobia definition
Mediterranean shark info


One Response to Just When You Thought It Was Safe…

  1. Willy The Wisp says:

    love the Bush piccies. hilarious!

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