Beware of bluebottles at beach

GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 05:00 27/12/2012
Southland Times photo
GWYNETH HYNDMAN/Fairfax NZ
The bluebottles at Oreti Beach, near Invercargill.

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Beach-goers weren't taking barefoot walks at Oreti Beach yesterday, as tiny blue bubbles - believed to be bluebottle jellyfish - were seen by the thousands on the sand and in the waves.

As people drove along the beach yesterday afternoon, the sound of popping could be heard.

In contrast to Christmas Day, nobody was in the waves at 5pm.

Mike Evans, of Invercargill, said his partner was stung while in the sea on Christmas Day and was not going back in because the jellyfish were still there.

Mr Evans said Tuesday had been the worst he had seen the jellyfish.

Walking down to the wet sand yesterday, he said he wasn't going back in because they were still prolific.

Armed with a camera, he took pictures of them instead.

When the jellyfish appeared earlier this month, Department of Conservation biodiversity programme manager Jessyca Bernard - said she was "99.9 per cent certain" they were bluebottle jellyfish and that they were dangerous even when dead.

People who saw them on the sand should not touch them and should keep their pets away from them.

The creatures could remain potent for hours or even days after their death or after the detachment of the tentacles.

Because they had no means of propulsion, they were moved along by a combination of winds, currents and tides, often congregating in thousands and sometimes being blown onto beaches.

If stung, an allergic reaction could follow and those affected should seek medical assistance, she said.

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