Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Jellyfish, and our first trip to Gozo, sort of

On Sunday, we went out on a boat with a number of other Americans. It was an oppressively hot day, which made it perfect to be on and occasionally in the amazingly cool and refreshing, sparkly blue and perfectly clear Med. We motored over to Gozo and anchored at Dwerja bay, right by the Fungus Rock (so called because of a fungus that grows there that is reputed to have medicinal properties. It is forbidden to actually climb onto the rock.) This was technically our first time to Gozo, but given that we never touched land I am not sure it counts.

We spent most of the day in and out of the water, eating, chatting, and getting in or out of the sun as temperature and need for fresh air shifted. Sunscreen was strongly recommended and frequently reapplied. We also took turns going out in the dinghy to explore some caves nearby. In the caves the temperature was a good 10 degrees Celsius cooler than outside, at least. Some of the guys took the route of crawling from one cave to another - there is a rocky ledge that you can walk along, then a small opening where you have to crawl on all fours to get through to the other side. I was not permitted to take that trip. I am surrounded by mother hens ... even Terry, who went through on a second trip out, said it was good I didn't try. Hmph.

Several people had masks and snorkels, and we worked out a relay system whereby folks on the boat - who could see the water more clearly - would alert those heading into the water whether or not jellyfish were spotted nearby. Then, folks in the water with the masks would check out if they saw any approaching.

Terry, and another individual, still managed to get stung. Terry made me take photos of the marks on his arm, which I can only presume he will post when he gets around to it.

Luckily, folks who have been here longer than we have had all the necessary provisions to promptly handle the sting - white vinegar and anti-itch cream. If you get stung by a jellyfish, you want to first rinse the area with salt water (NOT fresh water, which releases the toxins even further) then apply white vinegar to the area. When it has dried off, apply anti-itch cream. It won't be pretty, and it will continue to sting and sort of burn for a while but it too will heal and if all goes well without a scar.

As a side note, when I was snorkeling around, I could see tons of little fish, as well as jellyfish that were quite pretty when they stayed far away. The water was reputedly over 10 meters deep (I think. Terry will correct me if I got that wrong) and we could see all the way to the bottom. The clarity of the water here is unbelievable.

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