Every now and so often, one starts things for one reason and then ends up, also doing something else, for a different reason.
We flew to Greece to attend a wedding.
As it was summer, I took a water proof cheap camera along to take some videos of us swimming and looking for style issues, like, do we actually swim crawl or is it more like a wiggle. We completed a considerable number of 3 to 4 km open water swims in the Mediterranean in the course of a 1 week holiday between August 12th and 19th 2013, so we were busy quite a bit. Already on the first day, we literally ran into these beautiful jellyfish. As my partner told me how intricate their anatomy was and to better see for myself, I started to take some pictures. Needless to say we went back for more footage. Without having expected any of this, I ended up with a photo series of great underwater shots of a type of jellyfish that – as some recent web search seemed to indicate – usually does not appear to swim in these waters. Swimming there ended up being a fascinating experience.
We did attend the wedding. And we had a great time.
This jellyfish is named Catostylus tagi, or blubber, and according to the Perseus website, an open ocean animal typically found in the Atlantic but also in the Pacific ocean, that might be relatively new to the Mediterranean.
The animals we saw were numerous and relatively widely spaced across the bay of Palio, Kavala, Greece.
They were usually in deeper cooler layers of water whereas the one white individual we ended up photographing in a really shallow area of a sand bank seemed to be somewhat of an exception. Within that week, we almost rammed such a jellyfish twice as these two swam directly under the water surface. The others usually were at 2-3 meters depth or lower.
There were no dead jellyfish anywhere on the shore that we saw. Sometimes, many small baby jellyfish appeared to accompany the bigger adult appearing models. There were no dead jellyfish to be seen on the shore, washed up dead or dying.
As we obviously made it to where these jellyfish swam in considerable numbers, some tentacle left overs did appear to make it to my skin. Very mild burns persisted for up to 2-3 hours, and skin redness was self limited. I had two or three occurrences and they were entirely harmless. I did wear swimming goggles though. Inasmuch as stings were concerned, the real bitch there were mosquitoes, not jellyfish.
All photos were taken with a Pentax camera. All images underwent color curve editing, mainly to remove the blue discoloration that is normally present in any underwater photography of a certain depth. Also, color differences inside the jellyfish bodies were specifically enhanced. All color curve modifications were applied on whole images, no pixel or area specific editing was performed.
This one even appears to miss a tentacle or two, an arm amputee too, awwww:
Human features for size comparison:
Favorite shadow image with my leg:
Comparison to real people:
Camera type used: Pentax Optio WG-III