Strong Spring winds drive tiny gelatinous creatures ashore where they tend to get stranded in prolific piles along the Oregon Coast. They add a new twist to the Oregon Coast sensual experience…
Sight- Views up and down coast abound in staggering beauty
Sound- Surf hits shoreline with countless rhythmic beats
Taste- Salt floats on ocean mist thick enough to lick
Touch- Rich textures defy ability to grasp them all
Smell- Strong Blue Tide stink wanders inland defies dune barriers
Vevella vevella are also called “by-the-wind sailors.” The small creatures utilize clear, triangular sails to travel across the surface of the ocean, drifting where the breeze takes them.
Brought ashore on the tides, the “sailors” are forced to become land-lubbers. Stranded…they lose their navy blue color and die.
Thousands of organisms experience the fate of death. Collectively, they create an enormous “dead fish” smell as they turn flaky and white.
For a short time, the Oregon Coast is a testament to the prolific nature of Vevella Vevella. These photos do not show them floating in on the waves. You will need to imagine a “blue tide” that they create when first washed ashore.
“Originally classified as a jelly, researchers have since recognized the creature as a unique species of hydrozoan, a class of predatory salt water animals. Each apparent individual is actually a complex colony of all-male or all-female polyps, connected by a canal system that transports food and waste. As by-the-wind sailors drift across the surface of the ocean they feed on plankton, stinging them with barb-tipped cells inside their tentacles. The venom poses no threat to humans, but people are cautioned against any physical interaction just in case.” (Oregon Coast Aquarium)
Weekly Photo Challenge: “Prolific“