Today we heard tale of a Maui south shore beach with some very unwelcome visitors: The Portuguese man o war. Apparently, these unusually blue beauties were creating quite a stir. Snorkelers and swimmers were coming out of the water with long, blue tentacle-like stinkers wrapped around an ankle or wrist, and looking generally unhappy. The water was alive with bobbing, tiny blue buoys, and the beach was strewn with what looked like deflated blue balloons with long streamers, making beach goers nervous as they picked their way along the shore carefully avoiding stingers.
Such an occurrence on Maui is rare; men o war usually frequent Oahu instead. Today the winds, currents and tides likely dragged these creatures to the sunny shores of Maui. And, given that men o war are colonial creatures, they were likely here for the local produce and group discounts on activities. I jest.
According to 808Jellyfish.com, the box jellies and man o war varieties hit the Oahu shores 7-11 days after the full moon. For those of you on Maui who are looking for the good news, it’s that, for those days where you might be on a temporary beach fast either due to weather or the once-in-a-blue moon jellyfish parade, there’s always Maui’s magic lands. After all, you can’t be stung by a jellyfish, a man o’ war, or any other kind of sea creature from the safety of the Maui rainforest. Is it a rainy day at the beach? It may be a fine day at the top of Haleakala. There’s no West Nile virus or malaria, no snakes, no rabies on the island of Maui, so try on some natural mosquito repellent and take off for the jellyfish-free zone of the nearest crystal waterfall. Get in! Your guide will show you how and where to take the plunge, should you be inclined to do some cliff jumping.