‘By-the-wind-sailors’ drop in on the coast

You never know what you might find on a beach, especially an Atlantic west side beach. Over the years pretty much every type of flotsam and jetsam has come ashore and lots more beside.

This time hundreds of ‘fingerprints’ have found their way onto the sandy beach at Barvas. A close look shows transparent patterned ovals attached at right angles to give a clear impression of shed skin! However (without the help of CSI) it was soon fathomed out by Troy.

While recently out beachcombing he discovered the mysterious shapes on the tide line. After a quick check of books and the internet he discovered that they are actually remnants of jelly fish known as ‘By-the-wind-sailors’ or by its latin name Velella velella

They are usually deep blue in colour, when they have a flotation sack attached, but their most obvious feature is a small stiff sail that catches the wind and propels them over the surface of the sea. Under certain wind conditions, they can become stranded on beaches in the thousands and in the Barvas instance having lost the sacks that gave them their blue colour.

Having no means of locomotion, By-the-wind-sailors are at the mercy of prevailing winds for moving around the seas. Recent prevailing winds have driven the jellyfish across the Atlantic from warmer waters such as the Caribbean.

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One Response to ‘By-the-wind-sailors’ drop in on the coast

  1. Peter Byles says:

    A friend who visits your blog site drew my attention to your ‘By-the wind Sailor’ findings. In Sept. 2004 the Gulf Stream and prolonged SW winds delivered large numbers of these creatures to the shores of Pembrokeshire (and other Western coasts). When they are fresh they are a beautiful Aquamarine Blue. I have a photo taken with a modest camera, but not too bad. How can I send it to you?
    Peter Byles

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