Rebeca Power got an unpleasant surprise last Thursday swimming out towards the Dutchman, when she felt a feeling like a bite and ended up with these marks on her leg.
Looks like it could have been a bite and Rebeca wasn’t sure, so we called in the experts. Carol Cashell sent the picture to the Coastal & Marine Research Centre Environmental Research Institute in UCC for an opinion and here’s what Martina Gosch had to say:
“So we’ve definitely ruled out a seal. Even if it were just a pup taking a nibble out of curiosity or scratching with its nails we would expect to see far more damage and the breadth of the wound is far too small for a seal’s mouth. There are no shark species in our inshore waters that are dangerous to swimmers, so I would encourage bathers in Myrtleville not to avoid going swimming there.
Our best guess (and I stress guess) is that its caused from a nasty jellyfish sting. Prolonged exposure to their tentacles can cause this type of damage. Furthermore we are in peak jellyfish season and the odd venomous one will occasionally come in quite close to shore. There are other options too like scraping off random detritis or coming into contact with a scorpionfish. However its near impossible to tell exactly what caused this injury – but it’s not a bite.
Our advice would be to keep an eye on it over the next 24 hours. Should she experience any nausea or fever go straight to her GP as it could become infected. Also perhaps wearing a wetsuit at the moment while the jellies are around might help avoid incidents like this over the summer.”
Or, as all sea swimmers say at this time of year – bloody jellies.