If you happen to have the incredible misfortune to step on a Weever fish, it’s important to know the steps to take. I’m helpfully listing them here. Not all of them are strictly necessary or helpful, but you can weed those out.
First of all, to avoid needing to know these steps, shuffle into the water – especially at low tide. Otherwise, you might meet this guy. Mostly they stay away from us and down in Sandycove – so there is hardly anyone in danger – but sometimes Ned drops a bucket of them in Myrtleville, so we have hundreds of swimmers to warn.
One useful thing to know is that after you’ve been spiked, if you stay in the water your foot will be so cold you won’t really feel the pain. You’ll know there’s something wrong, but it’s a deferral method. Try deferring for as long as you can. Do a ten hour swim. I only did an hour and was sorry I got out.
Once the pain starts to hit as your foot warms up, here’s what you do:
- Ring an expert on Weaver Fish. That’s Bernard. He’ll tell ya.
- Curse him when he doesn’t answer.
- Look up “weaver fish” on google.
- Just accept it when google tells you it’s showing you results for “weever fish”, not “weaver fish”. It’s not the time to get into a spelling argument about how Bernard told you to spell it. Curse.
- Realise your foot is getting sorer fast, that the pain is moving up your leg and you’re a long way from a basin of hot water. That’s what google told you to get.
- Drive home. Further cursing optional.
- Limp into house. Cursing optional, but likely.
- Do whatever is needed to get foot into basin of water at 40c+
- Put foot in water. Curse because it’s too hot.
- Replace foot in water. Pain is worse than the heat.
- Eventually receive call from weaver fish expert. Explain to Bernard you’re only interested in weever fish.
- Listen to Bernard’s stories about how much worse his weaver/weever fish attacks were. At least get some good advice about checking for spines left in the foot.
- Try to twist foot around to see if there are spines stuck in it.
- Ask spouse to check if there are spines.
- Graciously refuse spouse’s offer to get any spines out with a bread knife. “I’ll get in good and deep just to make sure”. No thanks. You’re grand.
- Sit with foot in basin and wait for pain to subside.
- Wait. A few fecks as the pain ebbs and flows.
- Wait. More hot water.
- Check google again to see how long they said this would last. Two hours for peak pain? It’s four hours since I was attacked. Feck.
- Wait. Curse a bit more. Add hot water.
- Attempt to put on shoe. Realise foot too swollen. Curse.
- Wait. It does fade to numbness. Took seven hours, though.
So, from Irish Water Safety: When entering the water, make plenty of noise with your feet and kick up the sand a little, this alerts the weever fish to your presence and they normally swim out in to deeper water away from you.
Otherwise, you’ll end up like this. And Bernard’s no feckin’ help. Believe me.