Man of War Beach Walk

Beauties and Dangers Encountered During a Walk on the Beach

Over the years my selection of beach texture photography has expanded. Click this link or any photograph to visit my Textures Abstracts Patterns fine art gallery.

Setting off from the International Palms Resort Pam and I turned left, walking toward the pier, about 2.5 miles away. On the left is Lori Wilson (public) Park. One benefit of this location is the lifeguard station and “protected” swimming. We have reservations about ocean swimming: Sharks? Man ‘O War?

Headed north on Cocoa Beach – CLICK ME for more abstract photography.

That hotel with the dark windows, on the north side of Lori Wilson Park is the Hilton. This sandcastle, washed out by high tide, caught in the dawn light, was in front of the Hilton. It brings to mind the interaction of nature and people.

Washed Out Sand Castle – CLICK ME for more abstract photography.

There were strong on-shore winds that day. Dune grass driven by the wind made this pattern.

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Wind Driven Pattern – CLICK ME for more abstract photography.

The wind and tide washed ashore all sorts of man-mad junk.

These small pieces of plastic washes off distant islands by hurricanes, the plastic ground up into bits.

The branded drink holder, the “corn huskers” of the University of Nebraska Lincoln, does not speak well for the alumni as these are sold locally. Community-minded people walk the beach with bags, picking up the bigger stuff.

When the wind changed the small plastic washed out with the next high tide and the beach was cleared.

Debris from Hurricane and Tourists – CLICK ME for more abstract photography.

Corpse of a gull with ground up plastic bits.

Gull Corps – CLICK ME for more abstract photography.

The gull beak has the same cruel beauty in death as it does in life.

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Gull Corps – CLICK ME for more abstract photography.

The wind drove ashore living creatures, left them on the beach to dry out or as food for crabs and gulls. After a Man Of War washes up on a beach it is still dangerous. Long tentacles extend from the body and can deliver painful stings.

Beached Man Of War – CLICK ME for more abstract photography.

The person walking around these tentacles is wisely wearing shoes, as I can tell from the footprint shape.

Each such tentacle is threaded with stinging, venom-filled structures coiled, like a spring, ready to pump venom into the victim for the purpose of feeding, catching larval and small fishes and squids.

These structures, called nematocysts fire on contact and do not differentiate targets be it a human foot or a squid.

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Man of War with extended tentacles – CLICK ME for more abstract photography.

The crest of the Portuguese Man of War is very visible in the water, the sac can be inflated/deflated to catch the wind or even sink the organism to escape surface feeders. The fanciful resemblance of the floating crest to a sailing ship is the origin of the organism’s popular name. The scientific name is Physalia physalis. While it appears to be a single creature, it is actually several working together for common benefit.

Named After Sailing Ships – CLICK ME for more abstract photography.

In Australia they call these baddies “blue bottles.” So descriptive.

We talked with life guards about first aid procedure, for the stings, and were not comforted by their ignorance. We had done the research ourselves. Be informed before you step onto the beach. Do not expect well informed assistance in the case of a sting, pre-arm yourself with knowledge.

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Life guards were not knowledgeable – CLICK ME for more abstract photography.

This is an especially dangerous configuration of a beached Man O’ War (also known at Floating Terror): a blue balloon with strings trailing from it. Young children will see the balloon and want to grab or play with it. If we see tourist families with young children, when these are around, we will go out of our way to warn them.

Dangerous fun balloon configuration – CLICK ME for more abstract photography.

These disconcerting findings on the beach do not diminish our enjoyment of the environment, instead we are left with a greater appreciation and respect for the ocean.

Dunes welcome us home after a successful sunrise photo shoot.

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Glowing Dunes at Sun rise – CLICK ME for more abstract photography.

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22 thoughts on “Man of War Beach Walk

  1. Enjoyed this walk on the beach and your finds, Michael. Beautiful photos, and wow, how you captured the beauty of the Mano-of-War. Their iridescence and colors make them so attractive, easy to see why an unknowing person would want to touch it. Thanks for the info and warnings about it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I can see why children would want to pick it up, it is so pretty. Good to know that they are so dangerous. If I ever see one, I am prepared.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Beautiful post Michael! That Man of War is gorgeous, the colors are amazing. Very interesting.

    Where is this place exactly? It sounds like you and your wife had a nice time. 🙂

    Blessings to you both,

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Good to hear from you, Debbie. Cocoa Beach is a barrier beach that starts at the city of Cape Canaveral, south of the Air Force Station and site of our nation’s early space program. Part of the Space Coast.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh thank you! YES, that’s right. Funny, because I’ll be in Florida for travel with work (I work part-time at a spiritual organization) — and Cape Canaveral may be one of our stops. Blessings to you, Michael. Debbie

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  4. The Man if War jellyfish is a beautiful but deadly creature. When we lived in the West Indies. It was one of the sea creatures, besides sting rays and lion fish, that my parents taught us to avoid. I’ve been stung once. It’s very painful.

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  5. Wow! The jellyfish has beautiful blue and pink colors. My dad was stationed at Homestead AFB when I was little. He and my mom were sitting on the beach on the edge of the water and my mom was stung by one of those when it washed up on the beach beside her and grazed her hip. Mom said it was extremely painful even though it was a tiny Man of war. It was about the size of one of the bigger silver dollars.

    Awesome photos, Michael!

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