We made new friends on the beach yesterday – jellyfish girl and octopus boy (sic) spent quite some time with Josie digging pools and rescuing very dead (but very beautiful) jellyfish. Josie absolutely idolises the 6-year-old jellyfish girl. We had them round for a barbeque last night. They brought their parents and younger brother, who goes by The Most Excellent Name of James. He calls hippos harrypottermuses, which is what they should be after all. We had a great time. The different dynamic between parents with kids on the beach is interesting and refreshing.
On a more scientific note (and therefore of more inherent interest to my direct forebears) there have, for the last few days, been great schools of whitebait in the shallows. If you wade out to waist depth and stand very still – as opposed to rushing screaming through the shallows with a net on a bit of stick, for example – you will soon be surrounded by a dark cloud of hundreds of thousands of tiny silver fish. Following the fish are hundreds and hundreds of bright purple and blue and orange jellyfish. I remember seeing these in 2000 when I first sailed in this bay. The water is exceptionally clear and I could see them – some quite large – floating below me. They really are very beautiful. Most of those the kids get hold of are dead, but if you wade out you can find them hunting – some just an inch across but dealing with whitebait. The largest I’ve found was about eight inches across when it’s mantle wasn’t flared and was towing ten inches or so of folded sheet-like lethal stings. It was eating a couple of small fish. I wandered back to my towel to watch and see if it would find any small children.
Many parents are warning their kids off, but I’ve picked up a few and reckon they’re safe if you’re not whitebait. I think there would be a lot more screaming kids about if that wasn’t the case.
I think I might take the Laser out this afternoon. I have been barefoot for nearly a week now. My feet might be blistered and bleeding but like the Spartans I feel better for it. Unlike the Spartans, I’m not living on a diet of olive stones and water. Stuffed chillies and Bud. My feet aren’t really sore, but I do feel better for it. There’s a jazz festival here this weekend, so that’s something to look forward to.