Moon Jellies (Day 246)

As the heat began to descend on Berkeley this morning I escaped to Marin where several of the Albany Bulb swimmers were meeting for Caz’s birthday swim at Heart’s Desire beach on Tomales Bay. 

It was a perfect morning, impossibly blue sky and clear water. The beach was still pretty quiet when we arrived and we settled into a corner of sand and got changed for our swim.

Sliding into the cool, clean water was heavenly until I dipped my head under and saw blooms of jellyfish (I just learned that a large group of jellyfish is called a bloom; a small group is a smack).

In smacks and blooms, the jellyfish proliferated and I struggled to make peace with them. These particular moon jellyfish don’t sting and I knew this; first intellectually and then with my body as I brushed up against them or inadvertently stuck my hand directly into their fleshy bodies while plunging an arm in for front crawl. They didn’t sting. Knowing this didn’t stop me from stressing about them. I spent a good part of the first half of the swim trying to dodge them; swimming around them in ridiculous zigzagging patterns. 

Caz the Birthday Queen

Eventually, I let go. For a while, I swam breaststroke next to Susan who said that deliberately touching them helped, making the contact intentional rather than a surprise. I later learned Kira’s strategy was to sing made-up ditties about them.

The beach got crowded while we were away on our swim

On my way back, I relaxed and appreciated their graceful beauty, wondered at the way they gathered in groups (apparently it helps them gather food). I took videos and marveled. 

After our swim, we gathered for a feast laid out on Colleen’s paddle board (dubbed a smorgasboard by Susan). Everything was delicious and the company was lovely. There was cake for Caz and every kind delight one might wish for after a long swim.

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