Thursday, 24 September 2009


If you arrive at your favourite beach on a hot sunny morning and see very few people in the water, everyone else anxiously scanning the water's edge, and grown men armed with their kids' buckets and spades resolutely wading into the water and picking something out of it, watch out. But off the Cote d'Azur jellyfish ('meduses') are usually small and infrequent, and the sting isn't that bad. Brainless floating nerve systems. Dire predictions that through overfishing and agricultural run-off the world will be left with dead oceans full of nothing more than jellyfish. 'Jellies' we're supposed to call them, since they aren't fish.

Tangocommuter, emerging from a long swim, is called over by two wildly attractive young women standing in the shallows. But the focus of their attention is what one holds in her cupped hands: 'Are those meduses?' she asks. At first sight I see only water and then realise that there are dozens of tiny jellyfish in the water she holds, each hardly more than 1mm long. Her friend points to the sea we are standing in: it is a cloud of minute jellyfish.

Azur, as in 'Cote d'Azur'

No comments: