Instead of our usual morning walk up to the water tower this morning, we chose to drive down the hill to Makaha Beach and walk in the sand instead. What an adventure that turned out to be….. with some new knowledge, to boot. (insert plug for unschooling here)
Those are not our footprints in the sand.
They were dozens……if not hundreds….of potentially deadly, Hawaiian box jellyfish. And we almost stepped on the!…….repeatedly…… They left a trail along the high tide line almost half the shoreline long.
Then the next quarter of the shoreline was dotted with large holes with large piles next to them. Some of the holes were almost as big as my foot! Normally , during the day, we see only the small crab holes… so I guess you have to get up pretty early to see the big boys.
Continuing south the sand is almost completely washed away, exposing rock that had been covered all winter.
I noticed that the milkier ones would occasionally bubble up, like it was gasping for air, but the clear ones never moved. These two had the tentacles entwined. Like two lovers that couldn’t bear to separate.
When we got back home we told the kids about them, and first, Jewel was sad we went without her, but then we were all interested to figure out why this happened. (enter unschooling activity plug here). With a quick search of the amazing, ingenious World Wide Web, we quickly learned, of all things…….the spawning habits of box jellyfish. Apparently this is a monthly thing, just most common on the windward and southern shores. About nine to ten days after a full moon thousands of jellyfish come near the shoreline to spawn, and it usually lasts three to four days. I checked the spawning calendar on 808jellyfish.com and sure enough, we are smack dab in the middle of their egg laying.
It made me sad to see all these helpless jellyfish just laying there, but then we watched crabs start to come out of their holes and check out the jelly’s. We hoped they would eat them, so it was nice to learn later that the jellyfish did not die in vain, and will in fact be scavenged up by the sand crabs.
And we thought we were just going for a walk.