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    Beware Sea Lice and Jelly Fish!

    A reader wrote:

    Hi, my wife & I are considering a visit to Port Aransas and possibly other spots along the coast for body surfing. What’s the scoop on sea lice? I am not talking about the bait shrimp; I am talking about the jelly fish larvae that make you itch like crazy. If there are sea lice, are there times of year when they are more prevalent than others? Also, are there times of year when the surf is better than others?

    Sea lice are jelly fish babies, so as you can imagine, coming into contact with them is a somewhat painful experience. I found a few advertisements on the internet that say sea lice are more prevalent in the summer months but to be honest, I doubt this. I’ve gone to the beach and seen hundreds of jelly fish on the sand at all times of the year, and whenever there are jelly fish there are going to be jelly fish babies. Correct me if you know differently, but I don’t think sea lice are seasonal; I think those advertisers want you to buy their products and they know most people will be at the beach during the summer, so they emphasize summer sea lice.

    Sea lice skin reaction.

    Sea lice look like little white buggers, if you want to know the truth. People have various skin reactions to them. Included in this post is the picture of a girl who was scuba diving off the Gulf of Mexico (not sure where) and came into contact with sea lice. Apparently she was so bothered by them she had to go to the doctor. I’ve come into contact with sea lice many times, and they create a light burning sensation and a bit of itchiness that goes away after a few minutes. The most annoying situation is for sea lice to get into the waistline area of your swimming shorts, where they’ll stay and make you continually itch. Sea lice have never caused me to end a day at the beach, go to a doctor, or apply ointment. Your skin might react differently.


    Jelly Fish

    On another note, jelly fish aren’t much different from their babies. They’re bigger and they burn and itch a little more. I’ve seen kids stand up in the water and discover they had a jelly fish wrapped around their arm; they just yank it off and throw it in the water and stand there, a little freaked out. Some people, however, are allergic to them. So far I’ve only been discussing white jellyfish. There are also some dark blue jelly fish down here on the Gulf called Mano war jelly fish. I’ve heard that people who are allergic to them can die or be seriously hurt if they run into a Mano war; the good thing about Mano wars is that they have a big bubble that floats on top of the water so you see them coming. They only float along and aren’t mobile, so you don’t have to worry about them trying to come after you.

    Seasonal Surfing Conditions

    To answer the reader’s final question, surf is better during winter months than in summer months. Be sure to check the surf forecast at before heading down south for a surf trip.

    Got a Question?

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