Tuesday, July 26, 2005

You Jellin'?

Finally, after months of cold, windy, gray weather, and weeks and weeks of nasty red tide, we turned a corner last week. Heat, sunshine, and beautiful blue water.

So, of course, every jellyfish in the Pacific decided to come ruin the party.

Yesterday was like nothing I'd ever seen. Dark brown spots, looking deceptively like kelp, could be seen dotting the face of every wave that broke. Between 6th St. and the pier there were literally hundreds of jellyfish drifting through the lineup.

I paddled out at around 3 PM. I'd spent the morning and afternoon on the bayside in Newport, letting my 2 year old run loose and wear himself out. I mostly just wanted to get wet, but it was kind of fun semi-blown-out conditions, with waist high peaks here and there. Plus, it was just so warm and pretty...a great day for just floating around.

I guess the jellyfish thought so too.

At first I thought it was just a couple of them I kept seeing over and over again. But then when the first set wave closed out over a few hundred feet, and you could see them dotting the entire face, that's when I wigged a bit. I was like a paranoid shark phobic floating over a school of great whites - feet in the air, quick pathetic dog paddles, head whipping back and forth, eyes bugged.

There's one right next to me...yow!...there's another one!

I couldn't even concentrate on the waves. And when it came time to duckdive I started doing these pathetic little push-thrus, images coursing through my mind of surfacing with a massive jellyfish splashed across my face like that nasty creature in Alien.

I tried to reassure myself that they were just small brown jellies...nothing like the big nasty ones you find at Sea World, or, Australia for that matter. So on my third wave, which was actually pretty fun, I'm skimming along, brown shapes appearing here and there out of the corners of my eye, and go sliding right past a huge clear jellyfish with purple stripes. It had to be 10 inches in diameter, with the full on train of jiggly jelly tentacles, and those crazy purple stripes.

Um, DONE.

Straightened out. Grabbed my rails. Bellyboarded straight through the masses of fools playing in the water. Got the fuck OUT.

You know that when there are so many jellyfish in the water that there are DIFFERENT FUCKING TYPES floating around, it's time to rack the board and go eat a corndog at the Orange County Fair.

The Colonel says, "Fried zucchini, please."