Not quite what it seems

cairns palm cove beach jellyfish james cook university research science
James Cook University researchers patrol the waters off Palm Cove, Cairns, far north Queensland

There’s no doubt about it. The beaches in this part of the world are stunningly beautiful. I mean just look at this view. Swaying palm trees, blue sky, calm, aqua water.

Hang on a minute. What’s that boat doing? Well believe it or not they are researchers from the local James Cook University and they are searching for deadly box jellyfish. Right off the beach, because that’s the easiest place to find them.

And when they find one these crazy people jump off the bow of their boat and grab these things with their bare hands, all in order to study them so they can help keep us safe.

Every Summer, from November through to May, lots of different types of jellyfish appear at our beaches. Depending on the wind conditions and direction you might have lots or you mightn’t have any on a particular day.

Every morning our surf life patrols drag a big net through the waters to see if there are any around. If they find any little irukandji, which are the size of your pinky fingernail but can kill you, then they close the beach until they’re sure it’s safe to go back in.

So while the beach is absolutely stunning you can’t just jump in anywhere you feel like. There are patrolled beaches with nets which you would definitely be advised to swim inside. It doesn’t mean you can’t go to the beach, but you do need to play it safe.


PS On days like these, I love my job!

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