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Bahamas, Bimini

On-Site Bimini: Making Nice with Moon Jellies

On-Site Bimini: Making Nice with Moon Jellies
Moon Jelly just below the water's surface, Bimini, The Bahamas/SBPR
Moon Jelly just below the water’s surface, Bimini, The Bahamas/SBPR

Colorless, brainless, heartless, rudderless – jellyfish embody quite a lot of qualities that are “less” than ideal. It’s generally smart to steer clear of these bad boys during your undersea adventures, unless, of course, you happen upon one that looks like this…

This is an Aurelia Aurita, otherwise known as a Moon Jellyfish. (They also go by the names Common or Saucer Jellyfish, but I like Moon Jelly the best.) Unlike their more infamous stinging cousins, Moon Jellies are harmless, something I discovered while snorkeling with my family in Bimini last summer.

It was early in the morning of our second full day moored off the coast of Gun Cay. My sons and I were getting in a little snorkel around the boat that was our home for the weekend when this guy, and a few of his friends, wandered into our way.

Us guys were startled for sure, but not more so than my wife, who just happened to splash onto the scene soon after we spotted the Moonies…

Diving in among the Moon Jellies in Bimini, The Bahamas/SBPR
Diving in among the Moon Jellies in Bimini, The Bahamas/SBPR

Yeah, she hopped back onto the boat even faster than she jumped in.

Later, our captain, Chris, explained that we had nothing to be afraid of, even going so far as to delicately pick one up…

A handful of Moon Jelly/SBPR
A handful of Moon Jelly/SBPR

The bottom side, he explained, is very delicate. That’s where you’ll find the four circular-shaped gonads that are the Moon Jelly’s trademark. Once you see those, you know you’re in the clear. For the Moon Jelly, though, it’s another story. As Chris said:

This is one jellyfish that has more to fear from us than we do from him.

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  • Yeah, mmhmm. You keep your handful of jelly. I’m with your wife.

  • Wow, what a spledidly transluscent creature. Typically I am scared of most aquatic life, but thanks for shedding some light on these beauties…