There are few things more exhilerating than taking a dip in the Pacific Ocean off the shores of Waikiki — unless, you’re stung by a jellyfish in the process!
Although box jellyfish are common in the waters off South and East facing shores about ten days after the full moon, this month’s box jellyfish invasion seems particularly massive. In fact, at least 120 people have been stung in Waikiki, as a total of 1,060 box jellyfish were counted Tuesday.
According to Hawaii News How, the count showed a large influx of box jellyfish in Hawaii, forcing lifeguards to spend the day warning thousands of people and post warning signs along the beach.
Beach goer, Teresa Romero took heed to all the signs of danger in the water and talked to Hawaii News Now, “I could see a lot of people were getting stung because they’re running to the life guards and a lot of little kids and babies started crying out of nowhere,” Romero told the news station. “Then when parent brings them up then you see a large sting mark on them.”
In the waters near Ala Moana, lifeguards counted a smaller number jellyfish at about 253.
The influx of box jellyfish even forced officials to close Hanauma Bay Monday, after roughly 40 people were reported to be stung. And, before officials open Hanauma Bay Wednesday, they plan to assess the box jellyfish numbers, to determine if they will open the park (Hanauma Bay is normally closed all day on Tuesdays).
However, according to KITV, the Visitors Center, parking lot, and lookouts on the upper level will remain open to the public while the beach level is closed. And, all tours booked through Hawaii Aloha Travel that cruise by Hanauma Bay, such as the Circle Island Tour, aren’t impacted by the Hanauma Bay closure.
So, what’s causing the stronger-than-usual influx of box jellyfish in Hawaii? No one really knows. Ocean safety officials told Hawaii News Now that, even though the number of box jellyfish in Waikiki is slightly higher than normal, they see these numbers from time to time.
Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions when swimming around “box jellyfish influx” time. Heed all warning signs, and consider wearing a wetsuit to protect yourself. Another tip? Bring a bottle of vinegar with you to the beach — it’s still the best thing to use on a box jellyfish sting. Add warm or hot water to the sting for extra relief, and bring some antihistamine with you, just in case of an allergic reaction.
As someone who’s been stung before (and a Mom to several children who have also been stung), it’s best to stay out of the water when there’s a large influx of box jellyfish. Instead, work on your tan and enjoy the view!