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BeachHunter’s Florida Gulf Beaches Access Guide: Finding Your Paradise on Florida’s Lower Gulf Coast

This is a guide to more than 120 beach access points on the Florida Gulf coast between Tarpon Springs and Marco Island. It does not cover panhandle beaches or Florida Key’s beaches. It is most useful for people traveling to Florida beaches by car, and will help you find parking, lifeguards, dog-friendly beaches, remote beaches, full-service beaches and much more. It’s much more than just a listing of access points. The author has personally visited and photographed all of the beaches in this book multiple times and provides detailed descriptions of what each beach offers as well as his personal recommendations.

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http://www.amazon.com/BeachHunters-Florida-Beaches-Access-Guide/dp/1489589988/

Seasons change but the Portuguese Man o War never do….

As the seasons and winds change in the U.S., the Portuguese Man o War begin to arrive in large numbers.

First of all, there are no real seasons for the Man o War, as such, but because of wind currents associated with season change and weather interruptions, the Man o War is on the leading edge of those winds since it has no propulsion system other than inflating it’s crown with gas and catching the wind.

man o war..beachedTx

What is typically recognized however, is the Man o War are, as a general rule, found along and around the Florida coast lines to Pensacola from late October thru February, the largest concentration generally in Nov and Feb.; the same as Costa Rica from March to May and to some degree the 10th day after every full moon in Hawaii. There is a long history of documenting these events so it is reasonable to believe these expectations every year.

Now, if you were stung by a Man o War, you were stung by an Atlantic Portuguese Man o’ War. There is no jellyfish specie known as a Man o’ War..A MOW is a siphonophore..a colony of 4 organisms..don’t have enough time and space to detail that ..there are 3 species of Man o War but all the same if that makes sense..the Atlantic, the recently acknowledge Pacific and the Blue Bottle Man o War..the Atlantic reported to have the nastiest sting but how would one compare them as all three are very painful. They differ in size with the Atlantic the largest and the blue bottle the smallest but don’t think for an instant that changes how nasty the stings are.

The indications that you have been stung by a Man O’ War are: Stinging, burning, redness, swelling of lymph nodes. You may see long welt lines. In some people sensitive to the Man O’ War venom, there may be severe reactions, including difficulty with breathing and cardiac arrest.

The sting toxin secreted from the tentacles is a neurotoxin about seventy-five percent as powerful as cobra venom. The welts can last for minutes to hours.

Studies on the effectiveness of meat tenderizer, baking soda, papain, or commercial sprays (containing aluminum sulfate and detergents) on nematocyst stings have been contradictory. It’s possible these substances cause further damage.

Check out our OCS Man o War sting 1st aid kit is specially designed to deliver medically proven, safe and effective sting relief from the MOW. Don’t get stung without it !!

ManOWar-kit

The Truth About Getting Stung by a Lionfish

Posted by Erin Spencer in Explorers Journal on August 8, 2013

“It won’t kill you, but it’ll make you wish you were dead”.

That’s how Mike Ryan described a lionfish sting as he briefed a boat full of people before an afternoon dive. Mike, an instructor at Horizon Divers in Key Largo, developed the Lionfish Safari Diver course for recreational divers to learn about invasive lionfish and try their hand at hunting the fish themselves. For a group of inexperienced hunters, that was probably the last thing we wanted to hear.

That wasn’t the first time someone warned me about the stings of this invasive predator. When you’re dealing with lionfish, the topic is bound to come up. In almost every interview I conducted, the conversation eventually turned to a dramatically recounted story of the time (or times) the interviewee was stung, each tale more cringe-worthy than the last. And while it’s clear that getting pricked by a lionfish is no walk in the park, stings can be easily avoided by proper handling techniques and safety measures. Be sure to keep the following three things in mind when dealing with lionfish to decrease your risk of getting stung.

Lionfish stings can occur long after the fish has died. Photo by Erin Spencer.

Lionfish stings can occur long after the fish has died. Photo by Erin Spencer.

Lionfish spines are used defensively, not offensively.

Lionfish spines are used as a deterrent for predators rather than for hunting prey. So don’t worry- lionfish aren’t about to ambush unsuspecting divers or swimmers. Lionfish only use their weapons defensively; therefore simply steering clear of their venomous dorsal, ventral, and anal spines can avoid stings.

If you are stung, a loose sheath surrounding each spine is pushed down, compressing two venom glands located down then length of the spine. Neurotoxic venom then travels through two parallel grooves up the spine and into the wound. Sounds unpleasant, right? Better just to avoid the spines in the first place.

Lionfish safety applies both on and off the water. 

The overwhelming majority of lionfish stings result from people simply not paying attention.

Stings can occur even after the lionfish is dead.

Stings can occur even after the fish have died, so handlers should be aware of their lionfish at all times, whether they are underwater, on a boat, or back in the kitchen filleting the fish up for dinner. I heard many stories of victims unknowingly sticking their hands into coolers containing lionfish and finding a painful surprise inside.

 

So make sure everyone you’re with knows where the lionfish are located, as well as which of the fishes’ spines are dangerous. Some handlers (myself included) choose to use medical-grade puncture-proof gloves to help protect from stings. Although these gloves don’t protect all potential sting sites, they decrease the risk of accidental envemonation when handling the fish.

Puncture-proof gloves are a great way to decrease your risk of getting stung. Photo by Eric Billips

Puncture-proof gloves are a great way to decrease your risk of getting stung. Photo by Eric Billips

Just in case, know what to do if you get stung.

Even if you follow all the safety precautions, sometimes mistakes happen. Immediate first response can help decrease pain and swelling, so have a plan in place if you or anyone you’re with is going to be handling lionfish. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends immersing the wound in hot (but not scalding) water for about 30 minutes as soon as possible after the sting occurs – this helps denature the lionfish venom and decrease pain.

If necessary, remove any spines still located in the wound. Lionfish stings are rarely fatal, but in extreme cases nausea, vomiting, and allergic reactions can result, so monitor symptoms closely. One spear fisherman swore that if someone had offered to amputate his stung foot, he would have accepted the invitation gladly.

On the other hand, a divemaster I spoke with said he barely noticed the pain when he was stung, and didn’t experience any swelling or adverse effects. Ultimately, everyone seems to respond to stings differently. Most people I talked to experienced some pain and swelling for anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

The important thing to remember is this: the more you know about stings, the more effectively you can prevent them. Pay attention to your lionfish at all times and have a plan in place in case you or a friend gets stung. There are quite a few examples of people who have dealt with large quantities of lionfish and have never been stung, proving that with proper handling and a bit of luck, you can avoid envenomation. But remember, on the off chance you do get pricked, you’ll at least have a great lionfish war-story to tell your friends.

http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com

Beachhunter David McRee talks about OCS Jellyfish sting relief spray..Utube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PXin2I82kE&feature=youtu.be

Jellyfish facts…Everything you need to know…

Jellyfish are categorized due to their characteristics. The different species of jellyfish are the Red Type which is also known as the ‘China type’ can be identified as Rhopilema esculentum. These jellyfish are slightly reddish with a 12-24 inch diameter smooth umbrella.

The jellyfish is a popular seafood in eastern and southern Asian nations where there is a high market demand that stimulates large-scale jellyfish production. Due to its economic importance in China, many biological studies have focused on the jellyfish Rhopilema esculentum Kishinouye in terms of the environmental impact of aquaculture activities and culture techniques. In recent years, the commercial aquaculture of R. esculentum has expanded greatly in China

Key Lab of Marine Environmental Science and Ecology, Ministry of Education, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, 266100, China
Photo..M Kawahara

Lionfish concern at Forida’s Reef

Pretty much everything about the venomous lionfish—its red-and-white zebra stripes, long, showy pectoral fins, and generally cantankerous demeanor—says, “Don’t touch!”

The venom of the lionfish, delivered via an array of up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins, is purely defensive. It relies on camouflage and lightning-fast reflexes to capture prey, mainly fish and shrimp. A sting from a lionfish is extremely painful to humans and can cause nausea and breathing difficulties, but is rarely fatal.

Lionfish, also called turkey fish, dragon fish and scorpion fish, are native to the reefs and rocky crevices of the Indo-Pacific, although they’ve found their way to warm ocean habitats worldwide.

Currently they are a big cause for concern at Florida’s reef as they have few natural enemies such as some big shark species. They are taking over in large numbers and multiplying quickly eating many other endangered reef fish. Speculation of their release ranges from Hurricane Sandy’s destructive path to mis-guided fish collectors that released them when they could not make money from their sale.

Celene Couseau ( http://celinecousteau.wordpress.com/ ) has attested to their tasting good making them somewhat popular to very careful spear fishermen.

Learn, Connect, Defend!
www.OceanDefenderHawaii.com

Some of the information above is from National Geographic
Photo: Andy Wingate (tagged)

Photo: Pretty much everything about the venomous lionfish—its red-and-white zebra stripes, long, showy pectoral fins, and generally cantankerous demeanor—says, "Don't touch!"

The venom of the lionfish, delivered via an array of up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins, is purely defensive. It relies on camouflage and lightning-fast reflexes to capture prey, mainly fish and shrimp. A sting from a lionfish is extremely painful to humans and can cause nausea and breathing difficulties, but is rarely fatal.

Lionfish, also called turkey fish, dragon fish and scorpion fish, are native to the reefs and rocky crevices of the Indo-Pacific, although they've found their way to warm ocean habitats worldwide.

Currently they are a big cause for concern at Florida's reef as they have few natural enemies such as some big shark species. They are taking over in large numbers and multiplying quickly eating many other endangered reef fish. Speculation of their release ranges from Hurricane Sandy's destructive path to mis-guided fish collectors that released them when they could not make money from their sale. 

Celene Couseau ( http://celinecousteau.wordpress.com/ ) has attested to their tasting good making them somewhat popular to very careful spear fishermen. 

Learn, Connect, Defend!
www.OceanDefenderHawaii.com

Some of the information above is from National Geographic
Photo: Andy Wingate (tagged)

Stingray Season in Florida..April to October

Stingray season on Florida beaches runs approximately between the months of April and October. (The most popular time for Florida beach vacations. Imagine that.) It is during these months that these sea creatures come into the warmer shallow Florida Gulf Coast waters to mate.

Stingray-kit

They also are lazy and bury themselves in the bottom sand to stay away from being eaten by sharks or other larger rays. Activity and energy frighten these shy sea creatures. They can’t see well and rely on electro-sensors/vibrations to let them know they are in danger. So remember to do the “shuffle” when entering the water or take along an OCS Stingray 1st aid kit if you don’t…

David McRee..Beach Survival Guide..www.blogthebeach.com

Indo-Pacific Hell Fire Sea Anemone

Sea anemone facts….The Hell’s Fire Anemone (Actinodendron plumosum) belongs to the Actinodendron genus, and is one of the ‘stinging sea anemones’ in the Actinodendronidae family which are found only in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific.

Photo: Sea anemone facts....The Hell's Fire Anemone (Actinodendron plumosum) belongs to the Actinodendron genus, and is one of the 'stinging sea anemones' in the Actinodendronidae family which are found only in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific.

These anemones are so named 'stinging sea anemones' because of their capacity to sting humans badly. Although all anemones have stinging cells or nematocysts found in their tentacles, these anemones have a dangerous sting that is extremely powerful and is very painful. Another anemone from this group, the Bali Fire Anemone (Megalactis hemprichi), is similar in this regard and is also referred to as a Hell's Fire Anemone.

The Actinodendron genus is a unique group of anemones that are basically in a class all their own. They look more like colonies of soft corals than actinides. Typically they have busy, branched long tentacles. The Hell's Fire Anemone has tentacles with a leaf shaped or feather-like appearance, thus they are also known as the Pinnate Anemone. They bury their foot and body in the sand with only their oral disc and tentacles emerging. When disturbed they can retract their entire body into the sand and be virtually invisible.

Credit:Animal-World

These anemones are so named ‘stinging sea anemones’ because of their capacity to sting humans badly. Although all anemones have stinging cells or nematocysts found in their tentacles, these anemones have a dangerous sting that is extremely powerful and is very painful. Another anemone from this group, the Bali Fire Anemone (Megalactis hemprichi), is similar in this regard and is also referred to as a Hell’s Fire Anemone.

The Actinodendron genus is a unique group of anemones that are basically in a class all their own. They look more like colonies of soft corals than actinides. Typically they have busy, branched long tentacles. The Hell’s Fire Anemone has tentacles with a leaf shaped or feather-like appearance, thus they are also known as the Pinnate Anemone. They bury their foot and body in the sand with only their oral disc and tentacles emerging. When disturbed they can retract their entire body into the sand and be virtually invisible.

IMG_3501

OCS Jellyfish sting relief spray is tested effective on envenomations from sea anemone..Safe, effective and lidocaine free..Don’t get stung without it !!

Article Credit:Animal-World

 

 

 

 

Portuguese Man o War…spotted worldwide

The Portuguese Man o’ War  can be found anywhere in the open ocean (especially warm water seas), but they are most commonly found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Pacific and Indian oceans, and the northern Atlantic Gulf Stream. The Man o’ War has been found as far north as the the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine.

They wash ashore along the northern Gulf of Mexico and the east and west coasts of Florida.  An abundance of Portuguese Man o’ Wars can be found in the waters of Costa Rica, especially in March and April.  They have been spotted recently off the coast of Spain, Ireland, in Welsh waters and in the Mediterranean near Corsica and Malta.

They are also frequently found along the east coast of South Africa, (particularly during winter storms if the wind has been blowing steadily on-shore for several hours), as well as around the Hawaiian Islands.  Strong onshore winds may drive them into bays or onto beaches. It is rare for only a single Portuguese Man o’ War to be found; the discovery of one usually indicates the presence of many as they are usually congregated by currents and winds into groups of thousands. Man o’ Wars typically travel in groups of 1,000-plus.

ManOWar-kit

Don’t get stung without it!!

 

Ocean Care Solutions Lionfish Sting 1st Aid Kit provides safe and effective sting relief

Pterois volitans and P. miles
Native range: Indo-Pacific and Red Sea
Invasive range: East coast of the United States and Caribbean sea

Some say that the invasion started in Miami, when Hurricane Andrew smashed an aquarium tank in 1992. But you can’t blame the weather: records of wild lionfish in Florida date back at least to 1985. This popular aquarium fish may have been released by fish enthusiasts tired of having a relentless predator in the living rooms, silently dispatching their other fish. And now that exotic predator is spreading north to New England, south to Panama and throughout the Caribbean, feasting on juvenile snapper and grouper along with algae-eating parrotfish as they go–-species which help keep reefs healthy. The lionfish is the first marine fish invasion in the western Atlantic.

Lionfish Range in the US.

Marine biologists are shocked at the speed of their spread in just a decade and at their population densities. Few fish species have established in the wild, let alone so successfully. Suddenly, they’re an abundant reef fish from the Bahamas to Rhode Island. Overfishing of predators like the grouper may be part of the story. Reef destruction and trophic cascade are possible outcomes. The only range limits appear to be colder and fresher waters.

A female lionfish produces two million eggs a year, so not only does it seem unlikely the species can be successfully eradicated, even slowing the growth rate is a challenge. Because lionfish eat just about anything that fits in their mouth while larger native fish don’t seem to recognize lionfish as prey, some experts say humans are the only predators left to call upon.

Common lionfish (Pterois miles)

As of 2010, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary has given out licenses to divers to kill the species inside the property. Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) hosts a series of “Lionfish derbies” offering prize money  largest, smallest, and highest number caught; and publishes the Lionfish Cookbook, aimed at introducing chefs to what NOAA calls a “delicious, delicately flavored fish” similar in taste to snapper and texture to grouper. Lionfish have venomous fin spines––an uncommon feature on East coast species–-making them top predators and a danger to fishermen and divers. (And more expensive than many other fish on the menu, someone has to remove those venomous spines.)

The Lionfish 1st aid kit comes with everything you need to effectively treat your marine sting.

Lionfish Kit

Information provided by eattheinvaders.org