Jellyfish Jonestown

I’ve been to a lot of beaches and have seen plenty of jellyfish before, but usually they’re small gelatinous blobs that people accidentally step on because they’re covered with sand. Nothing like the jellyfish washed ashore on Tybee Island, Georgia.

These jellyfish dotted the shoreline all the way up North Beach. It looked like high tide had washed them in and there they remained, stranded and round, somehow menacing even as they died.




They fascinated me. I took picture after picture of each and every one. They were beautiful with their translucent outer coating and delicate pastel colors inside. Each was different; oceanic snowflakes. I peered inside them, daring to get closer and closer even as I irrationally worried that they would suddenly pulsate and come to life, stretching out their tentacles to sting me.

Everyone else just walked around them. They made a minefield along the water’s edge where some of the corpses were collected in groups we dubbed “Jellyfish Jonestown.” It looked like they’d gone together, whole families who’d veered too close to land.

My husband finally convinced me to touch one. Their ‘heads’ (technically bells) felt like hard plastic to the touch, though to be honest, I barely touched it, still afraid that I’d somehow feel a jellyfish sting. I was content instead to photograph them. They were so beautiful. (And as it turns out, some kinds of jellyfish can still sting after their death!)

What sea creatures fascinate you?


11 responses to “Jellyfish Jonestown

  1. Oh and they would sting you too! Jellyfish are lovely to look at and it is often only when they are in their death throes on a sandy beach that we get to see them closely. Great photos!

  2. Beautiful. I’ve never seen such large ones on a beach. In Australia, we mostly get very tiny ones called “blue bottles” – and they certainly sting if you step on them! I’m also guilty of photographing them to death!

    • No, I’ve never seen them like this anywhere else. And now I’ve been to Tybee Island twice and saw the same thing both times. I’m not sure why they’re so present in the water there.

  3. Pingback: Rocking the Cactus | Browsing The Atlas·

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