For 99% of tourists visiting the Mediterranean beaches this summer, swimming in the sea is incident free. However, for the teeny tiny percentage of those unlucky enough to have an unpleasant experience, this is what they are most likely to encounter:
Over fishing and extreme temperatures have led to a surge of stingers which multiply throughout the Med. During summer months, swarms of critters are fished out of the sea so they don’t impact on beachside resorts.
The most common jellyfish are the Sea nettle or Mauve stinger but most worryingly in past years, Portuguese Man-o-War have been detected off the Spanish coastline, which have been known to spark heart attacks or even death in those allergic to their poison.
The best remedy for jellyfish stings isn’t by peeing on the sting (that’s an old wives tale!), but remove any tentacles with tweezers and then apply white vinegar. Do not use fresh water or rub the area. If you get a severe reaction, go straight to hospital.
My boyfriend was nipped by one of these little buggers while fishing off Cala Major in Majorca yesterday. Weaver fish burrow themselves into the sand and trap passing fish as they swim by. Unfortunately, weaver fish have nasty poisonous spines, so swimmers who tread on spines protruding through the sand will get a nasty shock.
The pain is intense, and feet can swell up badly to the point of numbness. The best remedy is to soak the wound in as hot water as you can tolerate as this neutralises the poison.
Sea Urchins are quite common around rocky shore lines. They look like black ping-pong balls which have been covered with needles. They are not poisonous but getting spiked can be painful and if not treated, can get infected.
The best advice to avoid getting spiked is to wear aqua or jelly shoes, which will give you some protection.
Great white sharks have been spotted in the Mediterranean, particularly around Spain and Italy. It’s believed that they’ve made their way in from the Atlantic ocean to reproduce.
A shark attack was recorded in Italian waters in 1989 when a Great White Shark killed a scuba diver. There have only been two shark attacks in Spain in the 20th Century when a windsurfer got a nasty nip from a Great White in 1986 and another swimmer lost some toes in 1993.
The threat is miniscule so hardly worth worrying about. Forget about the sharks, the biggest threat for swimmers is from jet-skis and power boats. So to avoid being run over, make sure you swim within the buoys, stay safe and most of all, enjoy your holiday!
Wednesday 26 August 2009 11:26 | Published by a.smith | Category: Interesting Stuff,Travel News