May 2005


Went to the sea at Kanezaki again today. It was a bit choppy (namidatte iru) and cold and the visibility wasn’t as good as usual, but there was still plenty to see. I saw lots of pufferfish (fugu). But the thing that stood out today was that there seemed to be a hell of a lot of jellyfish (kurage), so I was swimming cautiously, not knowing which ones were venomous!

I saw three kinds of jellyfish today: moon jellies (mizukurage), brown jellies (akakurage), and comb jellies (urikurage). While we’re on the topic of jellyfish, however, I should also mention the Box Jellies (andonkurage) because they’re the nasty little things that infest our sea during the summer and make swimming almost impossible! This early in the year there are a few around but they usually don’t grow their stinging tentacles (4 pink tentacles) until August.

The pictures below are not mine. They are from various sources on the Internet. I will take my own pictures another time.

Moon Jelly
Moon Jellyfish (mizukurage): About the size of a dinner plate (30cm) and very solid but not poisonous. I pushed one along in the water and I could feel the weight of it.

Brown Jelly
Brown Jellyfish (akakurage): The umbrella is only about 25cm across, but the tentacles on the one I saw were over 100cm long. It looks mean and, sure enough, it’s poisonous.

Comb Jelly
This kind of jellyfish is a ctenophore or comb jelly (urikurage). It looks like a floating sac (about 10-15cm long) with rows of cilia that shimmer in rainbow colors. Quite beautiful really!

Box Jelly
Box Jelly (andonkurage): These are quite small (only 3 or 4 cm body and 10-15cm tentacles) but really nasty. In the water they look pretty, especially when they are trailing their 4 pink tentacles during the summer, but if one touches you, it makes you sorry that you entered the water!! One of the reasons I wear a wetsuit even during the summer!
Phylum: Cnidaria; Class: Cubozoa; Order: Carybdeidae; Species: Charybdea rastonii

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Links to information on jellyfish:
University of California, Berkeley
medusozoa.com

We went to the beach near Kanezaki yesterday. It takes just ten minutes to drive there from our house and it’s one of our favourite places in the world. I donned my wetsuit and snorkelled while Shinobu and the kids scrambled around on the rocks, collecting hermit crabs (yadokari) and shells.

Visibility in the water was pretty good, and there certainly was a lot to see. I must buy a book of Japanese sealife so that I can start to identify the fish I see on these dives. I also need an underwater camera of course, but that’ll have to wait. Anyway, I saw a lot of fish there yesterday!

I caught an octopus (tako), a large brown sea hare (ame furashi), and a star fish (hitode). Also found my first abalone (awabi).

Here are the pictures:

Aya and Rei on the beach at KanezakiSnorkellingToday's catchOctopusSea hareSea harestar fishstar fish with hermit crabs