Don’t panic! As far as I’m aware, there are NO giant squid plaguing Australia’s northern beaches – despite the graphic on this sign!!
But no giant squid doesn’t mean there’s no danger. What IS prevalent during October – May in Australia’s Far North is the Irukandji (carukia barnesi), one of the most virulent jellyfish in the world. Its sting (ie marine ‘Stinger’) brings on symptoms collectively called Irukandji syndrome and has caused death – although virtually invisible in the water.
And the vinegar below the sign? No, it’s not a repellent – or an emergency condiment supply!! If you’re stung – no, it’s not an ATTACK, jellyfish have no brain – vinegar MAY help alleviate the intense pain.
So how to enjoy the tropics without threat?
Lycra ‘stinger suits’ can stop stings , and many northern beaches erect ‘stinger nets’ to form a stinger-free swimming enclosure.
The nets may have kept out the stingers many years ago in Cairns when Pilchard, along with some locals waiting for a swim, observed the nets being set up at the beginning of the wet season. But the enclosure was finished, they saw a dark shape in the water inside the enclosure – clearly (!) not a jellyfish! What could it be? Yes, you guessed it – a crocodile!
Maybe you’re just better off in the pool …
PS Yes, I’ve allowed myself the indulgence of a double negative (above). But it IS nearly Xmas, so I know you’ll humour me!