Just Me and the Man ‘o War on Shore

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I awoke this morning to the sound of the wind and the surf pounding the beach outside the sliding glass door to our  balcony.  Not unusual, but the sound is usually a lot more muted on the 17th floor.  Even though the temperature was 70 degrees at 7 am, the gale force winds made it seem chillier.

I don’t expect any sympathy from my friends & family back in Missouri.

When I made it down to the beach in the afternoon, the lifeguard stations were sporting TWO warning flags that tend to discourage beachgoers.  First was a red flag indicating a significant danger from the water itself – a strong current that might carry swimmers out to sea.

There was also a purple flag.  That one was new to me.  Not any more.  A purple flag indicates a clear and present danger from marine life.

Like sharks.

On our third day in Florida my wife and I and our friends from Osceola, Mo. attended a short seminar on how to LIVE LIKE A LOCAL.  Before it started, we were gazing into the clear blue waters along the shoreline from the meeting room on the roof of the hotel.  There was a single swimmer in the water.  Not far from the swimmer we saw a large, dark shadow moving purposefully toward the unsuspecting swimmer.  I thought we might witness a “How to get eaten like a local” moment.  As the swimmer spotted the shadow moving toward him, he began to move purposefully in the OTHER direction.  The shadow didn’t follow.  We suspect it was a harmless manatee, aka “Sea Cow”.

During my walk I discovered the reason for the purple flag.  Washed ashore by the heavy surf were dozens of Portuguese man-of-war.

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One of Many Portuguese Man-of-War I found washed ashore on Fort Lauderdale Beach

According to Wikipedia, ‘the long tentacles of the man-of-war can deliver a painful sting which is venomous and powerful enough to kill fish or, rarely, humans”.  The article said the sting is excruciatingly painful and that even a dead man-of-war on the beach can deliver a sting.

I enjoyed my barefoot walk along the beach despite the red & purple flags hoisted at the lifeguard stations.  The wind was greatly stirring the waves which made them even more beautiful and the Portugese intruders stranded on the beach were a lot easier to spot and avoid on land than in the water.

The only thing that has caused me bodily harm on this trip has been a rogue chihuahua.

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Just me and the Portuguese Man-of-Wars (and a lot of sea weed) on the beach

 

 

Author: ABoomer

Baby Boomer, Husband, Dad, Grandpa, Hiker, Biker (Non-motorized variety), Walker, Oregon Trail Historian, Reader, Road Tripper, Lover of Nature, Believer in God & the Power of Faith & Prayer & John 3:16

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