Friday, March 18, 2022

Quandary on the Beach


Portuguese Man O' War on the Beach
Jupiter Island, FL
March 15, 2022

I found myself in a quandary the other day while I was walking the Jupiter Island beach. Many Portuguese Man O' War were strewn across the beach where they had washed up with the tide. My natural instinct is to help animals in trouble, but in the case of the Portuguese Man O' War, I found myself standing there wondering if they even knew they were dead. Or even more difficult--how could I tell if they were alive? Fortunately they are not sentient. 

But while I had the urge to try to re-float the animals in the ocean, the big question in my mind became: why? If they were not dead it would only prolong the inevitable because they will only wash back up onto the beach to bake in the sun AND they are a hazard to humans. Their long tentacles provide very painful stings. 

So I looked at them on the beach and chalked their demise up to natural selection. For some reason these Portuguese Man O' War washed up on the beach and their genes were being removed from the gene pool. 

After a few moments, I went back to enjoying my beach walk while avoiding the tentacles of the Portuguese Man O' War washed up on the beach and baking in the sun. It is that time of year. 

-- Bob Doan, Tequesta, FL

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