Since I have been traveling quite a bit during the holidays, I haven't walked on the Gulf side of the island for a couple of weeks. The purple flag has been flying, but I had no idea the extent of Portuguese Man o' War washing up on the beach right now. You can click on the photo above to get a closer look.
Close up, their color is beautiful, but be sure to steer clear of these venomous sea creatures. As I returned home I noticed red welts appearing around my ankles, wrists, and hands, accompanied by a burning/itching sensation. Soon the affected areas looked like they had been dipped in scalding water.
The only thing I can surmise is that the tiny biting gnats which sometimes hover around sargassum (also washing up on the beach) must have transferred tiny amounts of the venom from the Portuguese Man o' war to me when I got close to take photographs. A cool shower and a couple of Benedryl seem to be helping the discomfort.
I had expected to get some shots of surfers this afternoon since the surf is up, now I can see why there were none in sight.