Key Biscayne and all things Key iscayne...Key Biscayne is located eats of the city of Miami. Key Biscayne is known as the Island ParadiseB
 
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Portuguese Man-O-War (Jellyfish that's not a Jellyfish)
Only on Key Biscayne...(not really, it just sounds sort of cool)

Portuguese man-o-war

OK, so off we go...walking down the beach on a typical winter day where the winds are coming out of the north and what
do we see  scattered accross the beaches of Key Biscayne but something that looks like someone had come during the
night while we slept and placed thousands and thousands of light blue balloons of different sizes on top of the seaweed and
in-between the clumps of tar.  Upon closer inspection, these are not balloons at all but something far more sinister.  Portuguese
Man-O-War.  It is not the balloon type formation that would cause you any harm.  After all, the piece that looks like a balloon is
exactly that, one of nature's balloons only without any of the rubber, and it causes this marine creature to float on the surface
of the ocean and to be tossed by the seas and the winds until eventually they end up on the beaches.   This balloon looking
creature of the deep is certainly not in it's full glory stinking up the beaches as the sun slowly cooks it, but attached to the balloon
part of the Portuguese man-o-war are tentacles that can grow up to 15' long that are packed full of poison and rest assured that
you have not felt pain like it until a piece of tenacle attaches itself to you.  Your humble and ever striving author here has had a
couple of encounters with the man o war over the years and each time was unquestionably unforgettable.  The most recent sting
that I incurred was when I was deep sea fishing and I was checking the baits that I was trolling behind the boat.  As I reeled in one
of the Penn International 50LB lines, I had made it all the way in to the swivel where I saw something that appeared to be a piece
of seaweed standing perhaps 6 inches long and rather firm and straight, perpendicular to the line itself.  I went to swat it away and
clear the fishing line when I hit it with my hand and it was then that I found out it wrapped once around my ring finger.  No sooner
was it wrapped around my finger than I realized the pain shooting through my hand just as if my finger had been cut clean off.
That is no exageration and precisely what it had  felt like.  I couldn't feel anything in my finger and hand beside pain.  A grown
man screaming at the top of his lungs rinsing his hand in the salt water to get the tenacle off type of pain.  In seconds my eyes
were streaming water and water was free flowing out of my nose as well.  Thankfully I keep plenty of FIrst Aid on the boat and
several months prior to this accident, I had kept a Jellyfish sting spray under the captain's chair of my boat and couldn't be bothered
spraying it on but rather twisted the top part off the sprayer and poured it onto the affected area.  One thing you do NOT want to do
is rub (even underwater) the area that was stung.  WHY?  The man-o-war does not just have poison on the tenacles themselves,
but microscopic pictures of the tenacles reveal that there are tens of thousands of spurs on the tenacles that administer the painful
poison and should you rub the area or even touch it, you end up pushing more of the spurs into your skin affectively sending more
poison into your skin and more pain for you to endure.  The ONLY thing that will numb the pain is Lidocaine 4%.  Tragically a 5%
Lidocaine solution requires a prescription from a physician.  When I was screaming in pain, I think that I could have had 10% before
it would have stopped hurting but I must say that even though the first 30 - 45 seconds were totally unbearable pain, that once the
Licocaine made it into my skin, the pain did stop.  Yes, it did hurt for the balance of the evening but in a much more bearable way.
It was just sore, tender, and my body realized that something very traumatic had happened.  The moral of the story is to stay away
from the Portuguese man-o-war since the cute little balloon part is not the place with the bite but it will be the very long tenacles
that are easily hidden in the seaweed on shore that if you step on one, or one should touch you, you will know it in seconds.
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