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Johnson48 May 5th, 2004 09:13 PM

Jellyfish and sharks
This may be a really crazy question, but we are going on our first cruise in December to the Western Carribean. When it comes to snorkeling in Cozumel or Grand Cayman, do we have to worry at all about things like jellyfish , barracuda or sharks? Has anyone ever had a bad experience with this?

lindsayuwmadison May 5th, 2004 10:00 PM

Re: Jellyfish and sharks
Actually... i have had a few experiences with this. I had been snorkeling many times before until about a year ago i had never had a problem with jelly fish. I went snorkeling in the dominican republic and a friend and i swam through a school of small jellyfish, and after talking about it at the resort, found out that many others had been stung as well. Then while vacationing in Cozumel over Christmas of this year i was stung again byjellyfish of the same size. There were a lot of them. The stings aren't extremely painful, if the fish are small, just like pin pricks, they can just become annoying because there were so many of them. I am not sure if depends on what time of year it is or what. Hope this helps.

Carey May 5th, 2004 10:02 PM

Re: Jellyfish and sharks
I dont know if its something you have to WORRY about, but I would be on the look out and make sure that when you go snorkeling or scuba diving that you have a guide that knows what kind of sea life may be dangerous.
I live in Colorado and certainly dont have any sealife around here, so know very little about it. When my friend and I were in Cancun, we went snorkeling and I saw what I thought was just a rather large mean looking fish. The guide we were with quickly popped his head up and said sternly "barracuda!!!" and rushed us back to the boats. I still dont know how dangerous a barracuda actually is, but I'm glad I am far away from him now :)

So, moral of story - there is a chance of running into these animals. Just be on the look out and of course never try to mess with them. We are, after all, in their territory.

Thomas May 6th, 2004 07:30 AM

Re: Jellyfish and sharks
When in the water you should NOT wear anything shiny like a watch, or necklace, or ring. Barracuda are attracted to shiny objects but usually won't bother you if you are not reflecting light off a piece of jewelry.

Barracuda have razor sharp teeth and are ferocious. I have one hanging on my wall I had mounted years ago and I can tell you I will no longer even pull one into my boat if I hook one. Now I just cut the line and let him go.


Carey May 6th, 2004 09:13 AM

Re: Jellyfish and sharks
Wow, I supposed I should consider myself lucky then - he was so close to us! Now I understand the look of utter fear on the snorkeling guide's face...

However, if it makes anyone feel better - we were on what they call a Jungle Tour in Cancun - you get to drive on a speedboat out to the middle of nowhere (out to a coral reef) and thats where we had our run in. So if you are just off shore you should be just fine. But going out to where we were was gorgeous - I am sure you will safe there too.

Thomas - give your wall ornament a little pat on the head for me :)

LisaK May 6th, 2004 10:23 AM

Re: Jellyfish and sharks
As long as you are with a reputable tour company and a competent dive master you should have no problems, snorkel where he tells you to and don't wander off. I have a great picture of a Barraccuda that swam underneath us. We didn't bother him, he didn't bother us. Haven't encountered any major jellyfish problems, luckily.

PapaBill May 6th, 2004 12:23 PM

Re: Jellyfish and sharks
Most public beaches will post a jelly fish warning if there is an issue . Most snorkel or scuba operators will be aware of them as well.
Sharks generally do not consider humans for food. Most attacks happen at dawn or dusk when sharks are feeding near the surf line and mistake your toes for dinner. Surfers have some problems as they look like yummy seals to the shark from underneath.
Most tour operators are not going to take you somewhere where either shark attack or baracuda attack is a problem or issue. If you see either in the water, be aware of their presence , do not menace or swim towards them and you should be fine.
If you see either in the water, put yourself so that really annoying guy on the bus trip that morning is between you and the shark or baracuda. Who cares if he gets swallowed up? Seriously, you would read about it in the papers or see it on sixty minutes if any of this was a real issue.

zeno May 6th, 2004 12:34 PM

Re: Re: Jellyfish and sharks
1. Barracuda are NOT aggressive to people unless you do something dim-witted like chase them or poke at them BUT they are highly curious particularly where glittery objects are involved. I have snorkelled with barracuda a number of times and never been bothered. They will sometimes follow or parallel you but I think that is curiosity.
My husband had a barracuda who was blind in one eye nearly crash into him once (he was on the barracuda's blind side. I don't know who was more surprised by husband or the barracuda.
2. I have only seen a large shark ONCE when snorkeling. He looked at me, decided I wasn't a fish and took off. Once again my husband ( I think maybe the fish are after him) had a more exciting experience. He was out snorkeling by a barrier reef (lots of large fish) with our guide who was wearing a new bathing suit. Her suit was covered in what looked like tiny scales. Well guess what - about 6 very large sharks appeared to check out the "new type" of fish. She and my husband floated quietly while she was inspected and then returned slowly and carefully to the boat. She told me from now on that suit was ONLY going to be used for sun bathing purposes.
3. Jelly fish - saw a couple of tiny ones - never stung.

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