The first time Brittnie and I went to an Underwater Exhibit was to visit “Ocean Atlas” in the Bahamas. It was a hilarious disaster. We had two hours to make the experience happen before missing our flight. Our snorkel gear was defective and the waves were so high that they crashed into our breathing tube reinforcements, almost drowning us both.
Our second attempt was during a May-day in Grenada. In retrospect, that was a foreshadow of what was to come.
We boarded a catamaran of 20 other excited tourists for a First Impressions day tour of Grenada’s Underwater Sculpture Park. The water was calm. The rum punch was flowing. All was well.
We dove into the cerulean sea, excited to begin the tour that had been on our bucket lists for years. As we passed each sculpture, I noticed less people in the water. I figured some decided to leave because they wanted their fifth helping of rum punch or that they simply didn’t care about art.
I dove down to the “Man on a Bike” sculpture, to see it a little closer. Suddenly, I felt like my chin had been sliced open by a machete. The shock of pain felt like salt on an open wound. I could literally feel my heartbeat in my face. I bolted to the surface and screamed at our guide that I was bleeding profusely and needed to get out of the water because the blood would attract a school of sharks and we would all die.
“You’re not bleeding.” He said, reassuring me for about 5 minutes that I was actually fine.
Feeling a bit insane, I’d periodically hold my chin to check for blood on my fingers for the next ten minutes.
We approached the grand finale — the absolute bucket list check sculpture called the “Vicissitudes”. I noticed even less people in the water.
Common sense would say, “GTFO”.
Ego said “Meh.”
I Jordan shrugged and dove deeper.
During a dive your ears are constantly popping or ringing, making hearing difficult.
As a result, when everyone yelled, “Get out of the water! There are HUNDREDS of Jellyfish in there!” … it fell on deaf ears.
Instantaneously it felt like needles were river dancing everywhere on my body. Like I was stuck inside of a bag with a crazy cat who wailed on me while I struggled to dog paddle up to the surface and back to the boat to ensure the rest of my face survived.
Everyone in the water was on their own. The ringing had stopped in my ears only to be replaced with terrifying screams all around me.
Brittnie used me as a blockade between herself and the jellyfish, so I emerged out of the water looking like an infomercial for hives.
Some people aboard kind of knew what to do. Thank God no one took cues from Friends “The One with the Jellyfish” episode on how to deal with pain by way of urination on the wounds. I was not about to be anybody’s Monica. Luckily vaseline helped as a quick remedy to help the sharp pain subside. It took a couple of days, but I had to research upon getting back to the hotel on my own. I wish I would have known what to do.
So, here’s what you you should do if this happens to you:
1- Don’t pull the tentacles out with your fingers
Pressure can trigger the nematocysts ( the venomous barb), or the tentacles can still retain the sting and transfer to your finger. Instead, bring along a pair of tweezers.
2- A Golden shower is never a good idea.
According to science and Buzzfeed, urinating on the affected area is an old wives’ tale.
3- Bring some Vinegar aboard.
Vinegar prevents the nematocysts from firing off so you don’t keep getting injected with anymore venom that may be leftover in the tentacles.
4- Don’t freak out IN the water.
If you’re stung, get out of the water without splashing much. The stingers stuck in you may continue to release more venom.
Depending on the type of jellyfish, more extreme measures may need to be taken. Research where you’re diving before you do. Prepare before diving to avoid the drama of trauma.
*I couldn’t find out WHAT species of tiny evil jellyfish was the culprit. I researched on my own for hours and even asked my doctor friends in Grenada. No dice. If anyone knows what kind of Jellyfish hang around wreaking havoc in Grenada, comment below.