Weird, Jelly-Like Blue Creatures Wash Ashore on California Beaches. But It's Just the Beginning

The last time the Velella washed ashore, it was in the billions, all the way from Oregon to San Diego in 2014.

Some odd blue-tinted jelly-like creatures that resemble tiny little sailboats have washed ashore on beaches up and down the California coast, piquing the interest of residents.

The sea cretaures, called "by the wind sailors" and not be confused with another interestingly-named sea creature called the Portuguese Man o' War, were spotted in San Pedro, Orange County and San Diego County. 

The last time the Velella washed ashore, it was in the billions, all the way from Oregon to San Diego, KPCC reported in 2014

Vikki Vargas
"By the wind sailors," these vibrantly blue sea creatures, are not exactly jellyfish, despite their appearance. They started washing ashore April 2019. But it was nothing compared to the billions in 2014 up and down the California coast.

The by the wind sailor, appropriately named, will float along the surface of the water and occasionally be blown ashore. 

But rest assured -- the creature cannot sting humans. But anyone who touches them should avoid rubbing their eyes or face, as reactions to the toxin they emit can vary, according to Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Some say that many, many more could end up on shore en masse. 


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Captain Todd Mansur of Dana Wharf Sportfishing said he knows the conditions have to be just right, but in his 40 years of experience on the water, he's seen the creatures only a half a dozen times. 

"We did see them by tens or hundreds of thousands," he said of one of those times, when he was sailing the 50-mile trip to San Clemente Island. "I went on a straight line from Dana point to San Clemente Island, and we went through miles of them."

He also says that seeing them means the ocean is healthy, and that a strong fishing season lies ahead.

And where there are "by the wind sailors," there are sunfish, which is their natural predator. Mansur said boaters could soon see sunfish feasting on the blue bobbing sea creatures like it's a buffet at sea.

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