If you love being one with the ocean, then you’ll probably have experienced a painful sting or two by its longest resident, the jellyfish! These invertebrates have been floating around for years (and by years, we mean millions of years) and can be found in both cold and warm waters. But there are times during the year where they come out in abundance around the islands close to Kota Kinabalu and these are during jellyfish season.
If you didn’t know there were jellyfish seasons, well now you do! They are usually between the month of March and usually ends around mid-April. But the jellyfishes you'll see during these two months on your snorkels are not really jellyfish per say, though they do belong in the same family!
But of course, there is nothing to worry about! We’ll give you everything you need to know so when you embark on your island visits and snorkeling sessions, you can enjoy them fully and well prepared!
There are two types of jellyfishes you'll come across during your snorkels:
String Jellyfish or siponophores (Praya Dubia)
(Photo by Monterey Bay Aquarium)
You've probably seen them in marine wildlife documentaries but when you go snorkeling or diving this season, expect to see these amazing and unique-looking creatures up close! They're pretty easy to spot as they normally just float around in the water. And there is just no way you can miss their 2 metre long polyps! Some are known to be even longer! Although they aren’t deadly, never try to use your hand to remove it as it will wrap itself around your hand and give you a nice ‘bracelet’. Not something you want as a souvenir! And the more you struggle, the more they'll attach themselves to you and their stings are known to be quite painful. If this does happen to you though, avoid foods cooked with dark soy sauce or else you might just get yourself a permanent ‘bracelet’ after all!
Comb Jellies aka Plastic Jellies
(Photo by Wikimedia Commons)
Comb jellies also known as plastic jellies are normally found around waters with lesser currents so when snorkelling, keep a look out for them! These bioluminescent creatures are completely harmless to humans but if you have sensitive skin, a light and friendly brush against your skin might give you quite the itch. With that said, our palms aren’t sensitive to these creatures so we can use our palms to gently pick them up and put them away somewhere they can swim happily ~
To prepare yourself for jellyfish season, these are some important pieces of information we want you to know:
1. Bring a rashguard (or wear any clothing suitable for swimming).
2. We have First Aid and vinegar readily available onboard our vessels just in case you get stung.
3. Trained DMs (Divemasters) or DIs (Dive Instructors) who are also equipped with EFR (Emergency First Response) certifications will assist you during your snorkelling sessions.
4. During the season, we’ll normally bring you to places with less jellyfish and our DM / DI will alert you if it’s no longer safe to continue swimming.
5. And of course, remember to stay close to your DM / DI!
Now that you know all about jellyfish season, it’s time to have some fun under the sun! Just keep in mind the information we’ve provided for you and you’re all good to go!
Also, a big thank you to our very own Divemaster, Kunick, for providing all the helpful information in this post!
Book with us for some fun under the sun! Click the link below to view our best selling island visit and snorkeling tour package: https://amazingborneo.com/package/fun-boat-snorkeling-island-visit