Dancing Echoes

Beats Stumbling Around in Silence

Five Photos, Five Stories – Day Four: Portuguese man o’ war



Cobalt bubbles tossed
Ashore, angry winter storm
Stranded, shriveling

Thank you Clare at My Creative Cosmos for inviting me to join this wonderful challenge.

This photo was taken December 7, 2013.

Every once in a while strong winds will drive large swarms of Portuguese man o’ war up onto our beaches. There will be so many that it is hard to walk on the sand without stepping on one. The tentacles sting by means of venom-filled nematocysts that can still actively trigger after death, so walking barefoot on the beach when they are around is a very bad idea. These creatures are not really a “jellyfish” in the traditional sense. They are an organism known as a siphonophore that consists of a colony of zooids that work together to create one living creature. So while as a colony organism they represent the epitome of teamwork, as a swarm they are ironically at the mercy of the wind and current. I find them strangely beautiful and their mass casualty a sad event. This type of stranding tends to be more common in the winter when the storms roll in off the Gulf of Mexico. This particular morning was cold and overcast with a misty, ethereal quality to the beach. Iridescent cerulean sails tangled in golden sargassum streamers were strewn about the sugar white sand as raucous gulls raided the spoils for morsels of trapped food. This force of nature went on for weeks with each pounding wave tossing more passive victims ashore to their ultimate death.

OK, here is where I am going rogue. I am not going to follow the strict rules and pay it forward to five other folks. An elaborate explanation of why can be found on my Five Photos, Five Stories – Day One: Fog post if you care to read my obnoxious rant. Here are my rules: If I follow you, I admire and respect your work. If you would like to take on this challenge, please do so as I would very much like to follow what you create. I will be posting one more of these photos, haiku and stories guilt free with the hope of inspiring someone else to take a shot at it. If you take on the challenge and want to follow the original rules, I think that is great so here are what the rules are supposed to be:

The Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge rules require you to post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or simply a short paragraph – it’s entirely up to you.

Then each day, nominate another blogger to carry on this challenge.

Accepting the challenge is entirely up to the person nominated, it is not a command. Today, I invite (insert nominee here) to join the challenge.

I would like to give a special “Thanks” to all of the wonderful bloggers that follow and support me and especially to Clare for being so patient with me.

This is also a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature which inspired a theme for my five day challenge and will be incorporated in each of the five posts.

Author: Dancing Echoes

I am a scientist by trade and artist by soul. My creative outlet used to be dancing but due to injuries and age, I must now find another path. I am hoping my writing, poetry and photography can be this new path. Awards: While I am grateful and honored for the numerous nominations, I don’t have time to respond to them with the attention they deserve, so for the most part, I am an award free blog. All photographs and words are mine unless otherwise credited. © 2015-2023 Dancing Echoes ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Christy Draper with appropriate and specific direction to the original content on Dancing Echoes.

21 thoughts on “Five Photos, Five Stories – Day Four: Portuguese man o’ war

  1. Holy snappin’ duck shit, I love you scientists!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We pretty much have always have to watch where we step.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We get PMoW occasionally along our coastline…they help remind us that there’s no point running from all the stuff on land that wants to bite, sting, crush or tear you to shreds by heading into the water bc if the stingers don’t take you out, the crocs, stonefish, butterfly cod, sea snakes and blue ringed octopus probably will…assuming you haven’t died of exposure or been blown away by a cyclone on the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I gotta come visit. It sounds like my kinda place!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely photo, and a well written piece. Living in England, I have never seen anything like that. Many years ago some jellyfish washed up on the shore a few miles away, and it was claimed that they were man of war, but they were completely different.

    I would love to take up this challenge again – I did it a while ago – but due to technical difficulties I can’t upload from my camera.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you. I would love to see you do this challenge again. Hopefully you can get your technical difficulties ironed out sooner than later! I haven’t forgotten your challenge -love in ten sentences. That is a very hard challenge for me but I am bound and determined to do it. I loved what you did for it. Very impressive.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Please don’t feel committed to do the Love in ten sentences challenge. If you have left it this long, it must be because you wouldn’t enjoy it. It would prabably be better for you just to shrug your shoulders and forget all about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I appreciate your letting me off the hook. Truth is I have been busy with work. These other posts are much more easy for me so they fill in the gaps when I am stuck on a hard one. Love in Ten is out of my comfort zone but I may still take a stab at it. We will see. I have several pieces not finished -especially from Poetry 101 because in my opinion they weren’t good enough to publish. If and when I feel they are as good as I can make them, then I will post. I have never thought of myself as much of a writer so this is new territory for me.


  9. Ah! A perfectionist. I used to be one of those, but at the moment I’m too tired to focus.
    I really like your writing…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you. It gives me hope. Yes, I am a perfectionist. It is exhausting.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for staying safe and alive, Christy. Seriously. I need to see what you’ve got. How selfish of me to look at it this way. Oops. Great work here as always, scientist DE.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you. Tomorrow’s post will be a little bit different….


  13. I look forward to it, DE. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. An incredible photo…I thought it was two toy iuninflated neon-blue colored footballs washed up on the beach and tangles with kelp. Then I read your title. https://grieflessons.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/walking-sea-ranch/

    Liked by 1 person

  15. We have them in Australia also and over here we call them “Blue Bottles” which causes some confusion amongst tourists when they go to the beach and are told to “watch out for blue bottles”. We also have 7 of the 10 most venemous snakes in the world plus spiders, sharks, crocodiles and numerous other beatsies. It is still a great place though. Great picture.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Christy,

    They are tough little things and I was so surprised to find lots of them on the beach when we were in the south east of Tasmania. I honestly thought the waters would have been too cold for them, but that was not the case.


    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you! Cool name for them. It makes sense. I would brave all of those hazards to see your great country. It is at the top of my bucket list.


  18. C’mon over, you are welcome anytime.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I agree! They look so fragile but are definitely not. I don’t know what the size of the ones there are but the ones here are actually pretty small -maybe the size of the palm of your hand. I always pictured them (before I actually saw them as being bigger. I just remembered a story my Dad told me when I was a kid. He left for Korea (the war) via a boat off California. He said at one point in the Pacific, they sailed through a swarm of them for three days that was as far as the eye could see. That’s a lot of “ouch”.


  20. Nice shot

    If you want you can participate to my weekly challenge just here :


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