Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bluebottles Attack!

Presenting the sadistic blue bottle
Red equals sting, white equals three different kinds of stingoes and ice equals pain relief.

Although I have contemplated pulling out of many an ocean swim, I have only pulled out of two. Both due to blue bottles; to which I am mildly allergic making a painful experience even more so. I have to say both times, I've been back on the beach within 3 minutes of being stung. These lifesavers know their stuff.

The mighty Mona Vale marathon last year was grim, overcast and had an incredibly intense surf. This year it seemed Avalon and Mona Vale had swapped.

I had a few goggle issues getting out but otherwise it was quite an enjoyable swim. I'd discovered travelcalm during the week that includes an antihistamine for all those bitey things in the ocean to which I am allergic. Consequently, the chop out the back didn't worry me. Hurrah for pharmaceuticals!

Swam along nicely until the final buoy when the water safety directed us in as close to the buoy as possible due to stingers. I swam in close to the final buoy but whilst rounding it got bluebottle tentacle across my face. The pain was intense. Whilst treading water to try and pull the tentacles off the sadistic bastard got me across the arms, chest and back. I started screaming from the pain. Some lovely swimmer, on the home stretch when you're most competitive asked me if I was okay, to which I replied no and raised his arm for the rubber ducky to come rescue me. I felt like such a goose. I was so occupied trying to get the damn things off I hadn't raised my arm. Not sure but I think that's grounds for stripping you of your Australian citizenship. They hauled me into the boat, and another Can Tooer in my age group who'd been stung into the boat, brushed all the tentacles off and zipped into the shore. Raced up the beach, faster than I ever have at the end of a race in search of first aid.

Two hot showers, and two ice applications later I was still in a lot of pain. More antihistamines and panadol and kindly ministrations of both friends and strangers and I was okay. However, even after a boiling hot shower, more ice and a nap my face still looked pretty angry.
See the welts below:

It's now 11 hours later and my ear still feels like it was lacerated by the tentacles. It's bright red.

My woes however were nothing to the poor bloke who was unable to walk unaided after being stung and due to anaphalaxis left the beach in an ambulance. I hope he's okay!

Please keep your fingers crossed for a blue bottle free run at Whale Beach next weekend!


  1. Yeeeeaaoouch! Your description of "sadistic bastards" is exactly right. Pointless little creatures!

    In some cross-promotional-blogging, I have mentioned your blog in my blog . Enjoy :-)

  2. Things that just float around stinging stuff are definitely pointless and sadistic. They reckon two thirds of the swimmers got stung yesterday. For more cross promotional blogging see

  3. Hi Miss! So now I know why we didn't finish at the same time - and I couldn't find you in the finisher list.. Poor thing! I was only stung by one under my arm. Same spot as last week.. minor in comparison to the attack you had to go through!
    All the best with your recovery, Lou