Our sea: seaweed, jellyfish, currents, dangers...

Updated: Aug 2, 2021

The Tuscan sea is a living and beautiful sea, full of magnificent creatures, which needs the protection of all of us to guarantee its and our well-being.

Despite the importance of protecting the ecosystem, few people know it, know how to protect it and know its dangers.

Here are some basic information that allow you to fully enjoy a holiday in the Tuscan sea.


Seaweed

The most common alga in the Tyrrhenian Sea is Posidonia Oceanica; to be precise, it is not even a seaweed, but a plant. Wherever there is Posidonia, this indicates a state of good health of the sea; it happens to hear people say "yuck, it's full of algae"; such an attitude could not be more wrong; if you happen to see banks of Posidonia it means that you are in an unpolluted sea, sharpen your view because it's right there that you could make the most interesting sightings.



Jellyfish

Many people fear jellyfish, and at the first sight of any animal with tentacles they flee the water in horror at the prospect of contact.

The most common species of jellyfish in our sea are basically 3: Rhizostoma pulmo, Pelagia Noctiluca and Cotylorhiza tuberculata.


Rhizostoma pulmo (En. Barrel jellyfish It. Polmone di mare), it's the most frequent of the three and it's almost completely harmless (it may cause a slight itch only in particularly sensitive people, while it is completely harmless to most people). 90% of the times this is the jellyfish that you will find in Punta Ala and, as I said, it's harmless. It's easy to recognize it from the intense white color decorated with a purplish border.

Don't kill it! Just swim alongside her admiring the beauty of its colors and the elegance of her movements.


(Below, a beautiful Rhizostoma pulmo)

Don't believe me? Here's a video of me and my younger son swimming along with a Rhizostoma Pulmo!


Cotylorhiza tuberculata (En. Mediterranean jellyfish It. Cassiopea di mare), it's the most rare of the three and it's completely harmless. If you're lucky enough to meet one, admire its beauty as it slowly swims in the sea and don't touch it, let alone remove it from the water!


(Below, Cotylorhiza tuberculata, lovely!)


Pelagia noctiluca. This, unfortunately, is the only encounter you need to fear. It is one of the jellyfish whose contact is the most painful of all; the length of the tentacles (up to 2 meters) means that contact frequently occurs without even noticing its presence; moreover, the transparent aspect flecked with purple spots makes it not easily identifiable while swimming. The good news is that it is much less common than Rhizostoma Pulmo, which, as mentioned, is completely harmless and shouldn't be a cause for concern.

If you've been stung by a Pelagia (or any other harmful jellyfish) rinse the affected area with seawater (not fresh water), remove any spines from the skin usingthe edge of a bank card, soak the area in very warm water (as hot as can be tolerated) for at least 30 minutes – use hot flannels or towels if you cannot soak it. In the case of jellyfish stings, the pain is caused by a heat-sensitive toxin, so your best ally is heat; if you can't get hot water, sun-warmed sand can be a remedy; be careful not to burn yourself, though!


(Below, Pelagia noctiluca, stay away!)

Swimming in Punta Ala, in the last twenty years, I think I've seen thousands of Rhizostoma Pulmo and just ONE Pelagia, so enjoy our sea and take it easy!


The sea of Punta Ala

The sea in Punta Ala is as safe as it can get!

The depth of the water slopes gently and even at 100 meters from the beach the depth is only a few meters. The conformation of the gulf makes it extremely protected from the currents, so on calm sea days it is perfectly safe to swim, even for children and less experienced swimmers.

Children can safely play in the water a few meters from the shore without running any danger. Depending on the tide conditions, the water can be a few millimeters high at a distance of up to ten meters from the beach!

By heart, no particular cases of accidents due to sea conditions are remembered in recent decades in Punta Ala.

The only, modest caution, concerns the days of storm with a mistral wind; it is a condition that occurs, on average, at most once in the course of a season and strong waves, up to two meters high, hit the coast; for people in good health, adopting the appropriate precautions it is an opportunity for fun, because even with such conditions the current carries towards the shore and traditionally there are no great dangers; however a minimum of caution is advised, particularly with children, because in such conditions holes can be created on the seabed with relatively strong underwater currents.



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