Stench from sea creatures repulsive
Waves of electric blue jellyfishlike creatures that washed up on west coast beaches, delighting beachgoers, have hit their expiry date.
The Ka¯piti Coast, north of Wellington, is simmering under a putrid cloud as tens of thousands of velella start to rot.
On Monday, Ka¯piti resident Alison Bolt said she drove to a car park near the beach that morning to take her german shepherd Buffy for a walk.
‘‘I took one whiff out the car door and it just about made me want to throw up...we went to the river instead,’’ she said.
Stuff has reported the translucent blue velella were washing up on beaches around Wellington, Ka¯piti and Taranaki for the past few days.
The township of Waikanae Beach, population 3048, was inundated with the creatures that drift on oceans, driven by the wind.
Bolt first noticed the velella had washed up several days ago, ‘‘I thought ‘look, pretty blue’.’’
By Monday, Waikanae Beach Four Square owner Quoc Tran said the smell was ‘‘very bad’’ and wafted in his doors when he opened them.
‘‘The customers are mad about it, but what can I do, really? There’s nothing I can do...you can’t eat food with a smell like this.’’
He said the creatures seemed to wash up annually, but this year the smell was worse.
The velella might have washed away more quickly last year, Tran said.
A Ka¯piti woman, who did not wish to be named, said she drove to Waikanae Beach on Sunday and it ‘‘reeked’’.
‘‘Driving around the beach yesterday, the smell was appalling...it smelled like rotten fish. It’s the coast of stench.’’
She said the odour stretched back several streets from the beach.
Social media comments have mentioned smells penetrating inland from taki Beach to the north, and Paraparaumu Beach to the south.
WHAT ARE VELELLA?
According to Livescience.com, the creatures are not true jellyfish, but are related to them. They float on the ocean surface and are blown by the wind. ‘‘A velella’s electric-blue body hangs down into thewater, with stinging tentacles that capture small prey such as tiny shrimp and plankton.’’ The blue colour protects them from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. ‘‘In the ocean, floating snails, sea slugs and sunfish will gobble up the gelatinous creatures for meals. ‘‘Although velella toxins are harmless to humans, it’s not a good idea to handle the jelly creatures and then touch your eyes ormouth. The velella neurotoxin might cause itching.’’ O¯
Velella washed up at Pukerua Bay. Top right, velella afloat off the coast.