Meeting with a Man-O-War

Our favorite neighborhood beach, Lanikai, has been our place of peace everyday. No joke. Every. Day. Harlow and I have found so many fun treasures on the beach, in the water, and in the sky during sunrise or sunset. We are totally blessed and BLISSed to call this "our backyard". On occasion, the Man-O-War's can float close to shore by the dozens..some get washed up on the sand and make for beautiful photographs, which I am considering making into greeting card sets.

^^ My little love wanted a picture of her pony by one ^^

Harlow is always very good about respecting the Man-O-Wars.. and here is the reason why. The following can be found on National Geographic's website.

     "Anyone unfamiliar with the biology of the venomous Portuguese man-of-war would likely mistake it for a jellyfish. Not only is it not a jellyfish, it's not even an "it," but a "they." The Portuguese man-of-war is a siphonophore, an animal made up of a colony of organisms working together.
The man-of-war comprises four separate polyps. It gets its name from the uppermost polyp, a gas-filled bladder, or pneumatophore, which sits above the water and somewhat resembles an old warship at full sail. Man-of-wars are also known as bluebottles for the purple-blue color of their pneumatophores.
The tentacles are the man-of-war's second organism. These long, thin tendrils can extend 165 feet (50 meters) in length below the surface, although 30 feet (10 meters) is more the average. They are covered in venom-filled nematocysts used to paralyze and kill fish and other small creatures. For humans, a man-of-war sting is excruciatingly painful, but rarely deadly. But beware—even dead man-of-wars washed up on shore can deliver a sting."

The morning after the Harvest moon was normal for us. We woke up happy and peaceful popped into the double stroller and climbed the big hills over to the beach for sunrise. We met a sweet new friend, who also lives in our neighborhood, to have a romp in the ocean when she so kindly took my begging little mermaid to play in the waves as I was wearing a sleeping Taj and couldn't go in. Then it happened. Something no parent wants to see their child endure. A Man-O-War had completely wrapped around my little girls body and was excruciatingly painful because it was a pain level she had never before felt. This was her first time feeling anything this intense and it broke my heart. I grabbed her and peeled off the long tentacles from her tender skin while she, screaming, tried to comprehend what was happening to her. It was AWFUL. I had been told that the berries from the Naupaka plant that grows wild on the beach can help alleviate these stings so I ran as quick as I could with her and broke open probably 20 to squeeze on her. We juggled our things back to the stroller, and I plopped both babes in. I am not a runner, but boy did I run! I ran through the sand (pushing a double stroller) and up 2 giant hills to get her home as fast as I could..all while texting my closest friends to start looking up remedies to help her. I must have ran that mile in 7-8 minutes, because I was home and had her in the bath so fast!

In the bath I put Lavender essential oil and Purification blend by YL, to help with the sting and calm her down. I decided to get in the bath with her so that I could hold her and kiss her while she calmed down (and Taj was in my lap also, because remember my beloved is deployed so I'm at this alone). Harlow finally calmed down and transitioned through a stage of zoning out for a few minutes and then to a cuddly mode. For the next 3-4 hours I continued to monitor her closely and apply oils (lavender, peppermint and frankincense or purification) every 15-20 minutes.

^^ Excuse the cheeky shot, this was right after bath ^^

^^ excuse my naked toddler, she didn't
 want her clothes on because it was irritating it!
 This was about 2 hours after ^^

Two days later it is still getting better but certainly not gone. We are so grateful she isn't allergic and that she ended up being okay. One of my biggest worries was that my sea sprite would end up afraid of the water, so I decided to take her back down to the beach that evening, and she blissfully trotted and skipped around in the water up to her shorts, while begging me to take her in.

Today we went to a new beach and she is back to her old mermaiding self, as you can see here. We also found a Man-O-War on the beach, which I scooped up in a coconut, and took some time to talk about it. I wanted to bring to her awareness that while they are dangerous and can really hurt they are still very beautiful. It filled my momma heart with pride to be able to give her a lesson shortly after the incident and to really feel like she understood what I was telling her about these creatures. Thank goodness!

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  1. Nice post. It will be informative for those who have confusion about essential oil (Livender, pippermint oil). Thanks for sharing such a valuable experience

  2. Poor baby! One of my earliest memories (aged around 2) is of reaching for the most beautiful blue thing I'd ever seen in a rock pool then being shocked by the dreadful pain. I'm in my sixties now and still remember the day.