One day this summer, at low tide on a waveless day, I was walking parallel to shore in the shallow water to rehab my injured knee. A lobster wandering the sea floor startled me enough that I let out a tiny, little wee scream but he left me alone and I went on my way. But a few minutes later I felt him, or one of his friends, grab my big toe and slice through it.
“AaaH!” I screeched. “Aaa, aaah, aaack!” I screamed like a little kid with each Bay Watch leap I took out of the water. A man with a walkie talkie stopped on the beach and asked if I was okay. He was a lifeguard checking for sting rays and jelly fish in the shallow water.
“Something got me. I think it was a lobster, maybe a crab. It grabbed me.”
“Huh,” he said, “I’ve never heard of that. Can I see it?” I showed him my foot with two slices bleeding at the base of my big toe. “Well are you okay to get back?”
The pain hadn’t started yet so I told him that I’d be fine. I started walking back to my towel.
“Gosh, he must have cut close to the bone” I said to myself. “This is really painful.”
A burning ache was beginning. It felt like my bone and veins were on fire and pulsating with each step. By the time I got up to the apartment a few minutes later, I was overcome with throbbing, excruciating pain. Like a hot poker was activating all the nerves in my foot and up my leg. My toe seemed to be swelling.
I jumped in the shower to clean it. “Geez, this feels like a venom. Do lobsters have some kind of poison in their claws?” The pain immediately calmed down in the hot water. I put antibiotic and some paper towels on it held down by bandaids. The bleeding just would not stop.
I sat down to enjoy some chips and dip but was overcome with the burning nerve pain again. I couldn’t even breathe. I took some Advils and started Googling about lobster pinches.
“Hold on a minute.” I mumbled to myself. “JFC, only east coast lobsters have claws!” Also, it turns out that when they pinch you it seems like you usually lose a digit. Okay, what just happened? I wondered.
I clinched my teeth through another wave of agonizing pain and Googled stingray stings. Turns out it’s not exactly a sting. When they feel threatened their bendy tail whips at the threat and slices into them, inserting poison into their victim. All the photos of stung beachgoers looked like mine, two puncture wounds somewhere on their foot.
“Correction.” I wrote on my Instagram stories. “It’s a stingray sting.”
After about an hour the pain calmed down and I was left feeling exhausted and shaky from all the adrenaline and endorphins rushing through me. Over a month later I still have deep puncture wounds in my toe that have taken forever to heal.
So I figured, based on this experience, I’d write a handy dandy guide to the top 5scariest sea creatures, in my opinion. Here you go!
- Sea Urchins
I’ve stepped on these a lot walking over rocks to get out to the surf. They grip to the rocks and when you step on them a few of their hundreds of burgundy colored spines break off deep into your feet and release a poison of some sort that is uncomfortable but not overwhelmingly painful. What sucks about them is that the needles go straight into your foot, not at an angle so it’s almost impossible to dig them out as you would a splinter. Instead you just have to get on with your life and wait for it to fester after a few weeks and then squeeze them out like you would a pimple.
These suck as I think I have made clear and I will forever be paranoid walking barefoot into the ocean. The one way to avoid them is to shuffle your feet entering and exiting the ocean.
Sharks are beautiful powerful creatures that terrify every surfer I’ve ever met including myself. But let’s not forget that they are Keystone Species which means they are the building block of the underwater environment. Without them the oceans’ environments will die.
Also, people that study them have declared them to be smart and discerning, comparing them to dogs, coming up to them for scritches. One woman spends her life diving in search of sharks that need fishing hooks removed from their mouths. Once they get to know her, the sharks would just approach her and wait patiently as she removed their hook.
So anyway, ya they are scary as fuck but they are also smart, complex creatures that don’t deserve to be annihilated.
God I hate seals. They’re so weird and perverted and pushy. Ya I know they are supposed to be cute big eyed dogs of the sea but they’re not. I hate that they get compared to dogs. Dogs are perfect. Seals are intense and aggressive and have bad social skills. I’ll get out of the water if I see a seal circling around. They can be like 500 pounds of stupid fast swimming insanity with teeth that are made for ripping apart fish and octopuses.
They are very territorial. Once I was surfing in a cove that I didn’t realize belonged to a psycho seal. He started circling me and staring at me with one of his big weird eyes on the side of his head. He was gigantic and was swimming closer and closer to me. He was giving off big mating energy so I called over to Britt with a panicky voice, trying to keep my eye on him.
“Oh my god.” Britt whispered. “He’s been circling me.” I said. “I think he wants a girlfriend. Do something masculine.”
Britt lifted the front of his board up out of water with one hand and raised his arm so he’d appear bigger. The seal made eye contact with him and sort of gave him a nod and swam off.
Mermaids are dangerous because they do what they want. With otherworldly strength, super speed swimming, the ability to breathe underwater, aquatic telepathy and the ability to emit a deadly sonic scream, they have no predators so they fear no one. Do not test them.
There are many stories of them repaying favors of kindness from humans and sometimes saving drowning people, but if they are wronged, their abilities to manipulate water and weather can destroy a fleet of ships or a beachside resort.
Their abilities of enchantment are legendary but I would recommend turning the boat around if you see one brushing her hair up on some rocks and singing. They have been known to fall in love with men and shape shift into a human form for a few months to explore the relationship but if she is ever betrayed or mistreated by him, there will be hell to pay.
Approach a mermaid at your own risk. Fear the mermaid.