I will scream like a distressed baby bird if I am swimming and come across even one quite small jellyfish, so it is hard to imagine what I would do if I was confronted with this creature:
Woah!!!!! We went diving in Falmouth yesterday to finish off #WildOceanWeek and came across this GIANT barrel jellyfish! ???? What a way to finish off this marine wildlife adventure! ???? pic.twitter.com/NNwDelfWyV— Lizzie Daly (@LizzieRDaly) July 14, 2019
No, that is not a trick of perspective — that right there is a 1.5-metre long barrel jellyfish spotted by divers while they were filming an online series off the coast of Cornwall.
Specimens of the species (also adorably known as dustbin-lid jellyfish or frilly-mouthed jellyfish) usually grow up to around a metre in length. In a video, marine biologist Lizzie Daly said that it was the size of her body and not just the biggest barrel jellyfish she’d ever seen, but the biggest of any species.
Underwater photographer Dan Abbott filmed the hour-long encounter, quite reasonably describing the whole experience as “unreal”.
While swimming with a big barrelly boy might have the sort of latent Lovecraftian dread of sharing time and space with an immense and ponderous alien intelligence, the jellyfish itself is quite harmless. The species is capable of inflicting only very mild stings — to the point that some people don’t feel them at all — and, lacking any sort of brain or nervous system, they just jet around minding their own goddamn business.
Still pretty fucked up to look at, though.