Fancy meeting you here! Couple are stunned to find themselves swimming alongside massive barrel jellyfish when they go for a dip off the Cornish coast
- Artist Toby Ray, 41, spotted the jellyfish while paddleboarding with his partner near Padstow, in Cornwall
- Mr Ray said: ‘It is definitely the biggest one I have seen and was around 120cm long and about 50cm wide’
- Creatures spotted in record numbers around British coast this summer and can grow up to 90cm in length
This stunning underwater picture shows a couple plunging into the sea – next to a monster-sized jellyfish.
The barrel jellyfish have been spotted in record numbers around the British coast this summer.
One expert claims she has spotted more over three days than in the previous 15 years put together.
This stunning underwater picture shows a couple plunging into the sea – next to a monster-sized jellyfish. The latest sighting was caught on camera near Padstow, Cornwall by artist Toby Ray while he was out on his paddle board earlier this month
And the latest sighting was caught on camera by artist Toby Ray while he was out on the ocean earlier this month.
Mr Ray, 41, specialises in seascape painting and was taking a trip on his paddle board to scout new terrains between Trevone and Stepper Point, near Padstow, Cornwall.
He said: ‘It was just by chance. We didn’t set out to find it but are always on the lookout.
‘It was just below us. I always take my iPhone in a waterproof housing to capture whatever is around but I saw it and just jumped straight in.
‘It is definitely the biggest one I have seen and was around 120cm long and about 50cm wide.’
Toby, of St Eval, Cornwall, added: ‘The barrel jellyfish are hard to find. You have got to be in the ocean all day every day to try and capture them.
Experts say that warmer weather may be bringing their prey into British waters and an invasion could be imminent just as crowds of tourists prepare to flock to the coast for the summer holidays
‘It was pretty amazing to be stood up on the board and then see this massive jellyfish. When it is just that and the deep blue ocean it is a bit surreal – like being in space.
‘There were no other sea creatures around apart from this massive jellyfish and it was a great feeling.’
The mammoth sea creatures have baffled witnesses who say they are bigger than humans and are arriving close to UK shores larger than ever before.
Some spotted already this summer in Cornwall have been longer than 8ft.
Experts say that warmer weather may be bringing their prey into British waters and an invasion could be imminent just as crowds of tourists prepare to flock to the coast for the summer holidays.
Ocean expert Dr Peter Richardson said stifling summer heat has led to a ‘boom’ in the creatures, particularly the barrel jellyfish, as warmer sea temperatures allow them to enter UK waters.
The mammoth sea creatures have baffled witnesses who say they are bigger than humans and are arriving close to UK shores larger than ever before
This has led to the jellyfish, some of which have a deadly sting, being washed up across the nation’s shoreline.
Dr Richardson said: ‘Barrel jellyfish, in particular, are going through something of a boom at the moment.
‘They have been occurring in numbers since about April and there are a lot of them about.
‘There is a suggestion they might be benefiting from a rise in sea temperatures cause by climate change.’
Britain is home to six different types of jellyfish and two species classed as ‘jellyfish-like creatures’, which include the dangerous Portuguese man o’war.
The Portuguese man o’war’s sting is used to paralyse and kill fish and is excruciatingly painful to humans, even when the creature is dead.
NHS warnings say those stung by a jellyfish should use sea water to rinse the area, not freshwater.
What are barrel jellyfish and are they poisonous?
Barrel jellyfish, or rhizostoma pulmo, are the largest to swim in British waters, giving them their name of ‘dustbin lid jellyfish’.
They can grow up to 90cm across and weigh as much as 35kg.
The sea creatures prefer warmer waters and are often seen around the UK in May and June.
Barrel jellyfish, or rhizostoma pulmo, are the largest to swim in British waters, giving them their name of ‘dustbin lid jellyfish’
They are often spotted washed up on beaches, but it’s rare to see them alive in the water close to the coast.
While they are not poisonous they can leave you with a nasty rash, similar to that of a nettle sting.
Their sting is too weak to be harmful to humans and is only used to capture the plankton they eat.
They have a translucent body with a purple ‘frills’ around their eight arms, which contain hundreds of tiny mouths.