The Portuguese Man-of-War

Jakob Schiller interviews Aaron Ansarov, who collects dead men-of-war from the beach with his wife, then takes astounding photographs of the remains. [Wired]


  1. 1982 I’m surfing in Australia (poorly, but it’s a good effort for a newb), I’m in the water beside my board and BAM, it feels like I just got a huge shock or something. I grab my board and while trying to maintain regular breathing, I make my way to the shore, but I don’ have much ability to put forth effort. eventually I ride the waves in, clutching my board. I collapse on the beach, look down and there’s this 2 inch wide welt going right around my chest and back. I’m struggling to breathe and sort of in shock, head to the lifeguard station… he looks down at me, says “Man o War, go home and put vinegar on it”. sort of looks at me like ‘what a pussy’ while I’m struggling to maintain composure and breathing, thinking I might die.
    eventually made my way home and slept for 36 hours. small fish must just give up on the spot.

  2. “The man-of-wars are usually alive when Ansarov and his wife find them on the beach, so the couple use a beer cooler filled with seawater to transport them home. The creatures are still alive when Ansarov photographs them and then he puts them back on the beach where he found them.”

  3. There’s no way of knowing how long the tentacles are in the water. I had a run in with one when I was 14 at a North Carolina beach. I was on a raft and headed away from it as soon as I saw it but a tentacle had already wrapped around my knee. By the time I made it back to our vacation house I was in terrible pain and my knee was swollen and stiff. My mom applied a baking soda paste and gave me Benadryl. It seemed like that knee was never the same, it even creaks more than the other one.

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