Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Best Job in the World" - But Beware the Jellyfish

"Ben Southall stung by an irukandji jellyfish"
The Courier Mail (Australia) (December 30, 2009)

"Best Job in the World winner Ben Southall has been stung by an irukandji jellyfish after ignoring Tourism Queensland advice to wear a stinger suit.

"Mr Southall was stung on his elbow while jet-skiing off Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays on Sunday, less than a week before his $150,000 Best Job in the World gig ends.

"The former British charity worker yesterday tweeted and blogged about his 'crazy 24 hours' following the potentially deadly jellyfish sting.

" 'Feeling 100% again after an irukandji sting while jet skiing,' he tweeted. 'Horrible incident. Lesson learnt – always wear a stinger suit.'..."

I can see why Ben Southall didn't wear a stinger suit: he was jet skiing, and jellyfish aren't known as high-speed swimmers. In 20-20 hindsight, of course, it's obvious that going suitless wasn't an entirely prudent decision.

Getting stung by this sort of jellyfish is no joke: given the right, or wrong, conditions, an irukandji sting can be - and has been - lethal.

Mr. Southall's "best job in the world" is part of a Queensland tourism promotion, intended to show the world what a great place Queensland is. I hope this little run-in with a jellyfish doesn't affect Mr. Southall's pay - or get him into trouble with the promoters.

I live Minnesota: where water is a mineral this time of year. It warms up in the summer, of course: then, you've got mosquitoes, leeches, and other invertebrate bloodsuckers to deal with, along with the occasional patch of scorching heat and the odd tornado. Apart from that, though: this is a great place to live!

And, as long as you learn to live with deadly little jellyfish, I'm sure Queensland is, too.

More, about the irukandji jellyfish (rather redundant titles, aren't they?):

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