Word Of The Day

We have a love hate relationship with the internet; maybe I’ve mentioned this before. February we’ve mostly been cruising the Marlborough Sounds on the South Island. Some 18% of the New Zealand coastline is contained in these sounds, so there’s countless bays and waterways to visit and squander some leisure time. Time we’ve squandered a fair amount of in admiring two frequent marine visitors: the majestic stingrays and the haunting jelly fish.  The rays just glide effortlessly up and down the water’s edge and make you think twice before stepping out the dinghy when going into the beach. The jellies are a whole different fascination. The one’s we’ve seen are common moon jellies, with a distinctive group of four lobes, a short fringe of tentacles at the edge which are apparently harmless to us thick skinned humans (or so we’re told). In the outer sounds we see the very largest, about the size of a dinner plate, while further in the bigger are only about five or six inches. They seem so primitive, almost primordial, yet it’s hard not to think there’s some consciousness behind the deliberation with which they pulse and move along. It can be quite hypnotic. Maybe that’s their way of enticing me to swim amongst them. It’s not working though; wuss that I am, I’m withdrawing to the internet and finding out the collective noun for these critters. When you’re surrounded by millions of them, to the point where you can’t even see a gap between, it seems you should address them correctly and with respect. So it turns out I could say “we ran into a “smack” of jellies,” but I far prefer “we’re drifting amidst a “fluther” of jellies. It just seems more appropriate. Sometimes you have to love the internet.

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