can be found on both coasts of Baja, although usually not in great
numbers on either coast. The larger jellyfish, often up to one foot or
more in diameter, can be found occasionally along the west coast of
Baja. They are usually found offshore, but can sometimes be found in the
surf line as well.
sting of a large jellyfish can cause significant pain, but the pain is
usually temporary and rarely lasts more than a day or two. Since they
are relatively easy to see in the water, jellyfish can usually be
smaller jellyfish can be found in the Sea of Cortez. Some of these
animals are so small they can barely be seen. In the case of most of
these very small jellyfish, the sting is almost unperceptable and causes
not much more than an itching sensation in most people.
very small jellyfish can usually be seen with a mask and snorkel. Since
most people snorkeling tend to look down towards the floor of the ocean
when snorkeling, it is important to remember to look horizontally when
checking for small jellyfish.
is a good idea to look for evidence of jellyfish while walking along
the shore before going into the ocean. If the jellyfish are 'running'
there are usually pieces of jellyfish or whole jellyfish laying on the
sand between the low tide line and the high tide line.
there is evidence of jellyfish along the shore there is a very good
chance that they will also be in the water. Whether or not jellyfish can
be seen on the shoreline, it's always a good idea to keep a look out
for these slimy looking creatures once you have entered the water.
are diamond shaped animals with flat bodies found in ocean waters on
both the Pacific Coast of Baja as well as the Sea of Cortez side,
usually in shallow warm waters with sandy bottoms. They tend to be more
prevelent on the Sea of Cortez side of Baja, and usually hang out
together in groups. The larger rays tend to stay in deeper water.
swimmers use the 'Stingray Shuffle' as the primary method of avoiding
these marine animals. By simply shuffling your feet while walking
forward in the water, most stingrays will do their best to get out of
the way. Walking 'heavy' on the ocean bottom while shuffling provides
the same desired effect...warning these critters that you are nearby.
are brown or tan and tend to blend in with flat sandy bottoms. They are
sometimes covered with sand, and will usually not spend much time in
the surf zone where waves are breaking and where the sandy bottom is
rolling from the constant wave action. However, in calmer water just a
little bit deeper they can be found laying still on the bottom.
have barbed spines near the base of their their long whip-like tails
capable of inflicting wounds on whatever part of the 'target' they
strike. Since most people surprise stingrays with their feet, foot
injuries are by far the most common with stingrays.
the barb of a stingray has been 'stung' into the foot of a person,
venom enters the bloodstream. The pain is sharp and immediate, varying
with the degree of the stingray 'hit'. It is important to address the
wound as soon as possible. The main goals are to remove any barb that
may have been placed by the ray, and suck out the venum from the wound.
This is easily done with a small suction kit available for just such a
job. Keeping the affected foot in extremely hot fresh water will do
wonders to reduce pain until the poison is removed.
good news is that stingrays are passive animals. They will only strike
when they feel that their life is in danger. Such is the case when most
people step on them. So whenever enjoying sandy waters that have been
known to contain stingrays, walk slowly and heavily, shuffle your feet
and keep your eyes open.