Fish Wash Up on West Coast


Millions of by-the-wind sailors wash ashore along West Coast.  Small, jellyfish-like sea creatures known as by-the-wind sailors”or purple sails”are getting blown onto beaches from California to Washington by the millions.

The latest sighting came this week at Ocean Shores, Washington, where swarms of the purple-colored, oval-shaped creatures washed ashore and died in amazing numbers, as seen by the photos provided to GrindTV from Michael Watson.

I’ve seen these guys in varies sizes of flotillas over the years, but this is the biggest incursion I’ve seen, Watson told GrindTV. It’s fun to see the hub-bub amongst the tourists.

The Weather Channel went so far as to say billions have washed ashore along the West Coast, reporting that it is a result of strong winds and above-average sea surface temperatures.

Since March, the component of surface wind blowing from west to east over the northeast Pacific toward coastal Washington and northwest Oregon has been stronger than average, said meteorologist Jonathan Erdman.
The scientific name of the by-the-wind sailor is velella velella. It is a free-floating hydrozoan that lives on the ocean surface. They sting to stun prey but are harmless to humans.

It looks pretty messy, Tim O’Cain told KOMO News as he survived the amazing mass of by-the-wind sailers at Ocean Shores. Really gooey. And actually from a distance, I thought they looked like a mussel, until you got up close to them.

Steve Green with the Coastal Interpretive Center told KOMO News that the by-the-wind sailors could continue sailing onto West Coast beaches throughout the summer months, which will make for a gooey mess for beachgoers.

By David Strege