Jellyfish Season In Florida Keys For Snorkeling?

by Cary Bennett
(Roswell, GA)

Is there a high jellyfish season in the Florida Keys? I have a snorkeling trip planned for the Middle Keys for late September and thought we were all set, until I did more reading just now and realized that it may well put us in the water during jellyfish season.

Has anyone been there during the September time frame and have any experiences to offer on this front? I am beginning to consider other locations so as not to waste time and resources ($$) if we will be spending all of our time dodging jellies.

I have read reports on TripAdvisor from last Sept. of people getting in the water and encountering so many jellies that they got out and gave up after only a couple of minutes and were upset that they had wasted money without knowing how bad it was going to be. With this being a warmer than normal year, I suspect this year's jellyfish population could be astronomical.

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Jul 30, 2012
Jellyfish horrible our last trip
by: Anonymous

We took our first trip to the Keys in August of 2011. No one had mentioned the problem of jellyfish until we were in a guided snorkeling boat heading out to the reef area (already had paid and already trapped for the day). The guides said to just swim around them but that there may be quite a few because of the strong winds they had had in the previous week. Winds sometimes carry them in we were told.

The experience was absolutely horrible, at least for newbies to snorkeling. There were so many jellies that you could not avoid them, and at least 5 of the snorkelers had to be rescued out in the water and were panicked and in pain due to numerous stings. My daughter was trying to get back to the boat and just had to bite the bullet and get stung repeatedly as she swam back. She will never get in the ocean again I am sure.

Most people were only in the water for about 5 to 10 minutes before they gave up.

An expensive and painful lesson to be sure.

Aug 07, 2012
August Florida Keys Jelly Report
by: Wisco

I just got back from the Middle Keys and can report that the jellies are pretty light at Alligator and Sombrero reefs. We saw mostly Moon Jellies of less than 6 inches in diameter and only ran into a "patch of jellies" during a noon-time snorkel at Alligator. Our guides told us that this year has been better for jellies (fewer of them) compared to 2011.

Bring a small bottle of white vinegar and wear a swim shirt to protect your armpits (the worst place to get stung) and you should be fine. Remember jellies are part of the marine wildlife, so don't freak out if you see one or happen to get stung.

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