The Portuguese Man O’ War is likened to a jelly fish, but is actually a completely different species. Unlike jelly fish which are single multicultural organism’s, the Man O’ War is a colony of specialized minute individuals called Zooids. That would make it a cluster muster.
You really can’t avoid them while they are in the water because they don’t swim. They are propelled by tide and wind and can’t help bobbing into you if you are in it’s path. Their tentacles will wrap around you leaving red welts and shocking nerve pain.
I worked on a shrimp boat in the gulf shores in the 70's. We would shrimp all night competitively but when morning broke and the shrimp were bedded on ice, we’d tie off with the other trawlers, share breakfast and unwind. Often a cool swim in the ocean followed.
All mornings weren't so peaceful though. Like the one that a girl jumped starboard right into a bed of Man O’ War’s! I will never forget the look of fright on her face as they wrapped around her. Someone threw a ring or line out and pulled her in. She was covered in bleeding red welts. Once on-board she began shaking really bad and her blood pressure dropped. She was going into shock. The coast guard was called in and she was flown to emergency at Biloxi Hospital. She pulled through but had neurological problems for a while.
So, if you see this beached blue pod on shore this weekend, resist the urge to examine it too closely. I never understood why people like to poke dead stuff with sticks but they do. If you get a squirt of this venom on you, it may require a trip to the ER. This translucent blue beauty is dangerous and sometimes fatal. It’s venom can be potent for hours and sometimes days.