This is an elegant and free public pool in the City of Cairns on the eastern coast of northern Australia. There is a good reason the City invites the public to swim here, rather than the ocean that surrounds it: box jellyfish.
On one of those searing hot Australian summer days, there is nothing more inviting than the surf. Driving up and down the highway, you see white sandy beaches frequently, and they’re calling. But when you look closer, you see signs like the ones below, or you see large net enclosures.
It’s usually children who are killed by this jellyfish, and usually within minutes. Other times the stings are not fatal, especially in adults. But there’s enough danger and pain that Australians and the government too, take this sea creature seriously. There are certain times of the year that Chironex fleckeri gather here, usually October to May. And they prefer calm water and light breezes, but they congregate in all conditions. More about the box jellyfish here.
A very lovely pool that you enter as if you’re walking into the sea–gradually with a sandy bottom, then you get to the deep end and can look out over the vast ocean. It’s a very sweet and comfortable way to avoid deadly stingers, which I think is a great way to live life.
Top photo: Athena Alexander