And just like that it is back to school. The summer of 2019 will be remembered in our family as the holiday of the awakening. My kids will probably always remember this holiday haze because they lost their innocence when it comes to the sea.
They were not dumped by a wave. They did not get sea lice all over their legs. They did not lose their togs in an undignified tussle with Mother Nature as they tried to cover their private parts (I personally did lose that battle).
They were stung by blue bottles. There are billions of those oh-so-pretty blue bottles around our local beaches. Okay, the actual number is technically not billions. But last weekend alone, 460 people were stung on Sunshine Coast beaches with a few patients suffering anaphylactic shock.
We have swarms of the little devils on our shorelines thanks to tides and wind direction. My kids stepped on them at Mooloolaba. The lifesaver who helped us was a superhero to my kids, who thankfully had mild stings and were treated with warm water and ice. And ice-cream. And hugs.
Of course, my poor babies thought the world was ending as they shrieked with pain and jumped about on one leg. I think the blue bottles were dead, as my kids were not left with those red scars I keep seeing documented on social media by other not so fortunate victims.
Remember when we were kids, we were told to pour vinegar on stings? Then it changed to hot water. Then for a time the remedy was urine.
I swear I am telling the truth – we were told your own wee was the best cure. Well now that cure is about as popular as white bread and Donald Trump.
But I am thankful my kids were not hurt badly and now they understand and respect another unwritten rule of living in paradise.
Each region in Australia has its own set of rules formed around our lifestyles. I was taught the same rule of not going near bluebottles when I was about their age growing up on the Coast.
My mum and my siblings spent many a sunset perched on the rocks at Rainbow Beach watching cars fly around the point from Double Island hoping a freak wave would not wash them away.
There is nothing more ‘Queensland’ to me now than sitting on those rocks with a beer in one hand and a phone in the other to film the car cowboys who get stuck on the rocks.
But back to the jellyfish. Let’s not tell my kids that Irukandji jellyfish are bobbing around a few hours up north, as my brood may never swim again. Thanks summer of 2019, despite the blue bottle education, you were a total darling.