Monday, 8 August 2011

The urge to get back to the beach as winter drags on and SAD kicks in; and beware the weever

I need to get back to the beach and into the ocean. The withdrawal symptoms are starting to kick in: restlessness, lack of concentration, a tendency to daydream (more frequently than usual), short fuse, no focus, alcohol dependency (any excuse will do) and sluggishness (no slime thank you very much).
I've convinced myself my symptoms reflect those of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

The Mayo Clinic website says less daylight in autumn and winter, genetics and age are all factors that could contribute to SAD.

You can read more about the role melatonin plays in the condition at

The Mayo Clinic's experts suggest light therapy, which is fine if you live in a country where there's hardly any daylight. But in Australia even in winter the sun shines brightly enough to have the same effect as a special light contraption, though the contraption's only advantage is it doesn't emit UV rays.

My issues are I don't live close to a beach so tend not to go unless the weather's hot and there's an organised ocean swim. Also, I don't have a wet suit and, to be honest, I don't feel like swimming for long periods in 16 degree Celsius water in winter. I can see the die-hards roll their eyes and hear them "tsk tsk".  I can't go there without a seal suit!

So that will be my next purchase when Spanner isn't looking.

And on another topic - BELIEVE IT OR NOT - England has a poisonous fish species! This summer more than 1000 holidaymakers swimming at the seaside in the UK have been spiked by the weever, the country's most venomous fish.

Lordy lord, I just Googled 'the weever' and it's a shocker. The culprit is the lesser weever (not its relative the greater weever), a sandy coloured six-inch long fish, which buries itself in the sand. Unsuspecting bathers step on it and its spiky dorsal fin becomes embedded in the flesh and releases venom. 

Andy Horton of the British Marine Life Study Society writes that the pain is "excruciating" and at its most "intense" for the first two hours. As with bluebottles, the method of treatment is to put the affected limb into really hot water. 

Apparently, weevers have always been a nuisance in summer on the south-west coast but this year they've sprung up at Hastings on the south coast and North Yorkshire. The reason? Warmer sea temperatures. 

The wimpy lesser weever won't kill you though, so Australia still retains bragging rights on its vast array of  DEADLY venomous creatures. So there Poms... take that *fish slap*.

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