British Columbia

Blue jellyfish-like creatures return to Tofino's beaches

Tofino beach-goers got a rare glimpse of some strange looking blue creatures Sunday, as hundreds of jelly-fish like creatures known as Velella Velella washed ashore

Velella Velella make rare but natural appearance

Hundreds of blue blobs known as Velellas, or By-the-Wind Sailors washed up on Chesterman Beach in Tofino Sunday (Chantelle Bellrichard)

Tofino beach-goers got a rare glimpse of some strange looking blue creatures Sunday, as hundreds of jellyfish-like creatures known as Velella velella washed ashore.

Also known as By-the-Wind-Sailors, the small carnivorous animals are related to jellyfish. They do sting, but not enough to harm people. 

They use their stinging tentacles to feed on small fish larvae.

Thousands of the creatures washed up on Tofino's shores in August 2014. At the time, Mayor Josie Osborne, who is a marine biologist, said their appearance was rare.

"They are ocean creatures that are normally found hundreds of miles off-shore in the Pacific," Osborne said.

"It is a rare event, but a natural event for them to wash up on shore."

Osborne said the creatures wouldn't survive for long because they are exposed to the elements.

Nature did its own cleanup in 2014, and that will likely happen this time too.

Here's the CBC News report from 2014:

Beaches on the West Coast of Vancouver Island lie littered with dead jellyfish-like creatures 1:42

Velella velella live on the surface of the water. They can't swim, so their movements are dictated by wind and coastal currents. 

Tofino had windy conditions Sunday, with gusts up to 56 kilometres an hour.