Velella velella turn Tofino, B.C., shore into sea of blue
Tofino's mayor says shore appearance of jellyfish-like creatures a rare but natural occurrence
Tofino, B.C., beachgoers were surprised Monday morning to discover that thousands of tiny jellyfish-like creatures had washed up on local beaches.
George Timmins was getting ready for a morning surf when he noticed the Velella velella — and shot some home video.
Last month, thousands of Velella velella also washed ashore in Oregon.
Velella velella are small carnivorous animals related to jellyfish and do sting, but not enough to harm people.
"There is no way they could survive," said Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne, a marine biologist. "They are ocean creatures that are normally found hundreds of miles off-shore in the Pacific. It is a rare event, but a natural event for them to wash up on shore."
Now the District of Tofino will also let nature conduct the cleanup.
The creatures will start rotting, likely causing a bit of a stink, but no other harm.
Osborne says it should only last a few days.
No one knows if more Velella velella will be coming ashore. They can't swim, so their movements are dictated by the wind and the current — far from the coast.
With files from the CBC's Richard Zussman