Sailors of the Sea
SAILORS OF THE SEA
A DISTANT RELATIVE OF THE JELLYFISH, VELELLA VELELLA WASHED ASHORE
IN DROVES ALONG THE CALIFORNIA COAST THIS MONTH.
The beaches of Crystal Cove were a spectacular sight in late August: thousands of electric blue, almost-translucent creatures were found up and down the West Coast during the final days of summer. The Velella velella vaguely resemble jellyfish and are typically found in the middle of the ocean. Thanks to unusually strong winds, however, their flight paths were altered, leading them to arrive at Crystal Cove and other beaches from California up to Washington.
The velella are built with a small fin on their backs that serve as a makeshift sail. They float on the surface of the ocean, with their angled fins designed to capture crosswinds that continue to blow them offshore—hence the name “sailors of the sea.”
The beautiful velellas dry up shortly after arriving ashore, but there are still a large number of them scattered across the ocean. The species is just one of the unusual wildlife sightings that have been popping up around Crystal Cove. Visit CCA’s Facebook page for the latest updates and photos of the fun creatures that make appearances in the Historic District.