Have you seen them? Bizarre blue sea creatures are washing up on Bay Area beaches

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Bizarre blue sea creatures are washing up on Bay Area beaches
Thousands of small sea creatures called Velella velella are invading Bay Area beaches. Here's why and what to do if you come across them.

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. -- Have you seen them? Thousands of small sea creatures are invading Bay Area beaches.

Marine experts say tiny colonies are washing ashore. The occurrence isn't rare, but rarely does it happen in large numbers like this.

Experts explain what they are and why they're here.

"You could look at it as a work of art, part of nature," said Natasha Kimmel.

Kimmel is amazed by what's washing ashore on Rodeo Beach in Marin, tiny blue sea creatures as far as you can see.

"I've never seen so many here on this beach."

The weird-looking organisms are cousins to jellyfish but only an inch or two long, they're called Velella velella otherwise known as By-The-Wind-Sailors.

"Their name gives away their mode of transportation for sure, they have little sails that stick up the currents of the ocean take them along their journey," said Melissa Schouest from Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco.

Schouest from Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco says what's happening here, is not rare but is cool to see.

"I thought at first, wow there's a lot of these things out here, more than I've ever seen," said Awanish Mishra.

Mishra came from Davis to check out the small gelatinous creatures.

"I guess my concern is, is this normal," Mishra added.

Experts say a wet winter and climate change could be a factor why so many of these creatures are coming onshore.

"We've seen so many changes in weather patterns from man-made climate change to El Nino patterns which are historically naturally occurring, but both are definitely something at play," said Schouest.

MORE: Scientists discover 100 potential new deep-sea species, including mystery creature

She says if you're lucky enough to see colonies washed up, it's best to look but not touch and try to keep pets away too.

Nature is doing its thing.

"It's great for people to be interested, and you're doing a story to get people engaged, going out and seeing nature in all its strange formats," said Schouest.