Those weird blue things on the beach

Valella valella
This is what’s been washing up on California beaches lately.

The other day I was lying out on the beach near San Luis Obispo, CA, enjoying the hot sun, when I noticed what looked like some girls wristbands floating the the water. It thought to myself “why do people throw these in the ocean?”. But after noticing several more of them floating around in the freezing water, I looked closer and suddenly realized they looked more like floating blue vaginas! What the hell are floating blue vaginas doing in the water? Well I picked one up out of total curiosity and immediately recognized it as one of those jellyfish-like, invertebrate thingies that have recently and mysteriously been washing up on beaches up and down the California coast. 

Valella valella
They look like debris in the water.
Valella valella
Awfully yonic looking up close….

Valella valella, or “By-the-wind-sailors” are a strange kind of jellyfish that have indeed invaded California beaches of late.  But this is the first time in my life I’ve ever seen one, and I’ve been going to the beach in CA for over 20 years!  They look like something you’d get from a 25-cent bubblegum machine when you take them out of the water.  Translucent fin that serves as a rudder, with a blue disc beneath it that makes up the body. Turn them upside down and yes they look rather vaginal in a diagonal kind of way. Actually they are very simple organisms that eat plankton and normally exist way out at sea.  It appears that changing wind patterns have brought them to California beaches, so next time you see one don’t panic!