So today I went through a right of passage in any water babies life… I got stung by a weever fish!
I knew instantly what it was, a sharp little sting on the pad of my big toe. “Ah crap” if all the stories were true in about 5 minutes I’d be crawling up the beach begging passers by to amputate or just put me out of my misery.
I carried on kitesurfing half in denial half thinking to myself that I might as well enjoy my mobility while it lasts. Thoughts running though my head like, how was I going to drive home? I had a hair appointment at 2. Followed with how far was it to the nearest lifeguard hut? Would I be able to make it there alone? Inwardly there was drama going on, why me Mr Weever? I meant you no harm!
So after about 5-10 minutes of this stress, I hobbled out the water to tell my friend about the situation. A burly South African who said to me “ah mate, I trod on one too about half an hour ago”, “does the pain get any worse than this? ” I ask, “naaaa mate, it’s like a bee sting, you’ll be right!” Some may have been a little brassed off with the unsympathetic response but it was what I needed to hear.
This was good news, the pain, although very uncomfortable was not worth ending the day early for, it was fair weather and good wind – days like these are rare in the British Isles!
My previous experience with weever fish stings had also been at Gwithian, coming to the aid of a fellow kitesurfer.
I had emerged from the sea, kiting, with an extreme thirst on, desperate not to climb up the dunes to the van for water could be a fruitless effort, I spied a lonesome soul sat in the sand amongst his kit clutching a precious bottle of the wet stuff! “Hello, I’m Ali. How was it?” I indicate the water. “Ok except I think I trod on a thorn” he replied. “Oh really?”, “yeah and now it feels like electric pain up my leg” hmmm “I think you’ve trod on a weever fish!” I tell him, then I proceed to tell him the depth of my knowledge about them.
Most people think that if you wee on all stings it will neutralise it. This is true with Jelly fish stings, but weever fish stings are a protein based venom, thus the way to sort it is to cook it! Hence the treatment is to put the afflicted area into hot hot water and then once you got used to it, make it hotter still. Then once you remove it, keep moving to get the blood and muscles moving to help break the protein down.
So, back to the water boy. I offered to go with him to the lifeguard hut, I kind of felt for him. In return for his water, I took his mind off the obvious pain by chatting about venomous fish of the world while I drank the best part of his two litres. When we climbed up the dunes the lifeguards sent us on to the next hut along because they has no gas to heat water. The irony not lost on me that is was my idleness that made me approach this poor lad in the first place!
I believe in the UK we get off lightly with sea enemy’s… After all the Caribbean equivalent would have definitely meant hospitalisation! Just ask poor Charlie who trod on one body boarding at Freights! (Karma in fish form)
Sneaky little shits! Some stings are worse than others, and some people are more susceptible than others. I was lucky that on this day Mr Weever Dick didn’t end play for me or Pappa Surf. No hard feelings, you little runt (By comparison to big bro above!), I really hope I didn’t make you a weever flat when I squished you with my giant size eights!