port_man_war_sm

portagee-man-o-war

(PORT-tah-GEE-man-oh-war)

(n) Hawaiian Pidgin for a type of stinging jellyfish.

For example:

“Ho, ‘Ilima, careful where you put your nose, yeah? Better watch out for portagee-man-o-war! I bet the buggers wen wash up on the beach last night.” ~ Uncle Kahana

2 Responses to portagee-man-o-war

  • Are these dangerous or poisonous?

    • Portuguese Man-o-War jellyfish don’t attack or seek out people; they float on the surface of the ocean and move with the tides, currents, and wind. They come into contact with people accidentally, often in the turbulent surf zone where they can’t be easily spotted. There are stinging cells in the tentacles that sting on contact. I’ve had tentacles wrapped around my legs, arms–you name it–when body boarding. In most cases, you get a line of red welts that sting and itch for awhile, similar to bad mosquito bites. Some people are allergic to the venom in the stinging cells–like some people are allergic to bee stings–and they can have a more serious reaction. There are simple treatments that break down the protein in the stinging cells like powdered meat tenderizer or vinegar. People often carry these home remedies in beach bags. You can also pack wet sand on the stings and then wash it off in the ocean–don’t rub–to remove any bits of tentacles still stuck to the skin. Certain beaches in Hawaii at different times of the year are more prone to man-o-war jellyfish, so just check with locals or the newspapers for current conditions. Honestly, in Hawaii, it’s more important to keep an eye out for “floating bubbles” than sharks.

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