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Real Bad Pain

Adventure Location:  Rockport,Texas
Adventure Date: 12/05/2017

It was a busy morning and the OFM was keyed into the chores in front of us. After a couple of hours he had the goals of today accomplished and decided to stop at the harbor and catch a few fish.

At the harbor was a few Portuguese Man o War critters floating around.


We are very familiar with them from the years that have been spent on the Gulf of Mexico shores. avoiding them is the best thing to do. They have very long tough tentacles that hand down from the balloon. Read this article to get the real information on the details. Man o War article.

The tentacles that hang down have a very powerful sting that will make you remember them forever. It looks like 20# light blue monofilament fishing line with little blue balls on it.  The OFM thought he had hung a broken off fishing line and brought the end up to his reel to try to break the line off closer to the rock it likely was wrapped around.

He laid the line on the back of his left hand fingers in preparation to wrapping it around the hand to pull and break the line. As he stopped it from moving he noticed the little blue balls on the line. then the panic hit him squarely between the eyes. It was a man o war tentacle. He slung it off his hand just about the moment the severe pain hit. His rod was dropped and he moved as quickly to a nearby water faucet and flushed his fingers well with the water for a couple of minutes. Then he slung his hand as dry as he could and went back to collect his rod and head for the Castle. 

In the mean time the red lines were getting bolder across the back of his hand. The OFM had been stung before during his shrimp catching days and knew what was coming and it was not a pleasant thought.

We arrived back at the Castle and the OFM went to work cleaning his hand WITHOUT RUBBING. We got his hand cleaned pretty well and then loosely, DO NOT RUB IT IN, applied some Benadryl cream to the stung area. Now all there was left to do is endure the pain for a half hour or so until all the toxins were used up.

Sure enough right on time, an hour later, the pain began to ease off. What kind of pain was it you ask? Imagine a red hot coat hanger held across your fingers and applied vigorously. It is not something to try just for the experience. About two hours after the initial pain, the pain was gone. There is a couple of light red marks to indicate where the attack occurred.

The Teams figured that the OFM needed a special supper for being such a big boy about the incident so they fixed him a large bowl of shrimp and salad items. He ate it like it was very good. A cup of hot tea topped of the meal and he was a happy fat man again.

Please be careful around those Man O War critters. There is nothing about them that is any good for trying to have tooooo much fun.


  1. I've heard of those Man O Wars critters but have never seen or encountered one. That red hot coat hanger analogy sounds mighty painful alright.

  2. Wow. You do a good job making us feel the pain! The good part is that you knew what to do. Now, if one of us encounters one of those critters, WE will k ow what to do. Glad the pain did go away. And thank you for entertaining us so dependably.

  3. OUCH! I sounds awful I remember those things from when I was a kid. I've never been stung but my dad was on his back.

  4. One of my first "adult vacations" after I went to work was with a group of friends to Miami Beach. All the talk was about the Portuguese Men O War that were close to shore. I never did like the ocean anyway so I had no problem staying out of it. But sunning myself on the beach for hours didn't appeal to me either. It was a long 2 weeks for me, although I did enjoy the night life.

  5. My time with them was at age 12 while camping on South Padre beach with family. One drifted across my legs behind my knees in 2' deep water. I laid in the back of the station wagon for a long time in pain.

  6. When I was living near the Florida Keys as a young man I was heavy into spearfishing, and floating on top of the water over the reefs staring down at the bottom for half the day is a good way to run into a man-o-war, I remember the first one hurting a lot but the others not so much. Maybe you build up a tolerance. But that was a long time ago and I wouldn't want to take a chance on my antibody's still working today.