Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Pat Gallant-Charette unfailingly comes out of the oceans from her training or long marathon swims with a bright, wide smile.

For those who know her well, this sunny demeanor is not surprising.

For those who understand the pain of jellyfish stings, it is.

I’ve been stung by jellyfish while swimming the English Channel, Tsugaru Strait, and the North Channel. Each [of us] is unique in our reaction to pain and the potential adverse effect to jellyfish stings.

During my North Channel swim in 2013, I was stung every inch of my body. Pain was minimal and I did not have any significant adverse reactions from Lion’s Mane jellyfish. However, while swimming off the coast of Maine, I was stung by a jellyfish and it felt like I was being electrocuted. I can tolerate a lot of pain but that sting was off the charts.

I did not have any adverse reactions. I did not see its dome, but the tentacles were actually beautiful…..they glistened in the noontime sun. During my Tsugaru Strait swim, I was stung over 100 times. Each sting was variable from a lightweight tingling sensation to a burning sensation as though a lit cigar was being extinguished on my skin. Again, I had no adverse reactions, but I still have a few scars from the poor little jellyfish stuck inside my swim suit.

I’m looking forward to my next attempt of the North Channel in August 2016. Swimming the North Channel is an adventure of a lifetime regardless of the jellyfish stings
.”

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association