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Koh Tao - Stingy water...

Updated: Feb 12, 2023

Today I explore Aow Leuk, which means deep bay. It's a small beach not far from where I'm staying.

It's hot, so I dive immediately to discover a new world. From the first fathoms I feel small tingles. Nothing stops me and...the tingling continues. It feels like electric shocks or small needle pokes. It's unpleasant and... Koh Tao is one of the places where you find box jellyfish, one of the most venomous marine animals in the world.

So I go back to the beach, not without encountering a yellow-headed triggerfish, a Malabar grouper on my way...

and... a blacktip shark. After a whiff of adrenaline, I remember that they are youngsters, not aggressive at all. At least that's what my guide told me...


Arriving on dry land, I meet two French women, residents of the neighboring island, who explain to me that my attacker is an stinging plankton. That's all it takes for me to search the depths of the internet to learn that plankton is nonsense. In fact, it is an organism, floating in water, which can be animal or vegetable. Let's say it can encompass a multitude of bugs and plants. There are

  • zooplankton, such as the krill that whales feed on

  • phytoplankton which contributes to the oxygenation of the planet

  • and little plankton such as bacterioplankton, nanoplankton, picoplankton and femtoplankton. That's the teenie-eenie-weenie plankton.

My research leads me to conclude that it is most likely a jellyfish. The upside-down jellyfish, a brainless, heartless, skeletonless marine animal. Said like that, it seems quite harmless except that it produces small capsules of venom that it can unpin from a distance by the hundreds of thousands and expel like a grenade.

Nothing really bad in the end because, as my mother used to say so well, small bugs don't eat big ones and its bombs tingle my skin without further damage.

So I go back to swimming and I meet a barracuda, a very small barracuda, and two other blacktip sharks.

What a beautiful afternoon in the paradise of Koh Tao.

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