FALMOUTH, England - When British broadcaster and biologist Lizzie Daly prepared to explore the waters as part of her campaign, “Wild Ocean Week,” she never guessed she would come face-to-face with a giant jellyfish.
The incredible and jaw-dropping creature is a barrel jellyfish, the largest species of jellyfish in British seas. It was spotted off the southwestern coast of England, near Falmouth, Cornwall.
“What an unforgettable experience,” Daly wrote in an Instagram post. “I know barrel jellyfish get really big in size but I have never seen anything like it before!”
Daly and her underwater cameraman Dan Abbott were exploring the ocean as part of the “Wild Ocean Week” campaign, which documents marine encounters and raises funds for the Marine Conservation Society.
Both Daly and Abbott are experienced in working with marine life, including other large animals like sharks. Abbott added that the jellyfish wasn’t moving very fast, so it was much easier to position Daly in the water to make sure she was not in its way.
“Neither of us have ever seen a jellyfish that big before,” commented Abbott. “It was an incredible and humbling experience.”
The barrel jellyfish can grow up to 90 centimeters across and can weigh up to 35 kilograms, about the size of a trash bin lid. And while this species is not known to be small, the incredible size of the jellyfish that Daly and Abbott saw is extremely rare.
Daly is currently a biologist, wildlife presenter and Swansea University fellow.