Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Very Dangerous Fish

By Christian Grill (Own Work) CC BY-SA3.0                                                        
Returning home by dinghy a few nights ago, we followed friends who were in a second small boat.  It was a lovely moonlit night and very still, the water like glass.  Suddenly we saw fish jumping up ahead and immediately turned off our flashlight - these were Needlefish, (family Belonidae).  We've seen them throughout Asia - in Thailand they're called "Long Toms".  Unfortunately our friends had a red light shining above the hull, and one fish launched itself into their boat at high speed.

It speared into the leg of one occupant, right through his clothing, before launching itself out of the boat again.  The fish was possibly a meter long.  It created a very deep and ugly wound that at first glance looked like a gunshot, and certainly bled like one.

Fortunately an experienced nurse was at hand, who was able to treat the wound and administer the required anti-biotic and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Several deaths and many dreadful injuries have been attributed to these fish - check the Wikipedia link here.  When we shared this story with other cruisers, one young girl showed us an ugly scar on her leg where she was pierced by a Needlefish when swimming in Malaysia.  These attacks are more common than we thought !

We've had them land on the deck of Crystal Blues, both day and night, and many times had them jumping around the dinghy.   Now we'll be much more careful - dousing the lights when we see these guys around.

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