UPDATED 5/14/15, 8:40 a.m.

People are again going nuts for the Velella Velellas – “by-the-wind sailors,” as they’re more commonly known – so we thought we’d revisit and update regarding the mass strandings, which appear even thicker than last year’s.

First, a video from LoCO super source @MSidKelly:

And Friend of LoCO Julie Izatt sent these in from Samoa Beach:

By Julie Izatt.

By Julie Izatt.

To find out more about the Velellas, check this out and/or keep reading – and please, add your own photos in the comments! – JS


Photo by M. Sid Kelly – follow him on Twitter for more stunning photos and general knowledge goodness.

“What IS this?” is the common refrain this month. While most folks recognize the Velellas (above, commonly known as “by-the-wind sailors”) carpeting the sand, other images have recently popped up in my inbox demanding identification.

Like these:

Along with the above photos, Kym forwarded a note from LoCO reader Veronica Daw:

“Hi, saw this at clam beach on Monday surrounded by vultures and ravens.  I thought the big round thing in it’s head was wierd, like a tumor or somthing.  My friend thinks it’s a porpoise.”

Local marine mammal biologist Jeff Jacobsen agrees:

“Harbor porpoise is my first and second guess. Big round thing is the skull, a hole pecked in it. Probably a calf, there is a peak in calving and calves on beaches July 4, this one a bit late, looks small, though no obvious fetal folds or umbilicus, both of which could have faded by now, and sand covers a lot of it. Flukes don’t seem curled, common in neonates. So this kid could be a few weeks old. The bones would be soft and fragile on a calf, easy to peck into, get those tasty rich brains.”

Congrats, Veronica’s friend! You are correct! (Sorry, no prize other than the satisfaction of being right, friend.)

Meanwhile, avid beachgoer, NCJ staffer and my good pal Amy Barnes happened upon a gooseneck barnacle-laden buoy on Clam Beach – be sure to check out her son’s video of the bizarro buggers. 

In less creepy critter news, the Humboldt Bay Critter Crawl happened! 

Any LoCO readers inspired to utilize the bay this way? Background here.

Can we get one of these for Humboldt Bay?

“For people who find it hard to believe the Earth really is warming, new visual evidence will soon be available – two atlases, one showing graphically the retreat of Arctic ice, the other the human and economic price exacted by extreme weather.” 

Happy #NudibranchWeek!

Palmer’s Point nudi