Lizzie Daly was diving Saturday off the coast of Cornwall in Britain when she saw something large in the distance and did a double take. Daly had seen a barrel jellyfish before but nothing of this size.
“I’ve never seen a barrel fish — or any jellyfish — that big,” diver and biologist Lizzie Daly said in a video about the dive. Clearly elated, she added, “It was the size of my body, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done.”
Luckily, Daly managed to have her friend capture the moments she spent with the jellyfish on camera. She and underwater cinematographer Dan Abbott were taking the dive off the coast of Cornwall as part of Wild Ocean Week, which Daly started in order to highlight the amazing marine world under the water’s surface and to inspire people to help protect it.
“Spend two minutes of the end of Wild Ocean Week watching this beautiful moment where I come face to face with a barrel jellyfish THE SAME SIZE AS ME,” Daly shared with her Facebook followers.
Sharing a swim with the gargantuan jellyfish was “absolutely incredible,” Daly said.
Mr Abbot said it was “a lot easier” to capture images of such a sedate animal drifting along between 7m to 10m under the water, very shallow depths by scuba diving standards.
“You can put yourself in a position where you know you’re not going to be in its way,” he said.
The giant barrel is the largest jellyfish found in U.K. waters. The Wildlife Trusts says this species of jelly, Rhizostoma pulmo, has a bell up to 3 feet wide and can weigh nearly 80 pounds. The leviathan Daly saw was clearly larger.
While she swam near it, the animal trundled along, pulsing through the water. Daly tells The Guardian that she wasn’t worried about its tentacles: “It has got a very mild sting and poses no ᴛʜʀᴇᴀᴛ to humans – some people don’t even feel it.”
Daly later reflected that it was both “serene” and “grounding” to be so close to such a magnificent creature.
“It shows us why it’s so important to protect our oceans,” she said.