There are lots of reasons I love walking on the beach early in the morning; the breeze, the sounds of the waves, the small number of people I encounter, and the mystery of what the tide will bring in. Perhaps someone can predict with a certain level of accuracy what will be washed onto the sand on a given day, but I can't. Somedays there will be a stretch of the beach covered in broken shells, but only in a couple of areas. How did they end up in just these two spots? On other days, there are intricate designs lightly carved in the sand, though just for a few hundred yards. Why does this occur only in certain parts of the shore? Rather than give myself a headache trying to figure it out, I've decided to just enjoy the show.
Today's sunrise presentation consisted of a large number of these beautiful gelatinous creatures spread randomly across a large section of the beach. They came in various sizes and, while most were in this orientation, several were inverted showing various shades of translucent blue to contrast with the hot pink displays at the edges and base of the sail. The early morning light made the colors even more striking and the incoming waves would leave them covered in bubbles. All this combined to make a wonderful stroll on the beach even better.
Being a relative newcomer to living near the shore and having an inquiring mind, I did a bit of research on the creatures when I returned home. As it turned out, I was glad I encountered them on the sand instead of in the water. They are Portuguese man o' war and the toxins in their tentacles can paralyze fish and inflict painful stings on swimmers. No need for experiential learning in this case. I've decided to trust Wikipedia's explanation on this one.