Fact Check

Jellyfish in Wetsuit

What happens when a diver gets a jellyfish in his wetsuit.

Published Apr 24, 2000


Claim:   A commercial diver suffers when forced to share his wetsuit with a jellyfish.

Status:   Undetermined.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 1998]

FYI - The "Brian" in the following letter is the son of a Boeing Computer Systems employee.

The letter is going to his sister and he is a commercial diver for Global Divers out of Louisiana. I'm sorry but his experience should not be in vain. I must share this with the world. Excuse the language and forward as you feel appropriate. Anytime you think you have had a bad day at the office, remember this letter . . . True story.

April, 1998

Hi Sue,
Just another note from your bottom dwelling brother. Last week I had a bad day at the office. Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job. As you know my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I wear a suit to the office. It's a wetsuit. This time of year the water is quite cool. So what we do to keep warm is this:

We have a diesel powered industrial water heater. This $20,000 piece of shit sucks the water out of the sea. It heats it to a delightful temp. It then pumps it down to the diver through a garden hose which is taped to the air hose. Now this sounds like a damn good plan, and I've used it several times with no complaints. What I do, when I get to the bottom and start working, is I take the hose and stuff it down the back of my neck. This floods my whole suit with warm water. It's like working in a jacuzzi.

Everything was going well until all of a sudden, my ass started to itch. So, of course, I scratched it. This only made things worse. Within a few seconds my ass started to burn. I pulled the hose out from my back, but the damage was done. In agony I realized what had happened to me. The hot water machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my suit.

This is even worse than the poison ivy I once had under a cast. Now I had that hose down my back. I don't have any hair on my back, so the jellyfish couldn't get stuck to my back. My ass crack was not as fortunate. When I scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the jellyfish into my ass. I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the comms. His instructions were unclear due to the fact that he along with 5 other divers were laughing hysterically. Needless to say I aborted the dive. I was instructed to make 3 agonizing water stops totaling 35 minutes before I could come to the surface.

I got to the surface wearing nothing but my brass helmet. My suit and gear were tied to the bell. When I got on board the medic, with tears of laughter running down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to shove it up my ass when I get in the chamber. The cream put the fire out, but I couldn't shit for two days because my asshole was swollen shut. I later found out that this could easily have been prevented if the suction hose was placed on the leeward side of the ship.

Anyway, the next time you have a bad day at the office, think of me. Think about how much worse your day would be if you were to shove a jellyfish up your ass. I hope you have no bad days at the office. But if you do, I hope that thought will make it a little more tolerable. Take care, and I hope to hear from you soon.


Origins:   This snippet of e-lore began its life on the Internet in October 1998. Whether it's an honest account or not is more difficult to determine than its date of

origin, though. A number of the details provided argue against its being anything other than an inventive piece of fiction, so the textual claim of "true story" should be taken with a grain of sea


A diving outfit by the name of Global Industries does operate out of Louisiana. They specialize in deepwater diving, underwater welding technology, and subsea completions. However, those knowledgeable about diving have pointed out that technical divers working in deep water wear dry suits (or even hot water suits for very deep dives), not wetsuits. (A wetsuit is open and allows water to circulate between it and the diver's body. A dry suit seals at the wrist and neck and prevents water from entering.) "Brian's" claim to have been wearing a wetsuit while engaged in a dive so deep that it required three "water stops" (slang for "in-water decompression stops") on the way back up to prevent the bends is therefore suspect.

Should you believe this particular tale about a diver with a jellyfish up his arse? Probably not, but on the other hand there's no harm in enjoying it.

Barbara "jelly babied" Mikkelson

Last updated:   9 April 2007

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