Ocean Safety Tip: Don’t Touch The Poor Urchins!
Diving provides us with opportunities to observe and passively interact with the many amazing creatures of the sea. Most of these encounters result in experiences that are truly memorable for the diver, but in some rare circumstances we may manage to get ourselves injured.
Urchins are common in Hawaiian waters and are often seen by surfers, snorkelers and divers. Most diver injuries are accidental, such as a diver with poor buoyancy control accidentally landing on an urchin or a tired diver accidentally grabbing onto a stonefish. Both of these situations are easy to control by following safe diving practices and knowing your personal limitations. Sometimes the surge or an oblivious dive buddy may push you into one; it’s not always the diver’s fault either.
One of the most common injuries our ocean-goers face is a patch of urchin spines, no longer attached to the critter but embedded in their skin. This is a very easy injury to avoid, as urchins move veeeeeery sloooooowly while they graze upon algae on the reef. Frequently referred to as a “Hawaiian Tattoo,” the ink and even spine tips can remain in your skin for weeks or even months after the spines have broken off. Sometimes the lingering presence of the pigment gives a false impression that there are still spines under the skin.
That title might sound a little surprising to you, but how would you feel if someone came along and broke off your body parts? It’s not like…