ADELAIDE – The man who won the “Best Job in the World” was almost killed by a lethal jellyfish!
Earlier this year, Queensland’s tourism board decided to further promote the Great Barrier Reef by creating the “Best Job in the World” competition. Over 34,000 people applied for the position of caretaker of the islands of the Reef.
The job included a hefty salary and free lodging in a beautiful villa on Hamilton Island! All the caretaker would have to do is check up on the different islands and blog about their experience.
Ben Southall of England won the coveted spot, and has been loving his new job. He has spent the last six months exploring the islands and writing about it for tourism promotion.
However, during his last week there, Southall felt a small sting on his arm while jet skiing. When he noticed tingling in his hands and feet, he notified island staff who immediately took him to a doctor.
Due to symptoms of fever, headache, lower back pain, chest tightness and high blood pressure, the doctor determined Southall had been stung by an Irukandji jellyfish!
The peanut-sized jellyfish is a serious threat. It is almost impossible to see in the water, and can pass through nets that are meant to keep jellyfish away from certain beaches. Symptoms can last for more than a week, and some victims even die. Two tourists were killed in 2002 after being stung by the jellyfish.
Wrote Southall, “I thought I’d done particularly well at avoiding any contact with any of the dangerous critters that consider this part of the world their home. This was not what I’d wanted at all and had caught me little off guard to say the least — I’m supposed to be relaxing in my last few days on Hamilton Island.”
Southhall was given medication immediately following his diagnosis, and he has now fully recovered.