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by-the-wind-sailor_courtesyofmarlinYou heard it here first folks. It’s official – we are in store for a scorcher this year. I’ve seen definitive proof – if the locals are to be believed – to back up the Met Office’s promises of a barbeque summer and it comes in the way of purple jelly.

Scores of by-the-wind-sailors, or Velella velella to use their official name, have been washing up on Cornwall’s shores, which in the eyes of local St Ives Bay residents is a sure sign that we’re all set for warm weather.

Usually only found in warmer waters out to sea the small, disc-shaped floating creatures have a vertical sail that propels them across the ocean’s surface. When the UK experiences a run of southwesterlies the purple, jellyfish-like animals sail towards our shores to be washed up on our coastlines. After, swimming through a soup of by-the-wind-sailors a couple of weeks ago I did a bit of investigating. Speaking to locals who know the beach like the back of their hand, the response was unanimous. Purple jelly in June means a season of blazing sunshine is on the way. However, communications officer Guy Baker from the Marine Biological Association is unsure of the scientific connection between the two.

“We tend to see by-the-wind-sailors coming in every year in varying quantities, it’s more a reflection of the wind patterns than of the weather to come,” he explains. “However local observations are valuable and it might be that coastal residents have observed a connection between the arrival of these creatures and good weather over hundreds of years, so there could be truth behind it.”

So there you have it. If you choose to believe a the handful of talkative octogenarians that I cornered on the beach a couple of weeks ago over the rational scientific explanation of experts, it’s bikini and boardshort surfs all the way this summer. Fact.

I know who my money’s on…

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