Saw this along the beach at the spit. (Sand Point). I don’t know what it is. The temperature was 35 degrees, winds North at 8 mph, sunny. The color was white. I did not touch it. We have had some extremely high tides.
(2/24/21)Dean Stockwell, with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Marine Science, writes:
Can you get some in a bottle? A coke bottle or a soda bottle? Even an empty water bottle?. If so, I'll look at it for you and try to get an answer. LEO Network members should know that if there are any oddly colored waters like this, if they can grab some water we'll try and get someone to find some answers. *(3-17-21) I just wanted to make you aware that many natural events can cause discolorations in coastal waters. Inputs from land (like dust, pollen and wind-blown debris). Ocean borne phenomena like spawings of fish or invertebrates are common. Phytoplankton blooms (not all are harmful) and invertebrate swarms are common. Atmospheric events like volcanic ash can also occur. By at least grabbing a small sample, a quick look under a microscope can help separate these events to at least tell a community if there is a concern. You are the eyes of your community and with your help we can address any concerns of local conditions.
I looked today, nothing on the spit beach. I also check a couple other south facing beaches, nothing. Winds SSE8, Rain, Overcast. I spoke with a couple of people who walk the beach between Sunday and Today, they didn’t notice anything in the water on those days. There is nothing on the beach above the tide waters.
Interesting, but this doesn't fit any description of HABs that I know of. Usually you can't see individual specks like that. There are some white colored HAB species, but they usually present as if somebody had spilled white paint on the water. My first thought was of ash, either from a bonfire or a house fire nearby? But Dean's point of taking a water sample right away is a good one. In this case, I would not assume this was an algal bloom.
Comments from LEO Editors:
In recent years, LEO members have noticed a variety of unusual substances in and on the ocean surface. In some cases, these have been algal blooms, and in others, unusually abundant pollen. Examining these substances under a microscope is the first step to understanding their origins, and we encourage all LEO members to collect water samples as soon as possible if they find unusual substances, or odors, on ocean water or fresh water.