Anytime someone is first introduced to the concept of a protein skimmer for cleaning saltwater aquarium water, we invariably use the example of beach foam that is sometimes seen on beaches. Well this week that example got kicked into overdrive in Mackay Australia from the gale force winds produced by Cyclone Debbie.
The persistent strong winds literally whipped the ocean into a frothy frenzy, producing natural skimmate which blew onto coastal towns, and blanketed the areas with a special kind of ‘Marine Snow’.
In a reversal of illustration, if we had to describe what beach foam is to a reef keepers, we’d explain to them that it’s the ocean’s own way of skimming protein from the water. So what is happening now is that the same oceanic skimmer is literally overflowing all over the town. As a reef keeper it’s easy to picture the strong winds pushing up huge waves, crashing on each other and creating a virtual infinity of fine microbubbles.
Video and photos documented a thick layer of the beach foam building up to several feet deep in some places. And this light airy froth is literally snowing down all over the place, covering everything in sight. This is a very rare occurence for so much beach foam to accumulate all at once, but hopefully it doesn’t smell as skimmate pulled from an aquarium.