Foam

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Pitchpole
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Foam

Post by Pitchpole »

I am sure many people will have kayaked through rafts of algal foam at this time of year and noticed the mess it leaves on your boat. Until the terrible events in the Netherlands (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... etherlands) I had never really thought of it as a safety risk. I guess if you are swimming it would be difficult to keep your airways clear and it may even be toxic. Does anyone have any experience to share?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_foam

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PeterG
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Re: Foam

Post by PeterG »

Cliff nesting sea birds seem to be well aware of the risks. I was always surprised by some apparently ideal cliffs being unoccupied and the next corner being a crush of birds. After a few days of F9-10-11 brought our paddling in Lewis to a halt and massive drifts of foam inundated the coast, the unoccupied cliffs were all submerged in deep drifts and the birds would have drowned, but nesting areas had been blown free of the foam.

I imagine sensory deprivation might be a factor in the foam being so dangerous. I once paddled through a short stretch of a sort of foam and spray clapotis where two seas met, just to see what it was like. However, it was impossible to know, once inside I could not see, hear or really feel anything, although the boat was bucking about, but a few instinctive paddle strokes brought me out into the air again, none the wiser. Except having learnt not to do it again.

BobbyR
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Re: Foam

Post by BobbyR »

Indeed the news reports quoted survivors who stated they became disoriented in the foam.

I’ve been kayak surfing there a few times. The break is a narrow area against the harbour wall. Its proximity to Den Haag, Delft and Rotterdam makes it popular and busy. It can be horrible paddling out into the wind when the surf is up.

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Ceegee
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Re: Foam

Post by Ceegee »

I must admit it is creepy stuff, especially when you hit patches deeper than you are tall. Here's me at Dungeons, off the Cape of Good Hope. Mind you, there was a 9m swell that day!!

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Dave Gorman
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Re: Foam

Post by Dave Gorman »

I had an unnerving experience with sea foam in County Clare in the west coast of Ireland, a few years back. I was solo paddling in the area of Loophead and Bridge-of-Ross. I very rarely solo kayak. There was a moderate groundswell running, not massive, about 4ft-5ft just out a bit from the cliffs and rocks. Bigger close in when the energy was forced up. No significant wind. No noticeable tide flow.

I came into the very small bay where I was going to land. This bay has a short reef forming a natural breakwater on the western side of the entrance, with a small mini-bay of about 30x30ft on the landward side of it. It's a favourite place of mine to dwell safely in the kayak as the larger waves overtop the reef. On the occasion I'm recounting, the overtopping waves had built up a patch of foam filling the mini-bay to a depth of about a foot or eighteen inches. This doesn't sound much but it was disconcerting when I was in the middle of it. I couldn't see the water immediately around and under me. There were lots of reflection waves from the rocks around me. I had to continually use low brace strokes going by feel to find the water. Sometimes I was bracing on the top of a wave, sometimes in a trough. Never sure which until the paddle connected. Not big waves, perhaps 2ft but very boisterous and confused. There was very little buoyancy in the water as it was so aerated and i don't know whether it would have been possible to breath if out of the boat.
It was quite unnerving and I didn't dwell long on this occasion.

arnold
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Re: Foam

Post by arnold »

The NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research released a report on the fatal accident involving five surfers on 11 May in Scheveningen.

At the time of the incident, a two-metre high layer of seafoam lay/floated in the corner between the harbour head and the beach. The seafoam most probably arose due to an exceptional combination of large plankton bloom and strong northerly winds.

Read the English summary of the 'Quick scan sea foam' here. https://www.nioz.nl/download_file/view/5809/7050

moizec
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Re: Foam

Post by moizec »

arnold wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:03 pm
The NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research released a report on the fatal accident involving five surfers on 11 May in Scheveningen.

At the time of the incident, a two-metre high layer of seafoam lay/floated in the corner between the harbour head and the beach. The seafoam most probably arose due to an exceptional combination of large plankton bloom and strong northerly winds.

Read the English summary of the 'Quick scan sea foam' here. https://www.nioz.nl/download_file/view/5809/7050

2m?

That is a horrible situation.... Any forecast about that foam?

Pitchpole
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Re: Foam

Post by Pitchpole »

Just watched 'Ocean Autopsy' BBC 4. Very interesting but depressing programme about our abuse of the oceans. They mention that upwelling of nutrient rich cold water in the spring causes the bloom. It might be more of a problem as wash off from fertilised fields feeds the algae throughout the year.

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