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Thread: Chocolate milk ocean???


  1. #1

    Chocolate milk ocean???

    New to 30a (4 months)...why is the ocean brown in color??? Lake breaches, etc?
    Kurt-seems this may be a good question for you!

  2. #2
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    Eastern Lake and several other coastal dune lakes have opened due to all the rain !

  3. #3
    Lake water. All, or nearly all, of the dune lakes have opened up due to all the rain we have had.
    Tannin makes the lake water brown.
    It's not particularly attractive but it's nothing to worry about. The lakes are supposed to do that.

  4. #4
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    The tanin in the dune lake water is brown in color. When the lake breaks through the water flowing into the gulf make the surrounding gulf water appear brown.
    BEACH LOCAL

  5. #5
    Yes all the rain we've been having has sent a lot of fresh, tannin-stained water in to the gulf from the coastal dune lake outflows.

    Also, during stormy weather and high surf the water can get quite "muddy". Just stuff stirred up from the bottom and washing in from deeper water.

    You can see from this photo at Seagrove about an hour ago it's a little muddy and there is some seaweed close in to shore.

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  6. #6
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    I love it when the outlets open.

    Does anyone track opening dates for the dune lakes? I see the department of public works manually opened Western Lake on 08/01, and an article referencing that says Eastern Lake opened naturally earlier in the week. It would be interesting to see a record of historical openings.

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    I don't know that there has ever been a real record.(County Public works probably has a record of manual openings.) There is a Coastal Dune Lake Advisory Board. They might know. But I haven't heard any from them in quite a while.

    Note to 30A Dreamers: just stick around. The Gulf will get crystal clear again soon. And then it might get cloudy. And then it might get seaweedy. And then it might get clear again. And then it might get brownish. And so on...
    My mind tends to wander... but fortunately, it's so weak, it doesn't get very far...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kurt View Post
    Yes all the rain we've been having has sent a lot of fresh, tannin-stained water in to the gulf from the coastal dune lake outflows.
    How much of the year is the gulf water discolored in the immediate vicinity of Eastern Lake due to lake outflow? Always? Or only after an unusual rain? Or during a certain season? How long does it last?

  9. #9
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    The inlet breaks out sporadically. Sometimes it may take three or four months between breakouts. Recently, we had one breakout, the sandbar built up rather quickly, and the torrential rains filled up the lake so fast that it broke out less than a week later. This is fairly rare to have two breakouts in quick succession. I can only surmise that this unusual amount of rain is washing an unusual amount of tannin into the lake, then into the ocean. It will get dissipated by Issac,and we should have clear water in a week or so. Or, maybe not. Nature can be fickle.
    My mind tends to wander... but fortunately, it's so weak, it doesn't get very far...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lake View Too View Post
    I don't know that there has ever been a real record.(County Public works probably has a record of manual openings.) There is a Coastal Dune Lake Advisory Board. They might know. But I haven't heard any from them in quite a while.
    Thanks. I looked up the advisory board but they haven't posted any meeting minutes for about a year now. If I get interested enough I'll try to call someone.

  11. #11
    The CDL advisory board has been discontinued.
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    oh. thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lake View Too View Post
    The inlet breaks out sporadically. Sometimes it may take three or four months between breakouts. Recently, we had one breakout, the sandbar built up rather quickly, and the torrential rains filled up the lake so fast that it broke out less than a week later. This is fairly rare to have two breakouts in quick succession. I can only surmise that this unusual amount of rain is washing an unusual amount of tannin into the lake, then into the ocean. It will get dissipated by Issac,and we should have clear water in a week or so. Or, maybe not. Nature can be fickle.
    Thanks! Can you give me an idea of how many times a year the Eastern Lake overflows into the Gulf and how long the outfalls last? And after it stops streaming into the Gulf, does it trickle through the sand for a while carrying that lovely coffee color into the Gulf? If so, how long? What percentage of the year would you find the Gulf water right around Eastern Lake discolored by lake water?

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    There's no real schedule or interval between breakouts. As I said before it can be several months between breakouts. Trust me, the Gulf will be as clear as crystal if you just wait a little while. The "beer colored" lake water is just a part of nature, so you have to accept the changes that nature brings.
    My mind tends to wander... but fortunately, it's so weak, it doesn't get very far...

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
    Thanks! Can you give me an idea of how many times a year the Eastern Lake overflows into the Gulf and how long the outfalls last? And after it stops streaming into the Gulf, does it trickle through the sand for a while carrying that lovely coffee color into the Gulf? If so, how long? What percentage of the year would you find the Gulf water right around Eastern Lake discolored by lake water?
    Maybe this will help

    http://www.ask8ball.net/

    Just kidding! It's Mother Nature at it's finest and as my mother used to tell me, "because I said so." If anyone tries to give you a definite answer on your questions, they are pulling your leg. For a natural opening, it depends on two factors, rainfall and storm events. Either the rainfall provides enough pressure to push through and create an opening, or the waves from a tropical event saturate the sand and it becomes like quicksand and the lake opens. No one can honestly predict the rain or tropical weather to the degree you are asking. Sorry...

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=BeachSiO2;771203]Maybe this will help

    http://www.ask8ball.net/

    This is EXACTLY what I've been looking for today.

    Question: Will my house on 30A flood today?
    Answer: Very Doubtfull


  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lake View Too View Post
    There's no real schedule or interval between breakouts. As I said before it can be several months between breakouts. Trust me, the Gulf will be as clear as crystal if you just wait a little while. The "beer colored" lake water is just a part of nature, so you have to accept the changes that nature brings.
    Thank you. When the rest of the Gulf along 30-A clears up, does the "beer colored" water linger in the Gulf within, say, 100 yards of where the breakout had been?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BeachSiO2 View Post
    No one can honestly predict the rain or tropical weather to the degree you are asking. Sorry...
    Yes, but anyone who regularly uses the beach near a dune lake inlet would know about how much of the year the Gulf water is tannin-stained right there. I'm hoping someone who knows will say either (1) the breakout shuts off like a faucet and the Gulf in front of it clears up within a day until the next breakout, or (2) the breakout gradually diminishes and the Gulf right in front of it stays brown for, on average, X weeks after the rest of 30-A is cleared up.

  19. #19
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    I would say the gulf might clear in less than a week, but it would vary on how stormy the gulf might be. Sometimes there might be murkiness in the gulf because of other factors, seaweed and storms. Perhaps what you are experiencing at Eastern Lake is because Deer Lake also broke out recently, which is very rare, and the water was probably extra "beer-colored". This convergence, along with the double break-out from Eastern Lake has caused what is generally called a "triple-whammy", in which case, we are all doomed, and we might as well all move to Ft. Lauderdale, where the water is brown all year round. ( I'm just joking.)
    My mind tends to wander... but fortunately, it's so weak, it doesn't get very far...

  20. #20
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    Are you asking because you are worried about it, or is it just curiousity?

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    I'm worried about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
    Thank you. When the rest of the Gulf along 30-A clears up, does the "beer colored" water linger in the Gulf within, say, 100 yards of where the breakout had been?
    Really?? Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach has a really nice pool. It stays the same 365 days a year, crystal clear.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
    I'm worried about it.
    No need. Our kids have grown up in these lakes having a blast. When the lake breaks open the kids get to go white water rafting on their boogie boards. Folks swim, kayak and paddle board in the lakes. They are a real treasure. Not to mention rare coastal lakes.
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  24. #24
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    I'm NOT worried about the water quality or safety for swimming. I like the dune lakes! But the appearance of the Gulf water adjacent to Eastern Lake matters to me, and if anyone can answer my specific questions, I'd appreciate it.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas View Post
    I'm NOT worried about the water quality or safety for swimming. I like the dune lakes! But the appearance of the Gulf water adjacent to Eastern Lake matters to me, and if anyone can answer my specific questions, I'd appreciate it.
    It's good you are not worried about the water quality, because it is just tannin from the lake water. And I understand how you feel, I think, because even though I know it is a natural process, and I have a lot of appreciation for the dune lakes and their natural processes, I do even so really dislike the look of it. But the thing is, nobody can really tell you more than what has been said already, because it is never the same. It just depends on the amount of rain we get whether the dune lakes open up and whether they stay open a short time or a bit longer. It's like the weather. We had a really warm winter and a cool and very wet summer. When will we have that again? Nobody knows. I will say though I have not seen it stay brown for weeks at a time. Unless the lake opens, closes right away, then we get a few days of deluges and it opens up again. See, that is how it is. Might be clear all summer long or brown off and on all summer long, or clear for all but a few days in any given summer.

  26. #26
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    Like NDY says, it depends. For a real answer someone would really need to have a daily monitoring record. I haven't heard yet of anyone that does, but its certainly possible.

    We have a place just east of Eastern Lake a couple of hundred yards. We rent it out and normally only get there four or five times a year in the off season. In the 10 years we've owned it, I only remember EL actually breaking out while we were there twice. Some of those times we visited it has been open for a while and it had an inflow at high tide and an outflow at low tide, most of those times it's been closed off completely. We consider being there when they break open especially lucky times as its been so rare for us and we like it.

    When it breaks through, whether you get colored water in front of you depends on the nearshore current at the time. Some times it flows west to east, some times east to west. I think the prevailing current is east to west, but we've been there when it was open and either only the area right in front of the outlet was brown or it was flowing east from us.

    I wonder about lake openings and closings mainly because I'm curious. If I were more curious I'd start a web site or maybe a topic on Sowal forums and solicit folks to send sightings of openings and dates so I could track it.

    If you run across anyone that can give you more specific information, please post as I'd be interested in hearing about it.

  27. #27
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    I live on Eastern Lake, and have observed Eastern Lake Inlet pretty much my whole life. It it a truly fascinating and ever-changing experience. It's somewhat like the weather, but in a much slower mode. I've seen it run way past Commodore's Retreat to the west, and I've seen it completely disappear after Dennis in '05. After Ivan in '04 it snaked way back east. If you were good at SoWal search, you might can gather postings of the breakouts, because someone usually mentions it. But for me, gathering too much scientific data on it might just spoil the mystique of this wonderful event. My two cents.
    My mind tends to wander... but fortunately, it's so weak, it doesn't get very far...

  28. #28
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    To some of the posters on this thread who were alarmed about the "coffee-colored" lake water, I must amend my statements about the water being "beer-colored". As of late, the water does seem almost "coffee-colored" (or maybe a dark porter or stout.) I've been around a long time and this is about as dark as I have ever seen it. I can only surmise that the incredible rainfall this last month or two contributed to the production of the tannin in the trees, and it is making its way to the coastal dune lakes and then out to sea. Mother Nature will bring things back into balance, probably without the help of the SoWal forum's attempts to understand her.
    Last edited by Lake View Too; 09-09-2012 at 05:03 PM.
    My mind tends to wander... but fortunately, it's so weak, it doesn't get very far...

  29. #29
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    The water everywhere here is so high- and the water table is not very deep, so after a month of rain, nothing is draining fast! The lakes are backed way up into swamps and creeks, and all that organic matter is now coming out with the draining water.

    We had a fine time swimming in the "coffee water" of the Western Lake outfall at Grayton today. A lifeguard posted red "no swim" flags at several rip current locations at Grayton, but that didn't stop several jackass dads from swimming with their toddler age children. Hard to relax when you see that!

  30. #30
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    yes, we enjoyed Grayton Beach (lake swimming only) yesterday morning for a few hours. There was a red flag, but a no swimming red flag on the beach near the water - I had not seen that before. Anyway, the lake and gulf were very dark, churning, beautiful. We had to keep the kids away from the outflow area where the lake empties into the Gulf - it was just a little scary.

    Almost no one was out while we were there because of rain that was happening everywhere BUT out on Grayton Beach. Nice to have it to ourselves.

    The looks of the water and weather and clouds yesterday was just mystical, beautiful, strange and yes - dark chocolatey!
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  31. #31
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    One more comment on the "chocolately beer" phenomena: the word "okaloosa" (as in, Okaloosa County) means "black water" in Choctaw Indian dialect, so this phenomena has been around a long time.
    My mind tends to wander... but fortunately, it's so weak, it doesn't get very far...

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Lake View Too View Post
    One more comment on the "chocolately beer" phenomena: the word "okaloosa" (as in, Okaloosa County) means "black water" in Choctaw Indian dialect, so this phenomena has been around a long time.
    Thanks for this historical information! We love the outflows; so unique. We were on the beach this afternoon at seagrove. Water was beautiful. So glad to be here. Lovely.

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