Slimy, little creatures at beach

August 6, 2009 3:55:01 PM PDT
Down at the shore, many beachgoers are feeling something slimy on their feet and the question everyone's asking is "what are those things?"Heaven knows we are used to all kinds of things washing up on beach in New Jersey, but this week, folks along the Cape May County shoreline are talking about unusual, slimy little creatures that have come from the sea.

"They are pretty disgusting cause they're like slimy and absolutely disgusting," Jack McCarthy of Stone Harbor, New Jersey.

"I thought they were little jellys. I thought that's what they are. I don't know, but they are very slick, we slid on them," Isabel Hefferman of Allentown, Pennsylvania said

"People have been complaining. They've been asking the lifeguards and they've been asking our inspectors all day about these," beach tag supervisor Mike Voll said.

There are thousands of them along the water line, causing beach tags inspectors in Stone Harbor to think twice about going barefoot.

"Because they are so tiny and mushy, sometimes they get stuck to the bottom of your feet. Some will get stuck in between your toes," beach tag inspector Katie Bainbridge said.

The little blobs are actually called salp, small free floating aquatic creatures that show up every now and then.

Salps look like jellyfish but they are not and the good news for swimmers is even if they are kind of gross in the water, they don't sting.

"When they float in the water, they sort of swim together and they make actually like a sheet of salps. So you literally kind of have to push them out of your way, if you don't want them to get in your mouth or your eyes," Lt. Zach Campbell of the Stone Harbor Beach Patrol said.

"You can also swim right through it and you can feel it. It gets on your legs and your body. My daughter was bodysurfing and said, 'Mom I've got some in my bathing suit,'" Mary Heffernan of Weston, Connecticut said.

They're a major curiosity. The kids are all checking them out and speaking of checking everyone's hoping the salps will disappear as quickly as they came.