Enny Greenlife was happy that it was lastly heat sufficient to go barefoot when she and her husband took common walks on York Seashore in South Maine this week.
However once they returned to their seaside chairs and commenced clearing the sand from their toes, they observed that their normally pale soles had been deep black.
“I’ve by no means seen something prefer it,” stated Greenleaf, a e-book designer and artist. “It was as if I used to be passing via coal.”
They took a bathe at house, cleaned their toes, however the dust, which was neither brittle nor greasy, would solely come out partially.
Alongside the south coast of Maine, as in southern New Hampshire, many others struggled to eliminate darkish spots on their toes.
“I nonetheless cannot take it off,” stated Keira O’Donnell, who had black legs on Sunday when she visited New Hampshire’s Nice Island Frequent Seashore, about 14 miles south of York Seashore.
Robin Koger, director of York Parks & Recreation, says he despatched about 100 name letters about his painted legs this week. Related messages on social media got here from the far south Gloucester, Massachusetts և Greater than 70 miles north of Maine, Wales.
There have been many theories. Ga rims և oil had been commonplace. “Sand in Hawaii will be blackened by volcanic gasoline, however no volcanoes in Maine, so it is in all probability one thing tough,” the person wrote on an area Fb group.
Mrs. Greenleaf had an edge concept that even her personal husband mocked, together with a submarine she had seen within the space.
“Possibly that submarine polluted the cloud of indecency,” he stated.
On Wednesday, Brit Im Britt, a spokeswoman for the Maine Division of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, supplied a dependable reply. Thousands and thousands of tiny cabbage flies that feed on perishable algae appear to have died on a stretch of seaside.
“It’s not recognized why,” he stated. “Nature does loopy issues. This may very well be a type of circumstances. “
He stated the carcasses of the bugs, which gave the impression to be ashore, contained a pure pigment.
Orts had been taken to discover a particular algae fly, which also needs to assist reply the place they got here from. “Regardless, harassment doesn’t trigger any well being issues,” stated Mr Britt.
He couldn’t reply whether or not it might be dangerous for canine to eat them, a query some individuals requested on social media.
Linda Statoplos, a Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Retirement Officer, performed her personal unofficial examination of South Maine Wales seaside sand on Tuesday, gathering a pattern and taking a look at it below a microscope.
“There have been a ton of small bugs, in regards to the measurement of a pin,” he stated. Some had two! The others had 4. “They had been undoubtedly useless.”
He didn’t keep in mind ever listening to of a mass “demise” like a fly.
Nor might Joseph O’Sullivan, a marine geologist on the College of Maine. “I’ve labored on seaside geology for 40 years on the coast of Maine; I’ve by no means seen (or heard of) something like this,” he stated in an electronic mail.
On Fb, seashores with relaxed toes marked all of the methods wherein they tried to take away the stain. Neither dish cleaning soap nor child wipes had been notably profitable.
Throughout an additional stroll, Mrs. Greenlife inadvertently found a foot cleaning resolution. She and her husband returned to the seaside after the rain to search out traces. Though the search was fruitless, on the finish of their stroll the sand and stones scattered the spots.
“Our toes had been spotless,” he stated.