Here comes the orange tide

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Posted by jon on April 10, 2008 at 15:04:06:

From The Log:

Boaters Spot Orange Ooze in Ventura Harbor
By: Catherine French

Tests rule out oil and toxic pollutants; goo was a marine organism.

VENTURA HARBOR - About 7 a.m. April 2, a call came in to the Ventura Harbor Patrol regarding a strange orange substance seemingly contaminating harbor water. A liveaboard boater on ďIĒ Dock at Ventura Harbor Village Marina spotted the substance and made the call. The waterborne orange-colored swirl covered a large portion of the west side of Ventura Harbor.

Senior Ventura Harbor Patrol Officer Pat Hummer arrived on the scene with two other fellow officers and members of the Ventura Fire Department. "We got the call and came over to see what it was," Hummer explained. "We had no idea -- and neither did the fire department."

About two hours after the initial report, a hazardous materials team (HAZMAT) was called in to investigate further.

The thick, oily looking orange-colored substance created swirl patterns on top of the water, appearing to just sit on the waterís surface. Everyone -- including HAZMAT -- was stumped.

Later in the day, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) arrived on the scene to investigate the material. According to Harbormaster Scott Miller, until the test results were in, the general consensus was that the substance was nontoxic, nonflammable and most likely biological.

Later in the day, the DFG reported its lab test results: The orange material in the water was a single-cell marine organism that was reportedly not dangerous or harmful to humans or animals.

"Itís another type of algae bloom: one we havenít seen before," Miller said

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