Big storms churn up the ocean, and the proteins in that vast soup of life. Sometimes the churning and whipping creates a mass of froth on the surface -- sometimes a LOT of froth.
That was the case in Sydney, Australia last August, as documented by photographer Bill Counsell. You can read the story about the day the shoreline became the "Cappuccino Coast," and see a couple more photos. For classroom teachers, here's a way students can make ocean foam and learn how it forms.
(The short answer: Just as with meringue, milkshakes and a good cappuccino, molecules in water -- chiefly fat and proteins -- become foamy when they're churned up with air bubbles. In the ocean, those molecules come from algae and animals, as well as ocean salts.)
In Sydney, 12-year-old Tom Woods, emerging from the wall of foam, got first-hand experience. He's been a surfer since he was two, but riding a wave was out of the question.
“Me and my mates just spent the afternoon leaping about in that stuff,” told the Daily Mail newspaper. “It was quite cool to touch and it was really weird. It was like clouds of air - you could hardly feel it."