I love a good day at the beach: the sun, the sand, the waves, the smell - ugh, what is that smell??

Video from Orange Beach today shows what must be acres and acres and tons and tons of a type of seaweed that has washed up on the shore.

This seaweed isn't just an obstacle as you are trying to get into the surf, but it brings a distinct aroma to the area.

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It's called Sargassum and, according to Wikipedia, it is a type of seaweed. It's algae, actually, and when algae begin to die and decompose, they produce an odor. A stench, if you will.

The gas given off when the algae decompose is hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen sulfide smells like rotting eggs. Perfect for the beach, right?

The seaweed doesn't only serve as beach potpourri, it also serves a very important role in the overall ecology of the ocean.

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The seaweed provides cover for organisms, from micro-organisms to shrimp and crabs to larger fish like marlin and tuna.

It also provides a safe place for several species to lay their eggs.

So, will this Sargassum seaweed hurt you? Actually, it could.

According to the FloridaHealth website from the State of Florida, the seaweed itself can't hurt you, but some of the organisms that live in the seaweed can aggravate or irritate the skin.

The website also says that some people who have breathing issues may be affected by the gases rotting Sargassum gives off, so take that into consideration before heading down to the beach.

The seaweed could also harbor jellyfish and, if you've ever been in the presence of a jellyfish, you know that it could turn ugly. Quick.

Photo by Isaiah Bekkers on Unsplash
Photo by Isaiah Bekkers on Unsplash
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For anyone who has come into contact with a Portuguese Man O'War, you know what I am talking about. Though rarely deadly to humans, the venom that a Portuguese Man O'War puts out will make you wish that you had never seen the ocean in your life. But just for a little while.

So, let this serve as an advanced warning: the beaches on the Gulf Coast this week might not be in the condition to which you are accustomed.

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