Strange Orange Object Found On Cape May Beach

Living at the beach you sometimes find yourself staring at something you haven’t seen before.

As storms roll in and out of our area we sometimes see things wash up on shore that are found deeper out to sea.

Yesterday Sue Furler posted an interesting picture in the Cool Cape May Facebook group.

In the photo, she said “Looking for help identifying the orange species in this photo.  Found on beach at Cape May Point after the last storm.”

The object in question, which you can see below, looks like a tree branch that was spray-painted orange.

If you look closer you can see that this object is hard and the orange parts look like coral.

Strange Orange Object Found On Cape May Beach

Strange Orange Object Found On Cape May Beach

Wanting to learn everything that we could about this object we took to google.

This thing is called an Orange Sea Whip.

According to Britannica, the Orange sea whip is a “genera of corals of the order Gorgonacea, characterized by a long, whiplike growth and a variety of bright colors.”

The “whip” consists of a colony of tiny polyps that grow upon one another in a continuous single stem. These polyps form with a mouth and eight tentacles at the upper end. (this is the end that is closest to the top).

These are a common structural component of both natural and artificial hard-bottom reef habitats in the mid-Atlantic region. Whip coral can grow to three feet tall and vary in color from yellow all the way to deep purple.

The reason why we normally don’t see them is that they are mostly found on the coastal shelves from the Chesapeake Bay south to the Gulf of Mexico.

More than likely this one was a few miles out to sea and was loosened by a storm. This said storm may have pushed it into the land.

Below is a video that talks about the sea whip.

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