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Don't know what to do! I'm reading the water is brown?

ny
Level Contributor
240 posts
Don't know what to do! I'm reading the water is brown?

Please,help I was all set to bring my family to sanibel next week...now I'm reading the water is brown murky and smells. Has ANYONE been there recently? Where can we go where the water is clear as seen on videos...

Philadelphia...
Level Contributor
3,160 posts
40 reviews
1. Re: Don't know what to do! I'm reading the water is brown?

I have tried to find out the same thing, but, we are going no matter what. We want to shell, take bike rides, eat, etc.

Birmingham, Alabama
Level Contributor
2,494 posts
80 reviews
2. Re: Don't know what to do! I'm reading the water is brown?

There is a very recent water clarity post that has links to webcams that you can look at. The water looked fine right now. As stated in the post, water clarity on some parts of the island is often worse than others, especially down by the lighthouse. The water on Sanibel is usually quite murky however compared to the places like Miami so don't expect clear water. This does not affect shelling or swimming. Sanibel has some of the best shelling in the world.

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
38,173 posts
11 reviews
3. Re: Don't know what to do! I'm reading the water is brown?

There's no red tide, and I haven't seen any reports of Lake Okeechobee releases, so I don't know why the water would be brown or murky.

Certainly no health advisories posted -- they'd spread here on the forum like wildfire.

Level Contributor
319 posts
5 reviews
4. Re: Don't know what to do! I'm reading the water is brown?

We arrived in Sanibel Saturday (9/23) and have been swimming in the Gulf every day (the water is so warm it feels fantastic...not too warm...just right).

We noticed someone asked if the water had a "smell"...so each day we've been smelling the water while swimming and can not smell anything. We both have an excellent sense of smell.

There is no smell on Sanibel.

We are on vacation here for the next 2 weeks. If this changes and there is a bad smell we will post an update here.

Come on down!

Fall is our favorite time of year to vacation on Sanibel.

Orlando
Level Contributor
11,755 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: Don't know what to do! I'm reading the water is brown?

The ONLY places you will find water that is clear is South Florida from Palm Beach County and south through Miami and (if conditions are right) in the Panhandle.

Sanibel is great, but if clear water is what you have to have, go to one of the other places or fly to Mexico, Grand Cayman, or Aruba.

Level Contributor
319 posts
5 reviews
6. Re: Don't know what to do! I'm reading the water is brown?

We forgot to include this information in our post....

Here is a live beach web camera of Sanibel:

https:/…

We'll be swimming and waving to the camera soon!

:)

Orlando
Level Contributor
11,755 posts
2 reviews
7. Re: Don't know what to do! I'm reading the water is brown?

Also, if that is what is a requirement, you probably should be looking for an undamaged island in the Caribbean instead of spending weeks and weeks on the various Gulf forums.

The short version: In Pinellas County, you can see you feet in chest deep water if it is clear. The others that are clear are mentioned above. Most others are not. Period

Sanibel Island...
Level Contributor
2,151 posts
21 reviews
8. Re: Don't know what to do! I'm reading the water is brown?

Melissa,

I can understand your concern. The reality is the area had a huge amount of rainfall in late August causing flooding and runoff from local rivers that eventually enters San Carlos Bay. Throw in Hurricane Irma at the beginning of September and that freshwater moved even further into the Gulf of Mexico. San Carlos Bay always looks brackish due to tannins in the mangroves (think tea leaves!).

While Lake O had only been releasing water east prior to Irma, high water levels forced the Corps of Engineers to release water to the west starting Sept. 15 - adding more to the freshwater (brown) plume that you can see on the link below.

Conditions change daily depending on wind, tides, additional rainfall. The area most impacted is San Carlos Bay and the Lighthouse area. Typically as you get further west/north, water conditions improve dramatically.

The thing to know is that the water is tested weekly and if there are any harmful results, beaches will be posted with advisories. That has not happened on Sanibel. As far as smell, a heckuva lot of mollusks and sealife washed ashore during and after Irma. Sanibel typically allows its beaches to be cleaned by Mother Nature so what is left there is there to stay until...well Mother Nature takes care of it!

And as others have said, Sanibel waters are never the crystal clear Caribbean water you see on ads. There is a lot of sand and crushed shells mixed in the water due to the island's orientation. Which also makes Sanibel the amazing shelling spot.

https:/…index.html

United States
Level Contributor
42 posts
3 reviews
9. Re: Don't know what to do! I'm reading the water is brown?

Just spend 7 days on Sanibel. Left today 9/26. The water at lighthouse beach was off color for sure. The water on tarpon bay beach was hit and miss. Somedays a little brown, and other days not too bad. At Bowman's Beach and Blind Pass the water was terrific! Very clear and blue. Shelling and surf fishing was awesome! Definitely worth a short car ride to hit Bowman's.

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
38,173 posts
11 reviews
10. Re: Don't know what to do! I'm reading the water is brown?

Please also understand that brown water is not necessarily dirty water.

When the waters rise and surround tree roots, the tannins and colorings from the tree bark leaches into the water -- EXACTLY the same reason why tea and coffee are brown -- it's tannins from vegetable matter being dissolved into the water.

After heavy rains, the water coming off the land mass has been steeped on the tree roots that it collected around, and it is brown -- but it doesn't automatically mean that it's contaminated in any way.

I get the feeling that Melissa has a very idealistic view of what Florida really is, and that shes setting herself up to be disappointed because there really isn't anywhere that has all the things that she's set up to expect.

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