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Red Tide Algae

mpls
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Red Tide Algae

What is the real truth about the algae? We have been told by several agencies and condo owners that there is not any problems......yet so many other reports say otherwise. Is there algae on the beaches of Sanibel?and how much? We need to find out because our son is allergic. Thank you

Sanibel
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1. Re: Red Tide Algae

Yes and no.

Red drift algae accumulates at various places on seven miles of beaches and not in other places. It tends to be more of visual and aromatic problem, not the sort of thing most people are allergic to.

Red tide, which is the phenomenon that cause respiratory problems for some people, is not a problem - today.

On any given day, either of the activities can show up.

Two places to look for more info are mysanibel.com, the City site, or Lee County Health Department, the organization that polices beach conditions. The latter you will have to Google or Yahoo.

Sanibel
7 posts
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2. Re: Red Tide Algae

Yes and no.

Red drift algae accumulates at various places on seven miles of beaches and not in other places. It tends to be more of visual and aromatic problem, not the sort of thing most people are allergic to.

Red tide, which is the phenomenon that cause respiratory problems for some people, is not a problem - today.

On any given day, either of the activities can show up.

Two places to look for more info are mysanibel.com, the City site, or Lee County Health Department, the organization that polices beach conditions. The latter you will have to Google or Yahoo.

Sanibel, FL
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927 posts
24 reviews
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3. Re: Red Tide Algae

The truth about algae is that the situation changes day to day. The East end of the Island seems to have the most algae and the biggest problem. The west end has very little and Captiva has none (at this time). The West End beaches have been good for a few weeks. I was personally out on the beach last week - a bit of algae here and there ....not much. I have been on Sanibel for years and have seen it before I knew what it was called. The weather has been really windy the last couple of days, lets hope it has been taken out . Keep in touch with whoever you have rented from or watch the websites that post beach conditions.

Sanibel Island...
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4. Re: Red Tide Algae

The algea your son would be allergic to is red tide and that has not been present in many months.

The red algea that is on the beach is drift algea but most people would call it "seaweed". It does not generally cause allergic reactions.

I was at Pointe Santo yesterday and there was a small line of it at the tidal water line and some in the water at the edge as well but not tto much and no smell at all. Seaweeds are a fact of life; we don't often see it in a resort because it's raked daily.

Sanibel is consdiereing letting indivual properties rake so we'll see.

The Bakery
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5. Re: Red Tide Algae

Red drift algae is algae, NOT seaweed. It grows in a weedy like form, but it is still an algae. Because of its ragged texture it can form rafts and float on the surface of the Gulf and then will wash ashore. It can be foul smelling and when it breaks down in the water it will raise bacteria counts. On occasion the City of Sanibel will post NO Swimming warnings when this is happening.

Depending on the size - width - of the algae band many folks wade thru and swim in the open waters beyond. If the band is more than a foot wide, I'd be inclined to find a different beach where there's less algae.

Unlike red tide, a different organism that appears as a reddish stain on the water at medium to high concentrations, red drift algae is not much of a health threat. It can stink when rotting on shore or on the water and like any rotting organic material it releases bacteria when decomposing, so it's not something you want to swim around. The fresh stuff in small amounts is fairly common and is more of a nuisance than anything. In large amounts it's nasty.

Since it comes and goes with the tides and the reports I've seen indicate there are larger than normal beds NORTH of Sanibel, it seems the northerly winds that the islands get in the winter that wash so many shells up is now ripping the algae free and washing it up instead. Just like the deposits of shells, the volume of algae will vary by day. Since it floats it will wash out again, but often is right back.

For now, stay as far north as possible as the water is carrying the algae to the east and south beach areas of Sanibel. Captiva would be best for clear water and beaches. Shelling has been poor to date this season. This may be due to the repeated outbreaks of red tide over the summer. Red tide is currently gone from all Sanibel and Captiva beaches according to official reports, but low and very low levels lingered this year.

About the only constant I've seen in various reports on beach conditions is from about Tarpon Bay Road access [Pointe Santo] to Lighthouse Beach [southeast end of the island] the beaches are impacted to varying degrees day by day. Call West Wind Inn and see what they say as they have effectively the most northwest position on West Gulf Drive. If it's bad there keep going and ask at Blind Pass Condos [call the condo rental association], Tropical Winds and then Castaways. Don't bother with Sunset Beach as there 800 number is answered in Canada.

Sanibel Island...
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6. Re: Red Tide Algae

Hi Tourmaline,

I know that drift algea is algea, I was simply describing what the casual visitor might expect to find on the beaches. When I think of "algea" on the beach I envision a slimey, gooey sludge. This is not the case.. Most people who would see red drift algea who don't know what it is would think it red "seaweed". Wrong but a valid description.

I for one would like to call it that so as to reduce the confusion about red drift algea and red tide.

Maui.... wowee!

The Bakery
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7. Re: Red Tide Algae

Actually MSC, when red drift algae decomposes it can get like a sludge. No question it looks like stringy seaweed, and yes folks do confuse the two to some extent, but I think calling it 'seaweed' makes it seem more innocuous and natural than it is. More than one person on this forum has made a statement about it being 'edible' because they really believe it IS seaweed, not algae. [One went one at some length about it too! I almost had heart failure.] That's the reason I make sure folks understand exactly what it is - an algae that has a weedy appearance. Not a normal seaweed and certainly NOT edible.

Maui is a LOT more built up since I was last here 16 years ago, but I went to Kaanapali yesterday and it looked just as it did years ago. But between there and what used to be the Embassy Suites I counted 6 large cranes. It was like a big construction site all the way from Black Rock to the Embassy. A few 'new' condos were already built along what used to be an empty stretch of beach. Man, what a lot of condos!

Sanibel Island...
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8. Re: Red Tide Algae

We honeymooned there in 1984 at the Sheraton- the place where they dive off the cliff at sunset. Lovely then. Hope they can keep it that way. The only condos we saw at that time were on northern Kawai at Princeville.

Anyway, the seaweedly-looking but certainly not edible RDA was fairly minimal yesterday.

Hey, why don't we start another strand about it? There's only three right now.

Seriously, it is a problem but hopefully as with Charley the city will come around and do something to address it in a way that still preserves the ecology. Since it is probably a man-made event I would position it as similar to combating invasive plants and animals which the city has already done.

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: Red Tide Algae

A little Maui talk within the Sanibel Lovers forum...hope nobody minds much.

We, too, stayed at the Sheraton in 1984. Beautiful restaurant right on top of Black Rock from which we could see migrating whales (moms and babies). One of my sons did his open water dive certification with the resort divemaster. Lovely sail and dive trip on the catamaran, SeaSmoke.

Tourmaline, will you get up to the Kapalua Bay area during your visit? I hope that is not also becoming overbuilt. I seem to recall mile upon mile of sugar cane plantations on the island. Wonder how long it could be until Maui may begin to experience some of what Sanibel is having to contend with.

mpls
14 posts
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10. Re: Red Tide Algae

Maybe We should go to Maui instead........The Resorts,agencies and some condo owners have all said it has been gone for some time now???????? The city of Sanibel reports no problems....... it seems like the subject changes when this question arises.Has anyone been on the beach today that can give an unbiased report, who is not an agent,owner,or not in Hawaii? Thanks so much!