We went to the beach on our first day here in Venice, but I have not been back since then. I started coughing right away, as soon as my feet hit the sand, and I knew that red tide was the culprit. I was right. According to the paper, this has been the largest outbreak of red tide since 2007. The bloom is affecting a hundred miles of west Florida coastline and killing thousands of fish. Seven tons of dead fish have been cleared off area beaches in the past two days. Mike went for a look. Caspersen Beach is a designated rural beach and they tend to leave it to the forces of nature a bit more than the better known and more ‘civilized’ beaches like Venice Beach and Nokomis Beach. North of us in Sarasota, the beach on Siesta Key, is just out of the range of this red tide bloom. I expect the turkey buzzards will be taking over Caspersen in a few weeks. From today’s Herald Tribune:
"It is a pretty big red tide bloom. If we look at the linear distance along the coast, we're looking at nearly 100 miles," said Alina Corcoran, a research scientist in charge of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service's harmful algal bloom program. "It doesn't look like it's going away any time soon." Florida red tide blooms are caused by single cell algae called Karenia brevis. The algae occur naturally at very low levels, usually about 30 miles offshore. Often during the fall, ocean currents transport the red tide to the coast and if conditions are right, the cells proliferate into a toxic bloom. Scientists are still unsure about what causes the blooms. Corcoran said they usually originate about 30 to 40 miles offshore and occasionally get drawn toward the coast by ocean and wind currents. Once the algae reach the coastline they will feast on any nutrient source available, such as the nitrogen and phosphorus found in fertilizers.Besides the stench of dead fish, the toxins in the air cause breathing problems for people and animals. Those with respiratory problems are warned to stay away from the beaches. You won’t have to tell me twice. I won’t be returning to Vermont with my usual bag of shells, but I have been enjoying our park pool. WARNING: The following are not pretty. Can you imagine walking on this beach?
Can you see the teeth on this moray eel? These things are in the water. I have decided I really like the clean, clear water of the pool.