The more we look at the forum, the more questions we come up with. Most of you have mentioned the non-swimability because of the sea grass. Can someone explain why this would be a problem? And what about sea lice?
Define "non-swimability". I swim off the beach all the time, walk on sea grass in bare feet when I'm fly-fishing or when I'm walking a windsurfer out off the beach. In the 2.5 years I've been on the island I've only cut my foot twice, both times in sand and both times while stepping off a windsurfer onto a broken piece of Conch.
The only thing wrong with sea grass is it feels "yucky" to some people, mainly those who worry about "nasty" things biting their feet.
There are those out there who are going to say it's too shallow to swim over the sea grass, if you find that to be the case walk up or down the beach a few hundred yards and you'll find a spot deep enough to swim.
The only caution about swimming is to not swim past the end of the dock in high boat traffic areas and even in low traffic areas keep a close watch out and don't stray too far from the end of the dock. A personal dive flag float towed behind is a great idea when snorkeling off the beach.
Sea lice or Pica Pica as it's called here is uncomfortable during the season but it won't kill you so for me it comes under the "suck it up category". I have about 5 spots of it right now and you just live with it. Even my friends who are DM's don't stop diving just because they itch a bit, and I've seen some good cases on them.
Bugs in your drink? Protein! (and occasionally tasty.) Throw caution to the wind, be adventurous and don't let a case of the willys interfere with enjoying the greatest place on earth.
You get sea grass on AC because of the reef from what I understand. Some places rake it up to make the beach area more pleasant. But from a pier swimming is just fine, can even do some snorkeling, some have sunken pots to attract fishes. During April/May there can be Pica Pica, not sea lice, but teeny tiny oganisms that can get in your suit and cause a rash. Have only seen one post about someone getting it so far this year, but we bring Safe Sea lotion just in case. Do a search on Pica Pica if you want to find out more.
Thanks SimonB for your explicit info. Thanks P&R, thanks crockhunter, too. Is there a particuler time of the year the Pica Pica is a problem? And what about mosquitos? We'll be there in December for two weeks.
December mosquitoes depend on how much rain we've had and what direction the wind is blowing. Little rain and a decent breeze from the East keeps them away, lots of rain and Northwest breezes or no breeze brings them in. A little repellent on the ankles is usually good enough to keep them at bay (they love to hang out under tables.)
Pica Pica usually starts in April and goes through May into June but it did arrive a bit early this year, sometime around the 1st week of March. I haven't seen any major outbreaks yet.
it makes me kind of paranoid about going in the water. I met a women once down in the riveria maya and she was so stung she had huge welts all over her body and was in severe pain when trying to use the bathroom. she was unable to put clothes on for the rest of her trip and the Drs there couldn't do anything for her. It freaked us out but seemed like a very rare thing. How common is it? We're going with 2 young kids at the end of this month which is my main concern.