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What Is All Over our Beaches? #431361
02/25/12 10:08 AM
02/25/12 10:08 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 62,088
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

You may have noticed a serious amount of seaweed covering the beach and even the shallow water for the past month. It is worse than I have seen since I've been here.

It's a strange and relatively unexplained phemonenon that has been plaguing much of the Eastern Carribbean since late last year. And it comes from an area near the Bermuda triangle.

The Sargasso Sea is an area in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean surrounded by ocean currents. The gulf stream and various currents are its "shores" and it is a swirling mass of sea weed and all of the trash (called the "Great North American Garbage Patch") that the currents carry. It's also home to the seaweed called sargasso that rises to the surface in huge has been called a floating city. It's not just a bad sea turtles use this area and the seaweed cover for protection so they can grow big and strong.

Starting last summer and fall islands like Anguilla and St. Marteen and as far south as Tobago have been reporting sargasso seaweed washing up on their shores in amounts never seen before. There is a very interesting NY Times Article about the build up in that Caribbean area and how an upscale resort closed for a month or two when the seaweed was washing up by the ton. (Check out some pictures in Antigua from a local blogger: WOW Sargasso. She also talks about how the giant rafts of weed are bringing in smaller, not normal native animals). Belize is not nearly so bad but it is worse than it has been in recent history.

Why is it moving all across the Caribbean as far south as Belize? No one really seems to know...

But beach staff in San Pedro are working a daily battle to clean up this stuff. So far, most hotels and resorts are able to keep their beaches relatively clean...let's hope it doesn't get any worse.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos on San Pedro Scoop

Re: What Is All Over our Beaches? [Re: Marty] #431439
02/26/12 09:13 AM
02/26/12 09:13 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 12,544
San Pedro Belize
elbert Offline
elbert  Offline
Sargasso Sea
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Sargasso Sea (disambiguation).
The Sargasso Sea is a region in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ocean currents. It is bounded on the west by the Gulf Stream; on the north, by the North Atlantic Current; on the east, by the Canary Current; and on the south, by the North Atlantic Equatorial Current. This system of currents forms the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre. All the currents deposit the marine plants and garbage they carry into this sea.
The Sargasso Sea is 700 statute miles wide and 2,000 statute miles long (1,100 km wide and 3,200 km long). It stretches from roughly 70 degrees west to 40 degrees west, and from 20 degrees north to 35 degrees north. Bermuda is near the western fringes of the sea. The Sargasso Sea is the only "sea" without shores.[1] The ocean water in the Sargasso Sea is distinctive for its deep blue color and exceptional clarity, with underwater visibility of up to 200 feet (61 m).[2]

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Re: What Is All Over our Beaches? [Re: Marty] #431440
02/26/12 09:15 AM
02/26/12 09:15 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 12,544
San Pedro Belize
elbert Offline
elbert  Offline
Usually in march the winds and currents vary a little and the sargassa escapes the sea and drifts ashore.

White Sands Dive Shops Daily Blog
Re: What Is All Over our Beaches? [Re: Marty] #431441
02/26/12 09:21 AM
02/26/12 09:21 AM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 914
San Antonio TX and Seine Bight...
ckocian Offline
ckocian  Offline
If you'll examine closely a piece of floating sargasso weed by picking it up and looking closely, you might find tiny shrimps and seashorses that reside therein.

Re: What Is All Over our Beaches? [Re: ckocian] #431442
02/26/12 09:29 AM
02/26/12 09:29 AM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,206
Ambergris caye
SnoopysMom Offline
SnoopysMom  Offline
As stinky as it is, this is great stuff! Hopefully, the resorts are using it in their gardening or digging a hole and burying it right on the beach (have seen resorts do this in Mexico, but never here....)

Re: What Is All Over our Beaches? [Re: Marty] #431443
02/26/12 09:32 AM
02/26/12 09:32 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 12,544
San Pedro Belize
elbert Offline
elbert  Offline
We do up North and it gives back some great sand.

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Re: What Is All Over our Beaches? [Re: elbert] #431444
02/26/12 09:54 AM
02/26/12 09:54 AM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,520
PACWest, SACSouth
Bear Offline
Bear  Offline
offshore the paddies make for some great fishing, the original FAD's...

Re: What Is All Over our Beaches? [Re: Marty] #431445
02/26/12 10:19 AM
02/26/12 10:19 AM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 6,064
San Pedro AC Belize
Diane Campbell Offline
Diane Campbell  Offline
The stuff we got is also infused with trash of every kind.
I found two plastic car bumpers yesterday. The small flakes of trash are the worst - it's really hard to get all of them out.
Please - all of you who read this and who take walks on the beach - could you take a little grocery bag with you and pick up one bag full each time you walk. If we all do this we can make a big dent in the trash.
I hate looking at it - you hate looking at it - and unfortunately our tourists get the impression that it's always like this (which it's not) and that we don't care.
I care - I hope you do too. I've been picking up trash by the bagfull and will continue to do so. The team at Indigo often cleans a full mile of beach, but this time its way more than this volunteer effort can handle. It is depressing to hear nearby residents complain about it and not do anything. If you can't or won't do it yourself, can you kindly ask your caretaker to take a day off from raking your yard or pruning your palms, and instead walk up the beach with a bag and collect plastic. The idea that you only clean in front of your place is ridiculous. The beach belongs to all of us and we need to take suitable responsibility for it.

Re: What Is All Over our Beaches? [Re: Diane Campbell] #431459
02/26/12 01:26 PM
02/26/12 01:26 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 834
Wandering the USA
BeBelize Offline
BeBelize  Offline
Excellent post, Diane!

Agree completely, but it's a never-ending job. We cleaned up all the plastic from a fairly long stretch of unmaintained beach north of where we live twice, and within a week, it looked like we had never done anything. We've been traveling lately so have had no time to clean it again, and it is now probably twice as bad as before we cleaned it the first time. It's frustrating when our efforts don't even make a dent in the problem.... frown

Former Belize expat traveling the USA & Mexico
Re: What Is All Over our Beaches? [Re: Marty] #431461
02/26/12 02:53 PM
02/26/12 02:53 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 12,544
San Pedro Belize
elbert Offline
elbert  Offline
OK since we're on the subject, sea grass/sargassa is wonderful stuff for gardening , fill, fertilizer, it helps with tons of stuff and has a multitude of useful purposes...but, and you knew that was coming, The plastic in it is tricky. What you will discover as you put it in your yard or garden is that as it dries it shrinks to about 20% of its volume and then releases all the plastic garbage that is hidden in it. You'll think you picked it all out before you spread it all over your property but then you have plastic everywhere a real nasty mess of everything from bottle caps to syringes. Be forewarned :-)

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