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Date:  22 August 2018. Red Tide and Forest Fires.


Red Tide has been a serious concern on the west coast of Florida of late. South of Tampa Bay it is bad. The algae blooms cause what is known as Red Tide. These are not a new phenomenon however. There were Red Tides and the associated fish kills when I was a little girl too. They were a regularly occurring event to be tolerated or avoided when possible.

Red Tide is a type of algae. When the algae blooms excessively the concentration poisons fish, manatees and even turtles. They die. Contaminated critters including shellfish cannot be eaten. The toxins affect breathing in people too.

Red Tide is bad news for wildlife and people!

The red tide/algae bloom is currently south of Tampa. TAMPA BAY ↓ is on the west coast of Florida.


I suspect a portion of the current media attention is a direct result of the increased population of new-comers to the state. The health hazards from Red Tide are unfamiliar to new residents. As we move from agrarian to a more urban lifestyle, following the rhythms of nature is less important to many.


Fishermen and other watermen as a matter of safety follow the tides, watch the weather and learn patterns. In that world the older folks are a treasured resource.

Red Tides are a regular phenomenon here
in the warm waters along the Gulf coast.

The boaters I knew way back when were a more relaxed breed. We knew that if it were bad today in a couple weeks it would get better. And if not, those of us along the waterfront had options.

Old timers took red tide as part of life to be dealt with. Folks like us on boats could simply relocate.

There is always another anchorage a bit further up the coast.

The algae causing red tide blooms in warm salt water. The Gulf of Mexico
along the southwest Florida coast is an ideal location for such an event.

Of late I've had comments and questions regarding the red tides that are affecting areas south of here. The fires in the west cause concerns too. Therefore I bring those topics together here, under one article. Hopefully this will be of help to readers. Those that can contribute to the comments are encouraged to do so.

I like comments! That is a HINT in case you wondered.


Cap'n Sid wrote: "What is the deal I read about, your green and red tides? Are they really killing the fish in great numbers? We are having a scourge of smoke issues here. Blown down from British Columbia and up from California. Bad air not fit to breath, eyes burning, flu like feelings and I want to get out of here but no place to go. Is this because of global warming or are the Russians at it again? Stay safe, Sid."

My Reply: Regarding Red Tide, this has been around forever. Periodic fish kills are something I remember from my childhood aboard our boat. Red Tide is nothing new.

As for global warming, my school textbooks said an upcoming Ice Age was going to kill us all. Whenever someone talks doom and gloom I look to the money. Who profits from the scourge of the day?

The forest service stopped allowing naturally occurring burns, and that in my opinion has
created this mess. Quick burning flash fires burn off the underbrush. That is a good thing.


Then someone in a position of authority decided that the forest fires were dangerous. Fire prevention was the solution. That created another problem. When the underbrush was not allowed to burn off naturally, the accumulation became a raging inferno once lit.

Here in Florida flash fires cause the oak trees to drop their acorns. That causes more oak trees. No fires means more pine trees which choke out the oaks.

To make matters worse, the pitch aka sap from the pine trees is extremely flammable. When the pine sap fuels a forest fire, the heat often burns oak trees to the ground. Thus another old-grown forest area is lost.

Side Note: Campers and outdoorsmen know pine sap is excellent at keeping a fire going when your wood is damp.


Son and Baby with my Daddy following them up the dock. Daddy's barefoot, of course.

When my duo were young we began attending weekly Nature Walks at local parks in Fort Lauderdale.


Memory Lane: The whole oak tree/pine tree/fire hazard was described to my children and I during nature walks in Broward County (Fort Lauderdale, FL) some years ago. Back then every Friday and Saturday the Parks Division offered a two-hour guided tour of a park. We went on Friday because park entrance was free.

Weekends the parks charged admission fees. My kids and I learned a lot and had a good time doing so. The guided walks were from 9 to 11 in the morning. We went every Friday for years. I would pack a lunch for the kids and I. After eating we would explore and play.

I remember a Broward County Parks Division naturalist named Julie. In a former life Julie was a high school science teacher. She led the nature walks, sharing her love of the park ecosystems. Julie was fond of the more remote areas of parks, off the official trails. This fascinating guide is the one who explained how important fires are, provided they happen frequently enough to burn off the underbrush. That is what keeps the woodland creatures safe.

It was a great time of my life. I loved being The Mom.




When I was quite young I remember there being terrible fires (possibly in the Carolinas?) one year when my folks and I were heading south in the *Atlantic ICW  aboard our 40 sedan trawler. We ended up going off-shore to avoid the problem area. This was 50+ years ago, so my location may be off.

*The Atlantic Intra-Coastal Waterway is a series of interlocking rivers and canals that follow the eastern seaboard of the United States. Also called the Ditch.

We went off-shore, heading south in the Atlantic Ocean to avoid the smoke.


Much the same was done when we'd run into Red Tide. It's a warm salt water phenomenon. Red Tide algae blooms have been around longer than we have.

There is a freedom with having a way to escape. That is what our boats offer. My Seaweed provides a level of decadence along with a means of travel. Life does not get any better.

Boating is for the traveler like Travis who
wants to go places, and have his stuff too.

↑ Travis →



Cap'n David said: "To continue the red tide discussion, Mote Marine on City Island between St. Armands and Longboat Keys near Sarasota, has experimented with adding ozone to the water to kill the algae that causes red tide with good results in their open tanks. They are now testing the process in some of the canals around Sarasota. My concern is that at the 300 gallons a minute they can treat, there are millions of gallons that need to be treated-but it's a start! Stay tuned. Btw, if you ever get the chance EVERYONE needs to visit Mote Marine lab. Cheers, Captn David on SURVIVOR"

My Reply to Cap'n David: Mote Marine Laboratory may have something. Daddy used to say dead water could be rejuvenated. The canal behind my house in south Florida was icky. The bottom was muddy too.

Daddy said to bring the canal water back to life all I would have to do is aerate it. He claimed a bubbler would do the job.

I hope Mote's Lab has success.

Link to Mote


The Mote Aquarium is located at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL  34236. Phone 941-388-4441.
It is open every day including all holidays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Website: http://mote.org

Thank you Cap'n David for the great information on a cool place to visit. I wandered around the Mote website and am excited. This is definitely a place I could spend a day or two with ease. Thanks again for your comment on the
Beckson Plate Fix article.

This article is a direct result of the posts Cap'n David and Cap'n Sid made. I appreciate so much comments. They really do keep me writing.

To one and all, thank you for reading.

Have you ever experienced Red Tides previously? Now?
And, are you being impacted by either Red Tides or the fires/smoke?

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