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Date: 13 November 2018. Red Tide Miracles.


A couple I know in California (hi Renee and Walt) asked how I was doing. Having dodged the Hurricane Michael bullet, Skipper and I were not so successful with the red tide invasion. It is indeed impacting my life. There are however unsung heroes, and today I will tell you about some of them.


Red Tide is on both coasts of Florida.

Seeing dead fish is sad. Similar fish kills
have taken place ever since I was a little girl.

This was the first dead fish I saw. It is a young catfish.


Memory Lane: I remember a fish kill when I was quite young. It got so cold the mullet floated to the surface in great schools. There was another boat with a kid nearby. He and I had a dead fish battle -- throwing them at each other. For some reason we must have thought this was a Good Idea.

For those of you in the north who think snow-ball
fights are awful, well, it could be MUCH WORSE.

My friend Cheryl is closer to John's Pass inlet and she is seeing schools of dead fish.

JOHN'S PASS is north of the main channel into Tampa Bay.

With red tide so prevalent, I have not gone anyplace in at least three months. Any exertion causes some breathing difficulties. I am seriously getting tired of having gritty eyes.

Even though I was seeing dead fish, I was very grateful not to have massive schools of dead fish in the canal. Then I saw three Carolina Skiffs (about 18' long flat bottom boats) in the canal with two people in each boat. They were scooping dead fish up. Each boat had a pile over 3' in diameter and above the *gunnels (1-plus feet high) of the boat.

*Gunnels are the top edge of the hull.

Now I know the tides are not washing away the fish. The county is actually paying for contractors to come out and remove said fish. How wonderful is that?!?

I am worried about my my birds. I feed a pair of snowy egrets. I named both Isis as I cannot yet tell them apart. They eat the smaller fish. Fortunately the Isis duo also eat hotdog wafers.

Side Note on Isis: The pair NEVER eat together. Indeed if the second arrives the duo get into a fight.

This is Isis.

I cut the least expensive hotdogs into 1/8" thick chips for the snowy egrets. For the larger birds, including my night herons (Bruce, Buddy, Scout, et al) and a raven (Nevermore) I slice the hotdogs into 1/4" thick wafers. Several of us along the canal have started to feed the wild birds.

There are a lot of Serious Fishermen around here. They have the go-fast center console boats. The fellows head offshore 50-60 miles plying the Gulf of Mexico waters for fish. When the fishermen return, the catch is cleaned at the dock. Now birds are not stupid. They know a free handout when they spot one.

Fish cleaning means scraps. Birds
and pelicans are opportunistic.

This boat did well. When the fellows clean the fish there will be a feathered audience hoping for scraps.


In the back of my mind was one worry: Could my hotdogs create a bunch of lazy birds that no longer would hunt their own dinners? After observing the birds I am happy to report they continue to catch fish.

Seaweed caught a fish. This one landed on my bow. I suspect this fish was dropped by an osprey.

I discovered the carcass on my side deck near the bow one morning.

Regarding the Attaching a Fishing Reel article lamenting how I cannot catch a fish, I wish to add a qualifier. Though I cannot catch a fish myself, Seaweed has managed to land one.

A concern of mine came to a head as the dead fish began floating to the surface due to the red tide. I wondered if eating the fish would kill the birds.

This is Isis. She had been eating hotdog wafers on my swim platform.

A small dead fish floated by Isis.

Isis immediately captured the floater in her beak. Then she dropped it back into the water. A few minutes later as the fish had drifted along she again grabbed it. Once more Isis did not swallow the fish. Something must taste odd to her.

In the meantime I have been regaling my neighbor Cheryl who lives down by John's Pass about how few dead fish are here. I told her that though I was seeing large numbers of dead fish occasionally, the tides seemed to be washing them away. One day I see a fish every 10' or so, and the following day the fishes are gone. It was a Miracle!

Meet the Miracle makers: This is Captain Rick and his assistant Bill holding a net at the bow.

These two and others have been patrolling the canals. Captain Rick runs the boat while Bill is busy scooping up the dead fish. At the end of the day the fish are disposed of by the county. This is a big job and I am grateful they are here. Thank you.


The color of our water has
gone from green to red-brown.

Pre-red tide, a manatee swims behind Seaweed:

With the cooler weather I am hoping the red-tide bloom disappears. Though this is not fun I am reminded of the old saying...

This too shall pass.

Now dead fish float behind my boat:


I have not seen any manatees. They are infrequent visitors at best. Surprisingly, another thing I have not spotted floating is the snook I told you about in the Snook Surface (cold weather consequence) article. A few dead full-grown mullet have drifted by, though no immature mullet as of yet. The total of mullet floating is no where near the number that I know used to hang out under the mangroves.

A school of mullet is swimming in a circle under the mangroves behind Seaweed.


It will be wonderful when the red tide finally abates. I am thoroughly tired of having gritty eyes and a wet nose. Taking Seaweed out seems like more work than it is worth. I wish I could say I have accomplished a lot. Alas, that would be untrue.

I have been reading loads of books. It is the holiday season and I have been enjoying Christmas anthologies set in the regency era. Thank goodness for the Kindle. I don't know how I ever lived without one. The ability to increase font size and bold text helps makes reading a pleasure.

I do thank you for reading my website. A couple thousand folks visit most days and I am Very Grateful you have chosen to spend time here. Thanks so much!

Are you in a Red Tide effected area?
And, has the algae bloom ended in your area yet?

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Categories: Boat Talk, Characters, Locations, Memory Lane, Wild Things,

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