Recent reports in travel news have stated beaches along the south coast were experiencing a new phenomenon that could threaten the livelihood of the tourism industry there. The culprit is none other than a seaweed called – Sargassum (read the article in highlighted link). If it is one thing tourist expect when they go to a beach is to find it pristine, the waters clean and clear of debris. They expect to enjoy a time of fun and frolic in the sea and on the sand without interference. However, the sea algae much to the consternation of the beachgoer is getting in the way, is unsightly and smells foul when it decomposes.
Sargassum has only just reached our shores along the Atlantic, but this problem has been a nightmare throughout the Caribbean for a few years now. Governments of popular tourist destinations have been grappling with the predicament for some time and their tourism industries have been affected. The maintenance of beaches and disposal of the seaweed has caused distressed hoteliers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The brown and orange colored seaweed is thick and presents an obstruction to marine life like turtles and smaller fish that thrive and live on the coral reefs near the shore. Even small fishing boats have difficulty cutting through the impasse, before their motors become entangled in the weeds. On occasion, when flying into my paradise island home Barbados, from the air I have seen long, large swathes of the plant floating on top the ocean waves heading for the shore. Because the island has been inundated with the algae, the government, at one time had to declare a national emergency.
For the tourist, this obstacle hampers the time they spend in the water. I for one, don’t like stepping into the surf with seaweed ebb and flowing at my feet, furthermore, having to wade through to a depth where swimming would be more enjoyable. The seaweed can also be a dangerous impediment not only to adults, but especially for small children who may become entangled while swimming.
Community Peeps, if you have travel plans to vacation in the south or to visit an island in the Caribbean, simply be aware of the disgusting seaweed. Maybe if your favorite hotel/beach is faced with this dilemma then you can plan an alternative itinerary for your time there. I don’t mean to be sarcastic about Sargassum when I tell you don’t get wrapped up in the beach this summer. Be aware. Your comments on any encounters are always welcomed. Write them in the box below.
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