A Postcard of the Red Tide

Photo: Martin Haro.
Evidence of an aggressive midsummer red tide (and, boy, was this a warm water) Indian Rocks Beach, 7.25.21

What a lovely white-sand beach Indian Rocks Beach near Tampa, Fla., is.

Sunrise to sunset, so lovely, indeed, this Gulf beach.

How striking, too, to wade in its waters early one morn’, and feel nothing but warmth.

A sticky, warm water, this Gulf water.

Oh, but what’s that? A baby shark! (Doo doo doo doo doo doo.) Not. A catfish. Barely breathin’, done with swimming (can’t swim no mo’), coming onto land (it will not turn aroun’).

So many fish and the most puzzling of bones (teeth), laying on the sand, semi-covered in death, sand-swept, sidestepped, and ignored.

The stickiness of the boiling fish in the water, the feel of death on the skin.

The red tide is a bitch, and she is getting bitchier and bitchier.

The naturally occurring algea sitch reportedly has been getting worse in Tampa Bay since the ’80s (environmental debacles like Pinney Point, I bet, aren’t helping matters), and I can tell you, it is bad, when simply sitting on the sand, away from the shore, it can make your eyes water and your throat scratch. Then, comes the cough. And then can come so much more. It is rather off-putting (would not, did not swim in it). But also…good to know.

Behold the beauty and consider its savagery.

We are living in a wild one.

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