The indelible idea of a pristine white sand beach washed by a beautiful calm sea of turquoise blue while wonderful palm trees sway to the gentleness of the warm Caribbean breeze is one that has been edged into our collective understanding of what life in the Riviera Maya is. I live here and I can tell you, without a doubt, that it is true and you can experience it whenever you come. Nevertheless, it is important to address a very relevant factor that has been hitting the news lately. The ever increasing arrival of seaweed known as sargassum to our beaches and which affects the west indies all the way to Mexico’s eastern shores and from Venezuela to the United States’ eastern coast.
First of all, sargassum has always been there, it was wrongfully mistaken as a sign of nearby land by the first european travelers trying to find a way to the indies in search of new trading routes to the far east. Now it is known as the Sargassum Sea which is a great spot in the mid atlantic where the great golf current deposits during the warmer months of the year.
Sargassum is formed in the Gulf of Mexico, and its growth is fueled by all the pollutants that are washed on to the sea by the Mississippi river, mainly nitrogen and phosphorous which are known to be good fertilizers. After the 2011 sargassum crisis, interest in finding out how this seaweed originated and reproduced drove scientist to learn more and found, with great surprise, that a new hotspot for sargassum production was located just a few miles off the Amazon Delta where nutrients from south america’s largest river were creating ideal conditions for sargassum reproduction.
But above all, it is now known that the increase of ocean surface temperature is one of the main reasons for this new outbreak of sargassum. Yes, global warming is affecting us in far more ways than what we are eager to accept. So it may probably be good to consider our CO2 footprint and its impact in our next vacation to the caribbean.
As for us who live in the Riviera Maya, I can honestly tell you that there are bad sargassum days, good ones and esplendid ones, it is just a matter of how much seaweed arrives on a day to our beaches. Oh…but thanks to technology you can easily get a peak on how our beaches look right now. Here is a link to a beach-cam that will show you the “sargassum status”
That’s it for now, but I will be posting some more on the subject now that the warmer months of the year are around the corner. In the meanwhile, have a great day.