Destin Beaches: Still Virtually Oil-Free (But It Looks Like Someone “Threw Up”!)

Destin beach green with algae

The Gulf looks angry today.  Or maybe sick.  Very few people are in the normally crystal clear, emerald green water.  Many are just standing at its edge, staring at it, afraid to step in.  The way I describe it is it looks like the Gulf  “threw up” overnight.  One of the tourists walking by yells to me (as he points to the green clumps of algae), “That was a hell of an exorcism last night”.

"Angry" Gulf

No, the Gulf isn’t spitting up brown tar balls. It’s coughing up green algae and seaweed.  There’s so much algae, it’s ankle deep along the sand in some places.  One of my beach rental chair “friends” calls it “June bloom”.  He says the recent hot weather has helped spur the explosive growth of the microscopic algae.  How long will it last?  “Don’t know”, he says, “maybe until this afternoon, or maybe for several weeks.”

So it’s not the threat of oil and tar balls that’s keeping many beach-goers out of the water today.  But evidence of April’s disaster is showing up more and more each day.  The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has sent up one of its command posts nearby, and continues to monitor the beach in ATVs.  I talked to one of the DEP cops this morning.  He told me they’ve found more oil covered plastic bottles and tar balls today.  They’re documenting everything they find.

Oil-covered styrofoam container

I came across a styrofoam plate covered with oil on my daily morning walk on the beach.  A half-hour later when I returned, it was gone, either washed away in the surf, or snatched up by the DEP police.

The beach isn’t busy.  One obvious indication of that is the umbrella/chair rental business.  My “friend” tells me he normally puts out 71 umbrellas, taking up three rows along “his” stretch of sand.  I asked him if he’s renting half of them this week.  “Not even close to half,” he says.

Lots of empty beach chairs

And this week he dropped his price from $25 a day to $20.  But he’s optimistic about the future.  Or at least next week.  He’s heard that many tourists are either moving up their vacation to beat the oil, or moving eastward away from beaches that are closed or showing obvious evidence of the oil spill.

We’re leaving the beaches of Destin in the morning.  A new batch of tourists will take our place this weekend.  I hope they enjoy their week as much as we did ours, and the worst they have to deal with is  “June bloom”.   And hopefully we’ll be back again next year to enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  

13 Comments on “Destin Beaches: Still Virtually Oil-Free (But It Looks Like Someone “Threw Up”!)

  1. Nice photoshop job of the “green” beaches. What is that? Mountain Dew? NOt that anyone reads this but it is a sham and does NOT represent Destin beaches. It’s fake.

    • Mike,
      Thanks for reading my blog. Unfortunately, the images are not fake. That’s the way the beaches in Destin looked the last couple of days I was there. They were crystal clear at the start of the week, then the algae rolled in. As I mentioned in my blog, the locals say it happens occasionally, and can last a day or several weeks.

  2. So that’s what all that stuff is! I was wondering cause I didn’t see it the last time I was here. The water is completely green and the algae is all over the place. Thankfully, no longer as bad as the picture shows. Thanks for clearing that up 🙂

  3. 11-18SEP10 Algae Update…The algae has been in destin all summer, spotty in some places and heavy in others. Tides, water temps, storms, have an impact on the day to day conditions. From East pass to Sandestin during 11-18SEP the algae was really heavy in the water and on the beach. Water temps were extremely warm for this time of year, thus the algae bloom. Probably starting to clear as cooler temps arrive this week…27SEP10 on and conditions will only get better, as will the fishing, swimming, kayaking, surfing, etc. If you would like more info, please contact me…zako, out : ) cya on, in, or near the water…Look for me near the east jetties or east pass in a big yellow kayak with a big bull shark on me tail, hahahaha!

    • That stuff is nasty, but so good to hear the beaches won’t be ruined by the oil. We hope to be back next summer enjoying some of the best beaches in the world.

  4. Unfortunately the algae is here! We got married on Miramar beach last year and just came back for vacation. We were shocked to find the beautiful beaches littered with algae and the water a thick green color that looked like a dirty fish tank. It seems to be only close to shore, as you can see clear water further out, but can’t even walk in the water without getting it in your toes. Hoping and praying it clears up soon! Last year we had dolphins at Miramar, this year algae!

    • Sorry. As you can see, it was like that near the end of our vacation last summer. The Florida beaches are gorgeous, but sometimes the water can be a bit nasty. Good luck.

  5. Good post, and thanks for sharing the information about the algae, especially the pictures in the article. We went to Destin last week, it was all good, no oil from the 2010 BP spill, but there were lots of seaweeds in the afternoon. The beach was very clean, the sand was sugarly white, the water was clear, absolutely beautiful. But after reading your article, we will have to do some research by askings locals in the Gulf Shores in Alabama to see if they had experienced anything like this. This is because we’re going to go to the Gulf Shores on our next vacation. We’ll try to avoid June, if possible.

  6. Here in Destin now and the beaches are filled with green algae. We’ve been here several times before and we’ve never seen it. Big bummer!!

  7. First vacation to Sandestin, during the first week in August. The green algae was really thick and nasty.My huband and I was so dissapoiinted. Many visitors stated that it (green algae) had been bad the entire summer.

  8. Pingback: A Relaxing Spring Break in Florida (with thousands of college and high school students) – In The Noozroom

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