While Linda and I were recently in Italy on vacation, she would begin each day by checking the webcam located on Akumal Bay just to see how things were going back at home.
Within a few days of leaving Mexico, she noticed that there was quite a bit of seaweed collecting on the shores. That was back in late February and we were hoping it would be gone before we returned — it wasn’t. The seaweed is still washing up in large quantities each day.
The seaweed is called sargassum (sargazo in Spanish) and it makes several appearances a year. There is no specific season for sargassum and it can show up at any time and in any quantity.
Most of the time, we don’t pay too much attention to it unless it lasts for more than a few weeks and/or starts coming in large, thick sheets (like it is now). Then it’s hard to ignore because it’s starts piling up on the shores and it doesn’t have a smell that many would describe as pleasant.
It’s not all bad though. The sargassum is beneficial to the ecosystem and serves as a nursery for over 100 species of fish and invertebrates and it provides shelter and food for sea turtles.
Of course, that information serves as little consolation for tourists who are here on vacation for a week and want to enjoy the beaches.
By the way, there was no sargassum in Cozumel when we visited the island a few days ago.
Let’s Wrap This Up
Since we’re retired and we live here full-time, we can wait to go to swimming at the beach until the sargassum disappears again. In the meantime, we’ll continue to monitor the situation from the vantage point of our favorite beach bar.