South Padre Island and Red Tide

>> Wednesday, November 11, 2009

One of the things Connie wanted to do while we were in Texas visiting her sister was to go over to South Padre Island and spend a bit of time on the Gulf of Mexico.  However, when we got to Tami’s we found out that they were experiencing a red tide on the island.  A “red tide” is the term used to describe a particular type of algae bloom in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as other areas.  According to material I read the density of these organisms  during a bloom can exceed tens of millions of cells per liter of seawater and often discolor the water a deep reddish-brown hue.  The most noticeable effects of the red tides are the numbers of fish, birds and marine mammals that are killed.  And, in many cases it causes respiratory irritation to people that visit the beaches.

We were in Corpus Christi, Texas in October 1986 during a very severe red tide, stated later to be “the worst experienced along the Texas coast with effects stretching from its inception near Galveston Island to Mexico.”  We drove over to Padre Island to see the Gulf of Mexico.  We were able to drive right out onto a beach but when we opened the car doors and got out the irritation was immediate.  We began coughing and decided to get back into the car and leave the area.

Having had this experience we quickly decided a visit during this trip to South Padre Island was out.  However, about mid-way of our visit Roger, my brother-in-law, informed me that he had a bit of work to do over on the island and asked if I’d like to go along.  I agreed to go.  I found out later that he didn’t really know what the red tide was like.

We got to the house where he had some work to do, got out of the truck and we were immediately assailed by the effects of this red tide.  We began coughing and our noses were running.  Roger hurried through the work he needed to do and we left the island as soon as we could.  I did take a few pictures of the Gulf of Mexico for Connie’s benefit since she didn’t get to see it in person.

Texas Trip 013 This photo is of the house Roger was doing some work on.  It is still being finished and the owners have yet to move in.  It sits right on the Gulf.  The following pictures were taken from the patio and a back stairway, as well as from the dunes that are between the house and the water.

Texas Trip 001 Texas Trip 005




Texas Trip 011 Texas Trip 007


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