As many of you have known, “Sargassum” is a macro sea weed that starting to come in late 2014 and normally has been for a few weeks. Unfortunately all the coasts from Florida, Gulf of Mexico and Riviera Maya included have lived this problem from past winter (2017) until a few weeks ago (September 2018).
Where did it come from?
Local experts think this particular bout of Sargassum originated off the coast of South America. When ocean conditions are ripe, pelagic (i.e., living in the open ocean) sargassum can form “islands” a few acres across (3-5 ft. deep). More Info Here.
What is the cause of the seaweed?
There are different opinions to the cause. The most popular are:
- Changing climate and wind patterns blowing the loose mats of seaweed to coastlines.
- Nutrient rich waters producing more sargassum (seaweed).
- Warmer waters breed the seaweed faster and the Caribbean has been warmer in the past few years.
- When there are periods of low hurricane activity, the natural process of being “chopped up” by storms is lessened and more seaweed is floating around.
If you are wondering where you can go for vacation now the forecast is more optimistic since many beaches of Tulum and Playa del Carmen are getting cleaner, here is a website: http://seas-forecast.com/ Tip: Go to the forecast section and look for Quintana Roo North (Cancun) and Quintana Roo South (Playa del Carmen) for the forecast for the Riviera Maya.
Fortunately, the change of season has helped a lot between the government effort to see again the crystal waters beaches little by little in the Riviera Maya. Meanwhile the spots you can visit and is almost sure you will be sargassum free are the islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres.