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beach quality - water and sand

Washington
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beach quality - water and sand

I am wondering about the quality of the water and sand. I realize the beach is shells. And I've read there is sand in the water so it's not crystal clear. I'm fine with that, I just want to be able to wade in the water and do some swimming without major undertow.

I'm wondering if the water is at all murky/dirty and/or have red tide issues? I read on the FMB forum about many people being dissatisfied with the beach in that area because of those issues. I do realize rain and storms can affect the water.

What can I expect the 3rd week of June?

Edited: 30 April 2010, 00:47
Western NY
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for Marco Island
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1. Re: beach quality - water and sand

Hi - Depending on the day, the Gulf can look a lot like the Atlantic Ocean or it can look very calm. Most days you can body surf or use the boogie board or windsurf. And I would say on most days you'll be able to safely wade in the water with no problems. A long sand bar runs for quite a distance so you'll see people pretty far out with water up to their knees. Just watch the tide charts and you'll be fine.

Dayton, OH / Marco...
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for Marco Island, Everglades National Park, Goodland
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2. Re: beach quality - water and sand

What is the quality of water in Marco? I've never been concerned and it has never been an issue for me. Yes Marco and the SW coast towns all have issues on and off with red tide.

There is no dirty or mucky water on Marco Beach. Ft Myers beach FMB has more water issues, in my opinion, than Marco. Marco is literally sitting off the FL coast all by itself. It is up against the Everglades and miles from Naples. It has a very unique ecosystem and not like the central Gulf coast of Florida.

Like you said Marco and the other SW coastal towns don't have crystal clear water like the Carribean.

Vero Beach, Florida
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for Vero Beach
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3. Re: beach quality - water and sand

The beach is mostly quartz sand. Before it was developed, Marco Island had a high sand dune with Florida scrub vegetation.

Marco Island occasionally has surf, but June is a time of minimal surf on both coasts.

magicseaweed.com/Naples-Surf-Report/57/

As a technical matter, there is such a thing as undertow. As a wave breaks, water at the top of the wave is moving landward and water at the bottom is moving seaward. Essentially never a hazard. This website explains rip currents and such. Not terribly relevant to flat Marco in June, but just in case you visit a livelier beach sometime:

http://www.scienceofthesurf.com/

Red tides can happen anywhere, including occasionally on the Atlantic coast. Predicting these events seems nearly impossible.

Some bits of Fort Myers beaches (notably Bunche Beach, an outstanding spot for seabirds) are indeed slightly muddy.

Washington
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4. Re: beach quality - water and sand

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and opinions. The description of the beaches was what I was hoping to hear. I do enjoy being able to be in the ocean.

"As a technical matter, there is such a thing as undertow. As a wave breaks, water at the top of the wave is moving landward and water at the bottom is moving seaward. Essentially never a hazard." (BlueRusso). I disagree. I am fairly knowledgable about water, which is why I asked about the Marco Island area in specific since I have never been there. We have a time share at Playa Grande in Cabo. Playa Grande is on the Pacific Side next to Divorce Beach. It's a very dangerous place. The beach is gorgeous, the sand is like heaven but NO ONE can swim there. The rip currents and undertow are far too powerful. There are NO swimming signs posted everywhere. The week we were there last year a women drowned. We only saw the aftermath with the ambulance and the frantic family. It was horrible. The bay area in Cabo is the only safe place to swim.

I think my decision on vacation location is now made...Marco Island here we come!

Vero Beach, Florida
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5. Re: beach quality - water and sand

I should have said a bit more about beach currents. "Undertow" is a much-misused term. I was surprised to find that it's actually a valid technical term.

On the other hand, rip currents are normal occurrences at beaches, and they kill beachgoers, mostly at beaches without lifeguards. Within fairly broad limits, beachgoer safety has more to do with lifeguards than the nature of the beach.

Dr. Brander's website is possibly the most informative available. A neat learning module on rip current fundamentals, usable by nearly anyone, is here:

http://www.meted.ucar.edu/topics_coastwx.php

Some more is here. The rip current symposium was truly international.

…fiu.edu/NEW%20SITE%20JUNE%202009/Symposium2…

Edited: 01 May 2010, 05:51
6. Re: beach quality - water and sand

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