the beaches were fine when we there from 7/16-7/24. Plenty of shells and the sand was white. but the water was a brownish red for the first couple of days but cleared up just fine. i am not ssure how long they will be draining Lake Okeechobee but the water color is based on how long they will be draining it. there must be someone or a number to call and find out.
But I must say that the water up on Captiva was much more blue, very similar to the Destin area of Florida. On Sanibel the water was blueish green after they stopped draining the lake. Still it was beautifull even with the water color those couple of days.
Go to the "Sanibel Beach Water is brown" thread and you'll find a link to a website I put out yesterday about this. The SFWM maintains it and they are responsible for the Lake Okeechobee draw downs. They have none scheduled at this time, but it will depend on the rains.
If you go up to Captiva you'll be somewhat surprised at just how hard hit it was it. When I was there in march it looks so different, I actually missed the driveway of the house I had rented for 3 weeks the year before Charley. It's recovery has been very slow. There area around Tween Waters looks good, but there's construction going on and they were clearing land anyway. Some of the brand new houses in town had damaged roofs that still hadn't been repaired and there was still a lot of a dead vegetation that hadn't been cleared out, much of it on private land. After seeing how well Sanibel had managed, I was really shocked. I spoke with some locals I've know for years and they said yes, captiva was way behind. Hopefully, things have improved a lot, but someone recently there reported it still doesn't look recovered. I have also heard there's a beach renourishment planned for October on Captiva. Don't know if that is still needed or what.
Do read some of the other trip reports as they seem to have a very different view on water conditions.
I'm heading to S.W. Florida next weekend (Charley anniversary), and I'll probably hit Captiva to see how things are going there. I haven't been there since December.
Thank you for your replies! We booked our trip today, we'll keep our fingers crossed that there aren't any hurricanes. Thanks again.
Here is a link to a webcam so you can see the water color.
Looks great to me!
I was there from July 31st thru August 5th and the water was pretty until the last day It was a brown rust color and made you wonder just what were you swimming in. The water is much prettier on the Captiva end as is the island we wished we would have stayed there instead of Sanibel but its all very pretty.
Yes the water looked like ice tea between Jul 20 - Jul 30. Some days were worse or better than others depending on how you look at it. As a FL native, I was appalled at how gross the water was, but there were people staying at the condo who didn't even know the water wasn't supposed to look or smell the way it did... lol.
I guess it's all a matter of perspective. :)
We're having heavy rains nearly every day here in FL so it's hard to believe SWFWMD decided not to drain Ockechobee anymore since it was supposedly in flood stage when we were there.
The newspaper while I ws there said the worse drainage would be in October. I can't imagine what it would be like considering what it was like in late July.
Again, someone elses perspective may think the water is OK... especially if they don't know what the water is supposed to look like.
It's a matter of degrees. There's almost always some outflow from the lake into the river, but the releases in July were incredibly large because the lake was reaching a crisis point. (The News-Press explains this a lot better than I can.)
Even without heavy lake releases, you're bound to have some tea-colored water at this time of year. There are numerous rivers feeding into S.W. Florida's nearshore waters and lots of runoff because of heavy rains, and that's going to mean tannins and other things flushed into the Gulf.
For what its worth, we spent a couple of days at the top end of Fort Myers Beach during the first week of August and the water was perfectly clear then.