sargassum storms the beach

We had only been here a few days when we started to notice it.  Small orange streaks were breaking up the deep blue color of the ocean.

As the days went on, the streaks became larger.  On July 20th, we noticed that this now massive swath of orange was heading right for the shore!

Holly and the boys ran down to the beach as the invasion was in progress.   It looked like they were on another planet.

picture of our beach in Puerto Rico covered in sargassum seaweed

Waylon taking it in

Apparently, this seaweed floats en masse in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, giving the Sargasso Sea it’s name.

Picture of the currents around the Sargasso Sea which is where the sargassum seaweed that hit the beaches of Puerto Rico came from

The locals we talked to said that it was unusual to see this much of it.  I’m sure it was providing some nourishing benefits to the coastal eco-system.  However, it certainly wasn’t olfactorily* pleasing as it began to rot on shore. 🙂

Thankfully though, in a little over a week most of the seaweed had broken down.  A week later, these distant voyagers from a mysterious sea were gone without a trace.

* Holly's word.  I had to look it up.

7 comments

  • Wow, I’ve never seen that before! It must have been quite shocking.

  • Yes it was! We never saw it on any of our prior visits to the island either. I believe it’s more common on the eastern side of the island…

  • Welcome to Puerto Rico. We have seen all that seaweed in the east coast in Palmas Del Mar. Their beach is so filled with it that it is unswimmable.

    • Hi Tonie. We were actually strongly considering Palmas del Mar, but you are right, the seaweed was pretty nasty, at least when we visited…

  • Hi, great blog. I’ve enjoyed reading about your adventures. We’re coming to PR (San Juan area) in March and have just learned about the seaweed. Is it still there? Do you think we should be worried about it affecting the northern beaches around San Juan? Thanks so much!

    –Jennifer

    • Hi Jennifer. I’ve only seen the sargassum here that one time, but then again, we’ve only lived here for 6 months. I’m sure it comes by now and then. I have no first hand experience of the San Juan area… sorry.

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