Red Tide False Bay isn’t looking too pretty at the moment.

I’d heard about the red tide warning for the West Coast (I’m heading that way next week), but had no idea that the toxic ‘bloom’ had made it this far south.

It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen… the normally beautifully blue sea has turned a very unhealthy-looking rusty red-brown colour.

It looks more like an enormous river, if it weren’t for the murky waves crashing to the shore – and my plans for a quick dip were abandoned, forthwith.

I don’t know too much about red tide, to be honest, but from what I’ve been reading it’s not good news at all, and it could be the worst the bay has ever experienced.

Dense concentrations of red tide organisms can suffocate fish by clogging or irritating their gills, so that they cannot extract sufficient oxygen from the water.

Red tides may also kill indirectly by depleting the oxygen dissolved in the water. The mass mortality of the red tide organisms once the nutrients have been depleted results in an increase in the number of bacteria which are responsible for decomposition in the sea. The activities of this huge population of bacteria soon deplete the oxygen concentration in the water, leading to the death of other marine animals.

Toxins produced by certain dinoflagellates are some of the most potent poisons known to man. The most notorious of the dinoflagellate toxins are the neurotoxins which disrupt normal nerve functions.

(excerpts from here)

Guess they don’t call it ‘red death’ for nothing.

On the up side, if you’re a fan of things surreal (and aren’t scared of hungry fish with big teeth… scratch that: said big-toothed hungry fish have probably made themselves scarce by now), you could always take a nocturnal swim and watch your body turn blue with luminescence.

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