Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Perhaps it's because I didn't grow up around the ocean, but I find the entire idea of currents quite confusing. I've been thinking about ocean currents lately because of seaweed. Unlike the Florida Keys, where the beaches and coastline are often lined with dead, dried seaweed, Tortola's shores remain primarily seaweed-free. Why are the Keys inundated with seaweed while the BVI is left barren?

Except that over the last three days, I've noticed this accumulation of seaweed along the coastal highway just past Pockwood Pond. For a stretch of maybe a mile, the coastline is clogged with seaweed. What changed in the ocean current to cause this sudden buildup? And why is it only in this particular spot, not all over Tortola?

It also seems that maybe this is a regular occurrence, as on Saturday, I noticed a passel of locals pulled over and harvesting the dried seaweed that had washed up on shore. I suppose that they too had just seen it while driving by, but it seemed as though many folks on Saturday were driving specifically to that spot for the seaweed harvest. Granted, I haven't seen anyone collecting since then.

I realize that there are many things that could contribute to this unusual seaweed event other than ocean currents. Maybe the ocean temperature is higher which is causing the seaweed to die and float to the surface. Maybe a passing storm tore a bunch of kelp from its tenuous roots, or there's been an invasion of sea urchins with the same result. But for now, since I don't understand them, I'm blaming the currents. I'm pretty sure they're at least responsible for this accretion only occurring on a two-mile stretch of coastline.

1 comment:

  1. seaweed washed up after a hurricane is the smell of survival. hope you enjoy emily...headed your way according to crown weather.


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