Video: Red tide puts summer vacations at risk of an early end

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.

Progreso’s beach was closed to bathers this week, but the red tide afflicting communities to the east has not yet reached Yucatán’s port city.

Video and narration: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

We have seen red tide in Telchac, Chicxulub, and San Crisanto but when we arrived in Progreso, it was nowhere to be seen.

In fact, the ocean looked as inviting as ever.

As it turns out the reason the beach was closed is only indirectly related to the red tide.

Police said that a large number of sting rays had been spotted in Progreso’s shallow waters, and that’s what led to the decision to shut down the beach. 

A marine biologist, Jesús Manuel Cuevas Medina, said that the sting rays were in Progreso because they were attempting to escape the red tide in other nearby regions like Telchac.

Though stingrays generally aren’t dangerous they are known to attack humans when in distress or when stepped on accidentally. 

So the beach remained largely empty for much of the day, especially by summer standards.

But as the day went on, we saw swimmers begin to ignore the warnings and enter the sea.

Eventually, police seemed to have given up on trying to keep the stubborn visitors from going in. 

A red tide happens when algae decompose rapidly and turns the seawater red, depriving it of lots of lots oxygen, which is potentially dangerous to humans and ocean life.

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