The sight and smell of the dead fish left piled up on the sand by Red Tide are enough to keep a lot of people away from places that are usually crowded, like Bonita Beach Park.
It would ordinarily be hard to find a spot to put down your chairs, towels and picnic basket at Bonita Beach Park, but the recent wave of Red Tide has changed that. People who come from far away to visit the area say it’s put a damper on their plans.
“Pretty much deadness,” is how Lisa from New Hampshire described the smell.
Merle Adolphson, a typical Bonita Beach fan from Minnesota, says the beach has turned into a graveyard.
“We’re used to coming here every year; we’d come from Minnesota, and we’d look, and it would be packed with people up and down the beach,” Adolphson said. “And now when we looked here, all we see are dead fish.”
The dead fish are a telltale result of Red Tide. The Florida Department of Health issued alerts for the presence of a Red Tide bloom near four Lee County beaches, including Bonita Beach.
“We’re not planning on staying long, just because of the warning signs,” Lisa said.
Lee County has workers out on the beach cleaning up the dead fish, but even for committed area beachgoers, it’s all a bit too much.
“We’d probably be over at Doc’s Beach House right now or sitting on the beach here and enjoying the sun,” Adolphson said. “But yeah, we’re gonna head back inland pretty quick.”