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Visitors go with the flow, no matter the color

They're worried about the effects of the brown water, but they say they'll still come back to FMB

February 17, 2016
By John Morton ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Garry Sinth and his son enjoyed a romp in the gulf on Thursday near the public pier, laughing while kicking up the brown water.

Was the first-time visitor from Toronto concerned about the odd color?

"Isn't it always like this?" he asked. "I figured this was normal. Are you telling me it's supposed to be more blue?"

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The brown-colored water that laps up against the public pier's footings says it all. This photo was taken Thursday morning.

The expression of "what you don't know can't hurt you" may apply here for some, including Maryland's Patricia Weaver, who was visiting Fort Myers Beach for the first time.

"I really don't mind," she said. "In Maryland, our water's a lot browner than this."

Meanwhile, officials maintain the water, which has been altered due to recent discharges from Lake Okeechobee, remains safe for swimming.

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Still, those who have visited before say the difference in water quality is obvious. Despite it being deemed safe, would they swim in it?

"No. I mean, what's in it exactly?" asked Linda Walker, an annual visitor of 27 years from Valparaiso, Ind., as she walked the beach near the Lani Kai. "And it's certainly not as pretty. Hopefully, it's a temporary thing."

Nearby sat Dave Moore and his daughter, Jourdan Moore, who are regular visitors from Grand Rapids, Mich. Would they swim in it?

"Not me," said Dave Moore.

Said Jourdan Moore, "Well, I wouldn't mind dipping my toes, but to actually swim, as in go under, no way. It's sad, and I feel bad for Fort Myers Beach."

Connie Richards of Lafayette, Ind. visits her sister on Fort Myers Beach each year. She was walking ankle-high in the water near the Lani Kai and said she'll be washing off her feet and hands when she returns to her sister's house.

"I would never swim in this," she said. "We're talking about bacteria, right?"

In her hand she held a dead starfish - one of many washed up in the area.

"I don't ever remember seeing something like this," she said as she studied the creature. "This makes me wonder about how bad it really is. This is just ugly."

Delaney Mitchell, a 12-year-old who was part of Walker's group, shared similar worries about the wildlife.

"We didn't catch any fish where we usually get a bunch," she said. "And why aren't there any birds around?"

But disappointments notwithstanding, all of the visitors said the brown water will by no means deter them from future visits.

"We're on vacation, and it's better here than where we live, so we'll make the most of it," Walker said. "And we'll definitely be back."

Dave Moore had a similar conclusion.

"We like it here," he said. "This place is still gorgeous, no matter what."



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