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Shell Shocked: Red algae in the sunset

By Staff | Oct 31, 2018

Art Stevens

Did any of you ever hear the term “red algae” before this winter? I bet not. “Red,” yes. “Algae,” yes. But used together as “red algae.” Certainly not me.

Red algae, as you all know by now, is that mysterious crud which shows up on our beaches. It may have shown up in prior years but not enough to warrant the fuss and attention we’ve given it this year.

Now there’s too much of it and it’s affecting the whole ecology of our beaches. Nature is very temperamental. On the one hand we very often don’t have enough rain, particularly during the winter months. And on the other hand we have too much red algae. We’re hoping that Mother Nature will feel sorry for us and do the appropriate trade off – more rain, less red algae.

Many of us have taken the extreme step of performing rain dances every January. No one in Sanibel wants to admit it but individuals have been seen on the beach at dawn gyrating in funny ways and chanting incomprehensible words.

Obviously, it’s worked because we always seem to have enough rain following these erotic rain dances. We need to enlist these same rain dancers and see if they can also perform red algae dances. If it worked with rain it could also work with red algae. In the case of red algae, less is more.

While the Sanibel City Council tries to figure out how to rid our beaches of this useless stuff, island restaurants have been trying to lend a hand to determine if red algae appeals to the taste buds. If so, then we could count on island chefs to cart the stuff to their kitchens and experiment with such recipes as:

– Penne a la algae

– Beef reddington

– Quesadilla red algae

– Mussels with red algae sauce

There’s more we can do with red algae if you’re willing to go along for the ride. Remember the names Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter? How about a new movie star named Red Algae?

– A movie called “Bonny and Algae.”

– A math course in high school called algaebra.

– Red Algae – the favored horse in the upcoming Kentucky Derby.

– The Algaes – a new sitcom about a dysfunctional family.

– Algae rouge – a new shade of lipstick by L’Oreal.

– The Algaemaster – a new horror flick.

– That Old Red Algae – the Cole Porter classic.

Well, you get the idea. If you can’t fight them, join them.