May you enjoy the water this month

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Welcome to some warmer water!

The temperature of the Gulf of Mexico off Siesta Key sees a robust increase each May, going up an average of five degrees from April’s average of 73. At 78 degrees, you’ll find wading about in the water much more pleasant.

It’s quite the improvement from the average yearly low of 65 in February. August brings the average high, at 86.5. It’s like taking a bath.

In May, you see serious swimmers train for upcoming summertime Ironman races as they swim parallel to the beach, much like a dolphin.

You also see more families and friends forming a social circle out in the Gulf. Talk to some of them, and you’ll learn that many come from coastal communities on the state’s eastern shores where swimming is more difficult due to busy boat traffic, rough waves, inconsistent water quality, and deep drop-offs.

Crescent Beach offers just the opposite. It’s usually calm, it’s shallow for dozens of feet, and it deepens at a very gradual slope. And, once it’s deep, a friendly sandbar is often just a few strokes away.

Furthermore, boundary buoys protect swimmers at the public beach while lifeguards at four stations keep an eye on everyone.  

Unfortunately, stingray season also coincides with the arrival of May’s warmer waters. They like to come in close, warm up, and begin their mating rituals.

That said, it’s important to know the “stingray shuffle.” By kicking up a cloud of sand as you enter, you’ll likely scare off any stingrays hiding along the bottom. They only sting in defense. They are not aggressive by nature.

For extra precaution, water shoes are a good idea. Beach Bazaar in the Village has them, as does Davidson’s at both the north and south ends of the island.

You’ll find scuba masks, snorkels and fins there as well. The crystal-clear water of Siesta Key provides for a terrific view. So, take a dip on your trip. The Gulf here is the perfect place.        

— John Morton                                                             

John Morton
Author: John Morton

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