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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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Old 06-06-2007
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Pretty Water

this is a total doofus question. BUT! it may help influance the wife in my quest to learn to sail. In the Gulf of Mexico the water is brown at the beach. we go to Galveston and its brown and not Hawaii pretty. you know what i mean right? ok, so if you were to sail out into the gulf abit, does the water become clearer for say diving, swimming etc?
is it advisable to jump overboard and take a swim on occasion? it seems like it would be soooo tempting to do that!
SpeedoApe

Last edited by SpeedoApe; 06-06-2007 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 06-06-2007
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The brown tint of the water is mostly from river runoff. If you look at satelite photos of the Mississippi River delta, you can actually see the swirling brown silt flowing into the gulf. The water does get clearer as you go farther out though. How far do you have to go to find "clear" water, I really don't know. I for one enjoy an open water swim call from time to time but there is always this self preservation part of my brain that believes that every fish and shark in the oceans are swimming right below my feet.
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Old 06-06-2007
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going for a swim

When swimming in the open ocean always drop your sails, tether yourself to the boat and/or leave someone aboard who can operate the boat. A puff of wind or a strong current will sweep your boat away and leave you in the ocean far from home and far from your boat!
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Old 06-06-2007
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yea thats a good idea. like a surfer ankle strap with a rope on it. long ways away but thats in the memory bank!
SA
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Old 06-06-2007
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In Key West, if you go out the channel into the gulf, the water is murkey.
If you go out the channel the other way, the water is a beautiful emerald green and clear.
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Old 06-06-2007
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If you pick your days right, the water off the Keys can be very clear. During my last dive trip there a couple years ago however, the visibility was stirred up from an offshore tropical front.

These are just a few pics I took from that trip in murky water:











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ok thats not murkey...cant see your legs if you look down is what we have here.....
pics are wonderful!
SA
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I've both dived and sailed in the Gulf. The posters above are right, the brown water is from silt, a little farther offshore (or laterally, away from a river delta) it's green, which is pretty good, and farther offshore it's blue, which is clear and great swimming and diving.

For example, the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, about 90 miles offshore from you, is almost clear as gin--great diving.

Bear in mind that the murky water tends to be fresh, and hence lighter than the heavier salt water from offshore. Frequently, divers will dive through this murky fresh/brackish water layer for 20-30 feet, then find the clear layer of salt water deeper down. While you will be sailing on the murky (lighter) brackish layer on top. So it mostly has to do with river and bay runoff. Go out past that, and you're almost in the Caribbean (or the "Redneck Caribbean")...
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Old 06-07-2007
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Tania Aebi has a story in her recent book about doing a delivery with her husband and the owner aboard. During the delivery, the owner decides to jump overboard at the bow and swim around to the stern and climb up the swim platform. He finds this so invigorating and refreshing, he does it a second time. About 5 seconds after he climbs back aboard the second time, a large shark hits the swim platform, where he had just climbed aboard....

Swimming in the open ocean is not a great idea IMHO. We're prey out there, and there are too many things that can go wrong. In a protected bay or lagoon, it is a different story.
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In a protected bay or lagoon, it is a different story.[/QUOTE]

Not always, but certainly better. When we had swim call, we posted a man with an M16 to watch over us. To this day, still not so sure that was a good idea!
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