The first time I can across the sargassum (also known as seaweed) was on a trip to Punta Cana in 2014. It wasn't extreme at this time but the locals were definitely talking about how there was an increase. On a trip to Riviera Maya in 2015 the sargassum had started to make it's appearance in this area. And although some seaweed is normal it was causing concern as resorts along the Cancun/Riviera Maya coast were seeing amounts that exceeded normal and there were hopes it would soon stop coming. Fast forward to today and much of the Caribbean has been effected by this unsolved mystery.
From the Dominican Republic to Mexico to Barbados, countries across the Caribbean are struggling to deal with the unusually large amounts of sargassum seaweed that is being washed up on many beaches. Some destinations are experiencing very little while other destinations are overwhelmed by it.
Although the strong-smelling rotting seaweed arrives most years in many countries, the volume this year – reportedly up to three to four feet high in some locations – is so great that normal efforts to clean beaches are proving ineffective on many coastlines. the clean up of the sargassum is a never ending battle.