Swimming Conditions in Crystal Beach, Texas
Crystal Beach is a resort community located on the Bolivar Peninsula of Texas. Despite the destruction of Hurricane Ike in 2008, thousands of vacationers are still drawn to the area each year. Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico is one popular pastime at Crystal Beach, especially when conditions are just right. Although swimming conditions are Crystal Beach do not change much from day to day, there are some things that potential swimmers should know before heading into the water.
The water at Crystal Beach is usually very calm with a gentle ebbing tide and very small white capped waves. However, if there is a storm brewing on the horizon, the water can become quite choppy and rough. If there is a hurricane in the vicinity of the Gulf of Mexico, the water at Crystal Beach may produce larger than normal waves that can be dangerous to swimmers. As with any other moving body of water, there may be strong undertows or rip currents that can endanger a swimmer's ability to surface.
Crystal Beach, as well as most of the beaches on the upper Texas coast, does have a history of producing higher than normal bacteria levels at certain times of the year. While this bacteria is harmless to the marine life, and to most humans, some people are susceptible to infection if the bacteria enters the bloodstream through a small cut or opening in the skin. The resulting infections have been known to be severe and sometimes life threatening.
Sharks are very common in the Gulf of Mexico. Contrary to what is depicted in the movies, sharks don't really lie in wait for swimmers to get close enough to bite. However, smaller sharks do feed in groups and sometimes feed very close to the shore, especially in the early morning and early evening hours. They might mistake a swimmer's arm or leg for a fish or accidentally bite it when trying to catch a fish. There have been reports of shark bites at and very near to Crystal Beach. While this is certainly something swimmers at Crystal Beach should be aware of, it should not deter them from enjoying the beach as such events have been rare and can happen at any beach.
Visibility and Debris
The water at Crystal Beach is not very clear at all. This can be dangerous for swimmers because they can't see hidden obstacles that may be under the surface. Debris left by Hurricane Ike is very common in the area and any number of things could be hiding under the surf. Boards with exposed nails, glass, pieces of metal and other items with sharp or pointed edges are the major causes of concern. Swimmers should move slowly through the water, feeling their way as they go as to not step on anything that may be under water.
Crystal Beach, while popular with people who know about it, is still a rather secluded beach. During the summer months and school vacations, it can become quite crowded. The beach is open year round, 24 hours a day. At night, party crowds can be rowdy on Crystal Beach and alcohol consumption is allowed. There are no life guards on duty and emergency services in the area are very limited.
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