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Red tide, gloomy skies for last day of Waterfest

Englewood Beach
Posted at 4:02 AM, Nov 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-21 04:02:34-05

ENGLEWOOD BEACH, Fla. — Despite the red tide alert in parts of Charlotte County, the annual Waterfest wrapped up Sunday on Englewood Beach.

Red tide wasn't the only thing beachgoers were faced with — gloomy skies, rain, wind, and cold weather were also factors.

When it gets below 70 in Florida, everyone is in beanies and have their earmuffs on,” laughed Billy Shipley, a boat racer from Fort Worth, Tex.

“It’s great, come on, you got the beach in front of ya and we are making and believing the sun is out,” said Phillip Keller, enjoying the Waterfest with his wife.

Keller and his wife Denise live in Indiana, but recently bought a home in Charlotte County. Like them, the large group gathered on the beach didn't let any of the unfavored elements stop them from coming to the boat race.

“You know the red tide has lessened when we first got down here," said Denise Keller, a Charlotte County seasonal resident. "It was really bad; you could walk outside and we would start coughing.

“Unfortunately the weather isn’t cooperating, but it’s still nice being out here," Keller said.

After an on-course boat crash, there was a lengthy wreck delay.

One of the boats sunk, and turned two down there the guys are okay," Shipley said.

This is Shipley's fifth year racing for Waterfest. He said this year's race is one he will forever remember because it still brought people together in the wake of Ian. He also said when he first arrived on the beach Monday, he was really feeling the impacts of the red tide.

"We were coming anyway, I mean whatever, red tide is red tide, we’ve raced in it before,” Shipley said. “Fortunately the wind turned direction and started blowing out in the east.”