Brown beach water isn't killing the buzz

Posted at 6:40 PM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 07:59:15-05
FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla.- The water on Fort Myers Beach isn't as clear as it normally is, but spring breakers say it isn't killing their buzz.  And following a reduction in Lake Okeechobee water releases, businesses in the area say they've seen a change. 
"We noticed it a little bit, but it hasn't really messed up our trip at all, we've had a good time," says Tre McIntyre, visiting from Cleveland, Ohio. 
Devin Ritrocky, a Fort Myers local on spring break, told Fox 4 the water is the cloudiest he's seen since visiting the beach.  "All I can say is it's getting murkier and murkier,"said Ritrocky. "Still out here for spring break because it's a blast." 
While the murky water isn't keeping them away, some visitors were a bit turned off. 
"Probably would've went further north where the water is more safe and more blue, said Elaine Parks." 
A spring breaker from Michigan says she was caught off guard by the tainted water. "At first I was trying to purposely avoid swallowing it because I was a little nervous," said Lindsey Gerard. 
Despite their reservations, visitors are flocking to the water and local businesses are reaping the benefits. 
At the Lani Kai Island Resort receptionist Michelle told Fox 4 business is up.  "As unfortunate as the issue is with Lake Okeechobee, we've had no problems with having guests attend here.  If anything we've had more guests arrive for this spring break season," said Michelle.
The Lani Kai isn't alone; the Sea Gypsy Inn, which lost money early in the year from the lake O releases is seeing an improvement.   "Things have definitely gotten better. They're not perfect as we all know," said Scott Safford, Sea Gypsy Inn owner. "We had some cancelations, we had some rebooks so things are definitely looking up." 
While the water has visibly improved, tourism worker and co-founder of the Southwest Florida Clean Water Movement John Hemm says the cloudy water is a threat to coastal businesses.  "This is an economical disaster for our geological area. This is just a month spurt of spring break, basically these people have already made their plans," said John Hemm.