Bright red blooms in Murden Cove

Reporter Tad Sooter took some dramatic photos of algal blooms off Murden Cove on Monday. A few nearby residents told Tad the blooms were the brightest they’d seen.

Here’s what he learned about the blooms:

Algal blooms that turned water off several Bainbridge shorelines bright red this week pose no risk to humans or shellfish, according to Kitsap County Public Health District officials.

Environmental Health Specialist Shawn Ultican said the dramatic blooms are caused by Noctiluca, a harmless plankton. Noctiluca blooms are common this time of year and are spurred by sunlight and nutrients in the water, he said.

The rusty-red blooms spread down Manitou Beach and into Murden Cove on the east side of Bainbridge on Monday. Ultican said blooms were also reported in Port Orchard Passage.

Because of their color, Noctiluca blooms are often wrongly associated with harmful “red tide,” which causes paralytic shellfish poisoning. Red tide is caused by different plankton species and isn’t noticeable in the water, Ultican said.

For more information on beach closures and shellfish advisories, visit
–Tad Sooter

In the above photo, Stephanie Bowen and her 2-year-old son Alex take a look at the bloom that spread across Murden Cove on Monday.

See more of Tad’s photos below.