SARASOTA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Crystal-clear water and a picture-perfect view: it's a perfect setting to relax and unwind.
"Today is gorgeous. Today is absolutely beautiful. We’ve been waiting for a day like this to come down to the Star Fish because you can come down and the ambiance is fantastic. You can’t get much better than this," Donald Mithofer said.
It's a turnaround after a nearly two-year battle with red tide.
Scientists are seeing the lowest levels of the bloom since 2017. Only a small patch remains in Southwest Florida.
"The waters are real clear. It’s really nice. I’ve smelled no red tide. I’ve seen no dead fish. I’ve seen a lot of bait coming back now," said Captain Kathe Fannon.
It's good news for Fannon and her sightseeing business "Captain Kathe and First Mate Pup-Pup."
Just a few months ago, Fannon's business dropped as the bloom made its way to Anna Maria Island.
"I'm always afraid of red tide. Red tide is really hard around us here if you work the water, because you need fish," she said.
While red tide counts have hit zero, scientists say it’s important to remember that red tide never fully disappears from the Gulf.
"Red tide always exists in some background concentrations out in the gulf. It’s when we have these upwellings and blooms that kind of form is when we get these blooms," said Stephannie Kettle with Mote Marine Laboratory.
Kettle said scientists are continuing to keep an eye on the water, and working to better understand red tide.
"We can say that this bloom is starting to look like it will be gone soon, but we can’t really ever say for sure that red tide is gone because it exists naturally," said Kettle.
For now, those who rely on the water to make a living are breathing a sigh of relief.
"We are back to our normal being booked out everyday. Dolphins are out. We even saw a manatee yesterday which is really nice," said Fannon.