Omnipresent in the minds of all down here is the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and resultant oil spill from April 20th 2010. We’ll likely never know how many gallons of oil have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico but it is in the multimillions.  By conservative efforts about 40 million as I write this post or by super generous over 230 million gallons. I use the handy oil spill calculator to figure this out.

Today I went out into the Gulf of Mexico with a few others to see the oil. We left out of the Sandpiper Marina in Grand Isle, Louisiana with Captain Robert Vegas at the helm.

We wanted to see oil and boom, and we weren’t disappointed. We also saw dolphins, most swimming freely but one that was in distress; in too shallow and with oil on its dorsal fin.

We saw birds, most ok, some covered in oil; brown pelicans so a little hard to tell.

The beauty of the Gulf is being marred by this tragedy. It will continue to be destroyed for months and years to come.

This tragedy is best explained through photos.

The signs are everywhere…

But sadly, so is the oil….

The coloured booms trap the surface oil from coming ashore. The white booms absorb the oil. If they are placed properly, if there is enough (there is a shortage), if they don’t drift or wash ashore.

When the oil gets through because the booms aren’t there or aren’t working, animals and birds get hurt.

This dophin was covered with oil and thrashing because it was caught in shallow waters. We tried calling the number for reporting oiled animals – it was a BP sub-contractor in Houston who didn’t even know where Grand Isle – one of the largest hubs of response – even was.  Eventually we reported it to the Coast Guard and Fisheries & Wildlife and they went to rescue it.

Some of the birds had oil on them, but note the stained grass – the brown is oil that has washed up on the nesting grounds of the brown pelicans. Only recently removed from the endangered list I wonder if they will get added again soon.

All in all a very interesting and intense day.   Soon I hope to go out from Venice to see another area that has been badly affected by the oil.