A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity (through the Coast Guard) to go out from Chauvin, Louisiana into the marshes of Terrebonne Parish to look for oil.

We left at 7:30am which meant I left my place at 5:15am. It was 39C with humidity…so hot that I had to alternately drive with the heat on or my windows down to keep the windshield from fogging…breathing was like pea soup.

The drive was beautiful and ended, literally “where the road ends” and normally, where “catching begins”. But as you will see later, mostboats I saw were docked.

The plan was that we would follow a Rapid Assessment Team but they didn’t have many reports and a storm was a-brewing, so we broke off and headed for some marsh while they went to look for some boom that was reportedly out of place.

The RAT team had two scientists, a Coast Guard liasion and a local boat captain. They respond to reports of oil, observe, take test samples of the oil and make recommendations for action.

Not far from shore,  a reminder that oil is never distant down here….

…and neither is risk….

…nor is wildlife.

A short ride away was Whiskey Island where some clean-up crews were at work.

Racing the storm, we went to Bay Junop where we saw some oil on the marshes…note the dark strip in the middle…

The oil washed ashore at high tide, hence the strip of green underneath…

…the fragility of marsh grass means that it might be safer to let air and water clean away the oil.

On my way home I saw numerous boats readied to lay boom or engage in skimming operations…

…and a bunch that should have been fishing.

100 boats in 5 miles. Sitting. Waiting.