Monday, June 14, 2010

The Beach at Gulfport

I took these photos yesterday at the beach in Gulfport. It is in the area where President Obama visited today. From news reports, he was on the east side of the pier.

The black skimmer skimmed over this dark patch and then resumed its hunting.

I cannot tell if this bird washed ashore is a black skimmer, a heron, or an egret. This is the same in which 15 dead sea turtles washed ashore last Friday.

On the west side of the pier, patches of beach are slowly being stained black.

Yesterday, protective berms were being placed.

The water in some spots had this weird stringy stuff.

Walking on the east side of the pier, I couldn't detect any smell of oil. However, walking on the west side, the closer I walked to where the Veterans home used to be, the smell of oil was strong. It made my eyes sting. As long as the oil keeps gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, I fear we can expect more turtles, birds, fish, and other marine life to be washed ashore. Time, the winds and currents we tell if and when the beaches of Mississippi will be covered with same toxic muck now trashing the shores of Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Walk on the Beach

My governor, Haley Barbour, keeps trying to insist that the oil spill is no big deal for the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Sure, we haven't seen the thick sludge hitting the shores of Louisiana. But as soon as the winds and tides are right, it seems like it is inevitable.

The oil is impacting the life of the creature that call the shoreline and the Gulf home. The air does not have that sweet clean smell along the beach. The oil smell, can at times be stifling. No longer do fresh breezes come from offshore. instead, the air smells stale. It is hard to describe really. It doesn't have that salty tang anymore.

Along the shore, there doesn't seem to be the same number of birds that where there in April. Even accounting for birds that are nesting, the numbers seem far fewer. I counted myself lucky yesterday when I saw four black skimmers, one pelican, an osprey, a handful of sea gulls, and a handful of plovers and sand pipers.

The beach also seems to have more dead animals. I see dead horse shoe crabs frequently. dead fish are more than normal. And I saw a dead baby stingray.

The area where the sand meets the water is being stained red.

There are fewer tourists. The situation does warrant the attention is giving the Gulf Coast area. People died when the well first exploded. People's livelihoods are threatened. Those that make their living fishing and shrimping are already having to deal with less income and a very uncertain future.

How many years or decades will it take to clean-up this mess? The Gulf of Mexico is being turned into a vast dead zone.

I feel a sense of sadness and bewilderment from the attitude of Governor Barbour. He did a stellar job after Hurricane Katrina so his nonchalance at what is awaiting the shoreline defies belief. Instead of going on picnics in New York City he should be meeting with President Obama.

But Barbour is hardly the only Mississippi politician I'm angry at. Congressman Gene Taylor sent me an email the other day. He's up for re-election and I guess he's feeling threatened by the opposition. His email did not say one thing about the oil spill. It show-cased the defense contracts he brought to Mississippi.

The uncertainity of the future because of the oil looming off the shore is more threatening than the rebuilding wefaced after Hurricane Katrina. You know how to prepare and you know how to rebuild.

How can a vast dead zone be brought back to life?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One Third!!!!

NOAA has now closed one third of Federal Gulf of Mexico waters.

Oil has reached Petit Bois Island. The island is a barrier island about 12 miles south east of Pascagouls Mississippi.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder is launching a criminal probe.

I cannot seem to feel rage at this mess. The scope of the disaster is just too vast. I try to go to the beach everyday just so I can still it without it being oil stained. The freshness of the salty air is gone already. The sweet smell has been replaced.

I wonder what all the sea birds will do for food. I had hoped that perhaps they could make it to the shores of Florida but it seems Florida's beaches are next in line. Perhaps Texas, but again the oil seems to be spreading. Soon, it seems there will be no save haven for wildlife that call the Mississippi Gulf Coast home.

Usually when I go to the beach, once on the many piers I can watch the minnows and bait fish but there seems to be a dearth of them. I've only seen a few here and there.

No matter what figures are correct, the 20 million or the 40 million, the gallons of oil swirling around the Gulf of Mexico are hard to comprehend but as each new closer of Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps you can get an inkling.

An entire ecosystem that spans four states is now being threatened. Birds, crabs, shrimp, fish, and mammals such as dolphins as wallowing in an oil-stained mess.