Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Gulf journals: Sticking with the shore, come what may


He's not leaving the coast, not yet. Lee Ford of Gulf Shores, Alabama, moved to another home just a few miles down the shore after his rental home went belly-up.


He says he had no choice other than to move because his landlord asked him to leave. The landlord was having trouble staying afloat, and the property value of Ford's home was steadily declining. Ford says he spent about three weeks stumbling to find a place before he relocated. He blames the oil disaster in part for hurting the local economy and getting him into this situation.


"I wasn't too happy about moving, but you got to do what you got to do. We just basically decided that since we got to move, we've got to suck it up and find another place."


The new place is only about 20 miles away and still in the Gulf Shores area. When Ford thought about moving his family somewhere else, he realized that he's committed to living in Gulf Shores and optimistic that things will get better in about a year. And, perhaps more importantly, he says he's not sure where else he could go; he figures he might as well ride out the crisis on the beach he loves.


"It affects for miles in as well. It's not going to matter how far we go, there's a ripple effect. We're trying to get out of a recession, and that's not going too smoothly."


That's not to say things are easy. Ford lost his heating and cooling job shortly after the oil disaster first began. One day the phone rang and his boss was on the line; he said business was significantly down and there was no way to keep Ford on. Hints of occasional work with his old company fell through as well, and he says he's been unable to find any employment since then. He and his family are subsisting on small government disability checks for now.


He says the oil disaster has also taken a big emotional toll on his community.


"There's definitely fear in the people," Ford said. "I've talked to neighbors, and they can't go on the beaches. You can tell in their voices that they're not happy. Some of the businesses I've walked into, they're like, 'We're down 75 percent of where we were last year.' "


As time went on, the oil gradually started coming on shore and Ford said it seemed to be getting worse. He shot video June 26 showing oil washing up on the beach by Fort Morgan. In the video, a line of black oil residue accumulates across the otherwise white shore and smudges imprints of the waterline like charcoal crayons in the hands of a preschooler. He says he plans to capture more images of the oil and is glad that technology affords him the opportunity to have his voice heard.


Something that bothers him a lot is the oil disaster's effects on fishing, one of his favorite hobbies. That's on hold, for now, and he says it's depressing. Lately he looks out and instead of seeing the white beaches, he sees water with a murky tinge.


"Even if the oil doesn't show, still, right now I can see the water from where I'm at. When the water washes up, it's brown, so I know there's oil in the water."


Ultimately, Ford says he believes the Gulf will survive if everyone hangs on tight until things are resolved, which could take some time. He hopes to be there when it does.


"I'm just glad somebody's listening," he said. "We do what we've got to do to keep on going. It's not easy to get through this here."


Editor's Note: This blog post is part of a series of profiles of Gulf Coast residents and visitors directly affected by the oil disaster. If you'd like to share your story, you can upload photos and videos to CNN iReport.

July 7, 2010
Click to view rae10965's profile

I have been to Grand Isle on several occasions and witness what BP is calling clean up of the coast, well its a big joke and a waste of money.


July 7, 2010
Click to view rae10965's profile

Boats are coming and going all day everyday but once their destination is reached the boats are anchored loaded down with workers just sitting there. All I can see is the companies who are supplying the workers are the ones making the money.  What a waste. 


Can someone please tell me how can the beaches of Grand Isle be opened to the public yet closed.  there is a sand berm, orange boom and a orange contruction fence erected halfway to the water which no one is allowed to cross, while the beaches of Alabama, Mississppi and Florida are opened in completely.  Why is Louisiana being treated differently.  I just don't get it.

July 7, 2010

We here in Key West are also concerned with Not only the Spilling of Oil in the Gulf by BP it's crews - But the Threat of it endangering the Fla. Keys, and our Marine, and Wildlife. Why Can't we just Pull troops out of the "Gulf War" and Deal with this new Threat of Terrorism in the Gulf of Mexico......

July 7, 2010
Click to view RetLaEnvEmp's profile

The water and beaches near the water at Grand Isle, Louisiana are likely closed because the oil washing up has not broken down or been in the saltwater of the Gulf of Mexico to decompose/breakdown as much as the oil that has floated to Florida's beaches.  The oil that hits Florida has been "at sea", in warm Gulf saltwater, several days longer and has broken down and degraded.  The benzene portions, the really toxic to human chemicals in the oil, are long gone (except for extremely tiny traces) by the time the oil reaches Florida.  The "oil" will travel only so far in a given amount of time in warm sea water; nature will break it down.  Without a tropical storm, hurricane or cold water temperatures (winter) it will be hard for the oil spill to move much further east than the Florida Panhandle.  The only part of the spill that has a long "Shelf Life" is the "tar balls."  Tar balls are actually asphalt; the same stuff in roads and shingles.  These tar balls will wash up on beaches for a couple of years as they take a long time for nature to break down.  Thankfully asphalt comprises on 5 to 10 percent of oil.

July 7, 2010
Click to view RoniRaz's profile

I am no one, and nobody. I am just an ordinary citizen. But, I would like to say something even though I am not sure anyone will read it or care about it. 


I watch the news every day and consider my self pretty well informed.  As I am watching the news, I am watching the oil spell of course.  It has been too long and who knows how longer it will be before that picture goes off my screen of my TV.  There is no more news about the earthquake in Haiti and the raining season over there. We forgot about them when the oil came.  It is horrible, every minute, every second that black liquid comes out, and goes everywhere, literally everywhere, and soon will cover the nation, the land, our homes and our lives.  The world is watching!  How long will it taka and why does it take that long.


For the rest of us who don’t live in the Gulf of Mexico, but in the other parts of US looks like life is normal. At least for now.  And we all sympathized with the people directly affected by this.  But is that enough?  I don’t think so, but it looks like there is no urgency to resolve this matter.  People, this is national catastrophe, don’t we see it.  Not only that the oil is killing the life in the ocean, the economy, the tourism, and it is slowly coming to our door steps, but it is killing the US citizen’s future. And, not to mention, that the whole world is watching.  Imagine what are the Saudis are thinking?  Spill baby spill than come and buy from us. Here goes down the drain our national energy sours, our wealth.  Other nations are building cities like Dubai, we are looking at the spill and waiting and poisoning the ocean. 


What are we waiting for? How can life be normal when we have national disaster?  It is just simply in comprehendible for me that that we can’t cover the whole in the ground on the planet we live on, but we want to go and concord other planets. We should all be in Golf of Mexico and we should all be cleaning our mess.  How long do we need to wait?



July 8, 2010
Click to view jsr72748's profile

Unfortunately your description is 100% correct.


Americans don't care unless it affects THEM personally, and Gulf Oil Spill is a priority, trumps other crisis,  catastrophes. It doesn't, and few care 50 miles inland and less with more distance from the Gulf.


Welcome to 21st century America, the land of greed and me.   



July 8, 2010
Click to view storie's profile

when are we going to stop killing our plantet. We are only killing ourselves and our furtures.People make me sad. TOO MANY SAD STORIES.

July 8, 2010
Click to view tsalagi2012's profile

" We should all be in Golf of Mexico and we should all be cleaning our mess. " Except that it's radioactive and we'll all die.

July 8, 2010
Click to view doggywalker's profile

I live in the far north...not far from the canadian border....but my heart is with the people and the wildlife along the gulf.  they are not alone....many of us care.....the oil spill is the first thing i think of in the morning and the last thing i think of at night, just before i say my prayers....god help the gulf of mexico..god help the people and the wildlife who call the gulf home.....can we please just plug the hole?

July 9, 2010
Click to view bluedolphine's profile

There is one primary concern, and that is that all life as we know it on earth stems from our oceans.  BPs new guy in charge of clean up promises he will be there until the job is many lifetimes does he plan on living?  Even when the oil is cleaned off the beaches the sand will still be contaminated.  Just cause you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there.  It all revolves around the almighty dollar for that company...sadly, even though this disaster is so life altering for so many souls, both human and animal, they will still cut corners to save their budget.  How ironic that the relief well will be finished the day their quarterly profits are to be announced?  My heart breaks daily for those who live in the Gulf...I pray for you daily that you can overcome such devistation and heartbreak.  And I pray for our president to get off his ass and make the right decisions.  He really needs to grow the backbone needed for this job.  And someone needs to tell our VP that the Gulf is more than just a photo opportunity.

July 9, 2010
Click to view bluedolphine's profile

I would also just like to add that I read a posting on one of the other blogs where someone in the south didn't think that the north has any problems, and that we basically don't have anything to worry about.  I would just like to say that I am from the north, and I personally have died a little inside since this has happened.  It is a daily conversation in my home, I am trying to educate my childen about it, and watch everyday to see if we are any closer to making any progress.  If I had a million, I would be the first person to come down and spend all of it to save the people, businesses and wildlife impacted by this disaster.  Unfortunately, I just don't have the money myself to do so.  My family and I are holding on by a thread financially as well....somthing else our government needs to work on!  In short, us northerners are very concerned and heartbroken over the mess in the Gulf, we love and admire you for enduring the hardships you have, and will continue to pray for you with all our hearts.

July 21, 2010
Click to view LoriTroy's profile

             North Bay ‘News on the Hour Story by Jeff Prue     


     Troy Hurtubise is a Natural Resources Technologist and an inventor, having graduated from Sir Sandford Fleming College.  In his second year of study in 1989, he and all in the environmental college witnessed the Exxon spill her oil in Alaskan waters. Mr. Hurtubise started then with a Professor on an innovation that would hold the proper keys to cleaning up future disasters.

     Twenty-one years later, the eccentric inventor, as seen in Paramount Pictures summer comedy, “Dinner for Shmucks”, finally achieved the daunting task, through the innovation known as the ORS (Oil Recovery System) or, Oil Shark, for short.

     Mr. Hurtubise’ Oil Shark can recover 126 thousand barrels of surface oil off of the water, as well as return the recycled water back into the ocean at a 98% purification rate. All this, every twenty-four hours, at which time, the Oil Shark is shut down for three hours to have its ‘blanket system’ changed. 

     Mr. Hurtubise’ problem is getting those that can make a difference to take a closer look at his Oil Shark, which might one day find itself being mandated to every off-shore oil rig, in case a disaster like BP occurs again.

     Mr. Hurtubise’ innovation has recently been covered in detail by Canada’s CBC Radio host, Bernie MacKnimay. Mr. Hurtubise believes that through his extensive research and ‘test trials’, in the end, the Oil Shark will clean up the Gulf disaster in under 2 years time: instead of the full generation most experts are predicting using today’s outdated technology.  For further info, please email at


You must be logged in to post a comment.

About the iReport Blog

The latest and greatest on CNN iReport, brought to you by Team iReport.

Categories Recent posts Monthly Subscribe