Friday, July 09, 2010
Gulf journals: Lost soles found on an oiled Florida beach

A solitary flip-flop sits in the white sand of Pensacola, Florida, with chunky bits of goo spilled on top and to the side like chocolate sauce. The large amount of oil that washed on shore June 23 had just marred the coastline. Randy Hamilton spots the sandal, captures a photo and files it in his archives as specimen 359. Just another lost shoe for his collection of forgotten footwear photos, but this one is different. It speaks to yet another crisis in his land and in his life.

Hamilton still remembers when Hurricane Ivan came through the region in 2004 and changed everything. His Pensacola house was irreparably damaged by the storm, so he and his wife decided to hit the road for life in a motor home. The graphic designer and photographer didn't want a permanent home, and one year on the road ultimately turned to four. Shortly after taking off in the motor home, he started a project called the One Shoe Diaries to showcase the photos and stories of finding unmatched shoes wherever he went. The first shoe was from Pensacola when he returned briefly to inspect his damaged house. The website brought him national attention and provided him with an outlet to share updates on the upcoming birth of baby son Noah.

The couple eventually returned to Pensacola to put down roots and prepare for Noah's birth. When the child was stillborn, the shoes website provided a source of therapy and comfort. Then, another big change entered their lives, the birth of a healthy baby girl, Nora. Hamilton tries to take a photo of his "rainbow baby" just about every day.

Now that the oil disaster has come to the Gulf Coast, he sees its effects through his daughter's eyes.

"Especially with a newborn child, I'm like, 'Will she be able to see these things the way I saw them? Is it going to be toxic for her?' "

Hamilton said he views the photo of the oil-stained flip-flop as a metaphor for the region as a whole:

"The white sand is completely like our tourist industry, stained and oiled. … That day that I went out there with the flip-flop was probably the worst. It was in, like, puddles, which drove me nuts because there were all these crews standing around."

Photo 360 was another flip-flop on the beach, this one pink. Even though the oil is less visible now, he says he can dig through the sand and find tar balls and other evidence of local effects.

"It's almost surreal. It almost does not sound like it could be real,” he said. “It's devastating. It makes my heart sink."

But Hamilton has weathered many storms and remains hopeful.

"This isn't our first tragedy. It's not our first rodeo; you know what I'm saying? But it's still pretty devastating."

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 9, 2010
Click to view MORNINGWOODY's profile


The saddest of stories.  Truly.

July 9, 2010
Click to view Politicrimes's profile

Those are the rotten evil souls, not soles, of BP!!!!!!!!

If there is a hell on earth, leave it to them to create it....IF WE LET THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!1

July 9, 2010
Click to view ColeMunster's profile

Rotten souls is right.  Check out the i Phone app called Oil Spill BeatBox.  It has the famous quotes from Hayward that really make you sick.

July 9, 2010
Click to view chopswell's profile

Tony Hayward can Suck my DerrICK!!!

July 9, 2010
Click to view hlevine1's profile

if we continue to allow deep water drilling this is only the beginning.  As Jimmy Buffet said, if they keep this moratorium in effect and look for alternative sources of energy the current staffing of the oil rigs can be transformed to renewing energy sources such as wind farms there will be new sources of employment for our fishermen also. It is funny but really not funny that the peole and especially the government of Louisiana are blaming Obama for the oil spill inactivity to react yet they want drilling to continue when the only thing Obama wnts is to do a well by well inspection and make sure that each well passes strict testing  before putting it back on line.  Governor Jindl make up your mind or are you just as ill equipped as our government.  Also please stop putting your Parish Presidents in the limelight becuase they don't have a clue either. In other words, our country never prepraed for the what if's until it happened and now it is Obama's fault.    

July 9, 2010
Click to view bubi11's profile

Forget You have killed Indians?,and Manitou came for You.

July 9, 2010
Click to view BrianGtown's profile

Sad story of course, but these woe is me, lets give a venue for every single person living within 100 miles of the coast to give their cry story is getting a bit old.

July 9, 2010
Click to view Johnnydoop's profile

Lets just keep drilling for oil off the coast! It's what we want! MORE OIL!! I would like to swim in sludge!! The oils will help my complexion when I get out of the water, I'll be shiny and shimmering with a hint of brown.. Maybe I don't even have to tan since the oil will brown me up easily!(sarcasm)

July 9, 2010
Click to view sexytweety's profile

many people i saw on television was devistated and heart broken to see all of what they had was gone because of the oil spill. for example fishermen and seafood salesmen, who in my eyes won't have anything to live off of and some even had to close down their stores because of the oil spill.

inocent animals are dieing from the oil, living creatures that bring life to our world. on cnn i saw were there were two or three persons cleaning a dird's beak and all i saw coming out was oil. It was very heart breaking for me to see all of this happening i started to cry, and im trying to find a way too, to help you should to it's your world help clean it you would be sorry if it's to late for you and you would feel what others who are in it feel.



July 10, 2010
Click to view realguy's profile

Mr. President, it took you SIX weeks to call the CEO of BP Tony Hayward. Six weeks of damage, you spent your presidential address to the nation and spent 1 minute talking about capping the oil..not even. The rest of the time you spoke of fisthermans preyers and holding hands and more jibberish like when you spoke about your daughter asking Daddy did you plug the hole?  You are a president who jumps in to socialize GM, socialize health care, printing money and spending it aimlessly but when it comes to our own coast you leave it to a PRIVATE COMPANY in the UK ... Sir I ask for your resignation and I respectfully offer myself as president as you do the honorable thing for YOUR people and step down. - I would close with the fishermans preyer but I dont know it Mr. President...for some odd reason you do. Amen.

July 10, 2010
Click to view NCC1701's profile

America, California has beautiful pristine shores.  Visit us this summer. 

July 10, 2010
Click to view TGIX's profile

Since it as the Bush and the Dick - Oil Men who for eight tragically long years occupied the White House - since it was those two goons who created this mess. THEY and they alone Own it.


No wonder both of those draft dodging monkeys are silent about it. At least they know when to shut their face. Even their tiny pea brains, as devoid of all morals as they are, can figure that one out.

July 10, 2010
Click to view channelz's profile

Why aren't they covering the story of the ruptured well casing and the oil that is now coming up from the sea floor itself?

July 10, 2010
Click to view TGIX's profile

Yep, visit Calif. And don't forget to get there by the most inefficient poluting gas hog Suv you can. Or fly in. Everyone knows how much that helps the planet rather than using a fraction of the energy by staying closer to home. This way we can drill more fo the all the oil you'll need, maybe off the coast of Calif. too so we can devastate that area and all the wildlife and, oh, yeah, humans who live there too. Have a nice stay y'all, ya hear?

July 10, 2010
Click to view rstone68's profile

Tell us about the well casing, Channelz!  What is this?

July 10, 2010
Click to view FredEvil's profile

realguy, are you for real? How about just a dash of uber-conservative rhetorical talking points, hmm?


Funny that you speak of OBAMA'S jibberish.....

July 10, 2010
Click to view Yellexin's profile the way, George Bush was a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard for six he wasn't quite the "draft dodging monkey" you portrayed him to be.  Please get your facts straight before you open your mouth and insert your foot.

July 10, 2010
Click to view DavidJohnson's profile

Best wishes in the Gulf coast states. My heart is with you all.

July 10, 2010
Click to view jtobrien910's profile

Yellexin... GWB was a pilot in the air national guard... during a time when nobody could get into the guard because young men were being drafted and killed in Vietnam. Bush became a pilot...I should say despite his low aptitude scores he became a pilot. Further more despite being AWOL multiple times he remained a pilot and never had to risk is a** in actual combat. I'd recommend you review your facts and use your head. Do you really think daddy's money wasn't a factor there?

July 10, 2010
Click to view chieatfetus's profile

Blame BP but more importantly the person who accepts accountabiltiy for "controlling" the efforts in this mess: Obama (who WON'T get my vote next time) and our corrupt government who's too cheap to do a better job of enforcing regulations b/c the country's in debt anyway. Maybe it's a conspiracy to poison us to save money: yeah, just let BP do what they want-let them dump toxic materials into the Mississipi, lets go for gas drilling to poison our drinking water & give everyone cancer and open up the border to let everyone in to compensate for the lost votes. Great, I'm so disgusted.

July 10, 2010
Click to view relentless82's profile

everybody needs to quit their bitching. if you drive a gasoline powered car you know the consequences every time you fuel up. wow!! we can see the polution now, its just not been converted to gasses and poluting the air. stupid humans. THIS IS THE WORLD YOU ARE LEAVING YOUR DECENDANTS!!!!!

July 10, 2010
Click to view LadyLost's profile

Replying to rstone68 and to channelz:


"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."


Sometimes it helps to ALSO read what's printed just after (or before) a story (or a LINK to one). This is part of a BLOG you're reading here... if you want NEWS, go to the NEWS section!

July 10, 2010
Click to view WhoKnewIt's profile

Jindl + Crying for more drilling = Sleeping with the enemy


You cannot have it both ways.

July 10, 2010
Click to view allgrownup's profile

@Chiafetus You might as well blame Obama for Sunspots, do you really think the president can micromanage every business in America. Sure some of the Minerals management folks were corrupt, changes have been made, as to Hayword, yes his is the ultimate resposibility but he is more concerned with corprate takeovers and business strategies than with any of the 200 wells BP is drilling worlwide at this time. The fault lies with the people who allowed the use of a faulty blowout preventer in the first place, then didn't halt operations and switch it out after it developed a leak in the hydraulics powering the final fail safe pincher device.

remember that this is a massive 50' high device with five valves/shutoff devices, one had been switched out for an experimental device which was proven not to work before it was installed, then the 4th device sprung a leak, two of the others couldn't function as they were not strong enough to pinch off the pipe in their area cause a joint joing two sections of drill pipe (inside the well casing) was too strong. this is part of the reason the preventer is so long, so that one of the pinchers is clear of any joints, if two are down the chances of it working go way down.The real scandal is why the US doesn't require a secondary preventer to be mounted on top of the primary blowout preventer as it is in many other countries.


I say buy BP gas otherwise they won't have that 20 Billion to pay for the damages. Then taxpayers will have to ante up....again.

July 10, 2010
Click to view Joeseephus's profile

Tell your reporter how to pronounce "Flange"; it is not flainge it sounds like Ann with a "F" in front and one "n" with "ge".  The e is silent by the way.  The well is not "broken" it is a "Blowout".  Where is Red Adair when you need him; R.I.P.


The ROV's are not like a drill but have arms with pinchers and they slowly will unbolt the flange where the riser pipe is cut off now that the containment cap has been removed.  Yes this will take time as this is all done by remote control from a surface vessel by a technician using a joystick looking at a video monitor.


I agree with "allgrownup" that there should be a redundant BOP with a remote console for both that can be operated away from the rig.  I know we can continue to drill in deepwater and do so safely.  Stopping the drilling is a knee-jerk that is penalizing all the professionals that work in this industry while following the proper safety protocols.  There is no need to put thousands more out of work because of one incident out of all the wells drilled in Gulf.  We need to get off of BP's back and let them fix this and hope they prosper so those that have been affected can be compensated.  My condolences to those that died helping this country produce our own oil keeping our money here, not in the middle east.

July 11, 2010
Click to view DoctorMansur's profile

yeah whatever

July 11, 2010
Click to view TimM1's profile

The gulf states have failed to activate the Federal Aide of FEMA to initiate the NRP, National Response Plan which would activate the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan of NIMS, National Incident Management System.  The Obama administration failed to realize they even have such a plan or else they would have activated it from day one.  Even today news agencies are not inquiring to the Governments responsibility to protect our country nor is the Government taking the responsibility to protect us. Shame on you Mr. Obama your failure to know to respond has became the same as FEMA's neglect to Katrina. No vote for you.

July 14, 2010
Click to view bigblue72's profile

You people can blame BP all you want, but all they were doing was trying to maintain the flow of oil to fuel our insatiable hunger for the oil. If you want to change things, you have to change the person in the mirror. Only by changing our way of thinking and adjusting our lifestyles can we affect change and stop things like this disaster from happening.

July 15, 2010
Click to view allinda's profile

This is taking so long. I don't have the answer but looks to me like after almost 3 months they could have stopped the thing. If there were no backup plans then I agree maybe they shoul stop drilling out so far. The coast may never recover.

July 18, 2010
Click to view LostSole's profile

I gotta say, bigblue72 hit the nail on the head. It is all of our faults, as hard as that is to say it is true. Thanks for all the great comments though, it was a lot of fun reading them all!

July 18, 2010

Beautifully written, though sad. Thank you.

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



October 25, 2010
Click to view defoot's profile

I went through the gulf in July and didn't see any oil so I just hope that nothing will go wrong or kill anymore animals.  We need the animals and the animals need us not to harm them.

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