Monday, July 12, 2010
Gulf journals: Marine biologist's worst day


Flying over the Gulf of Mexico in a small plane, Wallace J. Nichols scanned the oil-laden water for signs of sea turtles. Not seeing any and realizing the massive impact of the oil disaster made this his “worst day as a marine biologist.”


“Seeing that much ocean destroyed by a single catastrophic accident for anybody is a shock, but for somebody who spends his life trying to fix what's broken in the ocean, it's a devastating experience,” he said.


Nichols recalls his disheartening aerial experience in this video.

July 12, 2010
Click to view SteveBova's profile

I believe most intelligent people have common-sense and see through the smoking mirrors and wool being pulled over their eyes. That said, what were the pro dispersant scientists thinking? Common-sense dictates having oil only on the surface rather than through out the water column would do much less enviro damage to all wildlife in the long run. Perhaps our government don't want the masses to see more oil soaked water-fowl, however, they must realize these birds will die none the less from starvation due to the massive dead zones created by the chemical dispersant's decimating the food chain! PLEASE STOP KILLING THE OCEANS! Steve Bova  


July 12, 2010
Click to view wjnichols's profile

@SteveBova: yes, the impacts of the dispersants will be with us long after the visible surface oil is gone.  Search Google Scholar for "corexit" and read the peer reviewed reports on what these substances can do to us and the ecosystem.

July 12, 2010
Click to view JoJas's profile

Devastating and heartbreaking.

July 12, 2010
Click to view facefurny's profile

Had the lekaing well been contained quickly with minimal spill, dispersants would probably have been an acceptable element of control.  When the quantity reaches the magnitude it has, dispersing the oil delays its effects but does not remove it. The solution to this pollution is NOT dilution.

July 12, 2010
Click to view sestby's profile

Thank you so much for posting this video.  I have been following BP's disaster closely in the news since it began and I find it deeply troubling that scientific opinion and report published on cnn has nearly trickled to a halt as this crisis undoubtedly worsens. A quick glance at the Gulf Disaster page speaks tons.  So many articles on the financial and political impacts but only two on environmental impact on our worst environmental disaster.  Thank you for sharing this and please continue to share what you see.  It is so terribly important. 


July 12, 2010
Click to view dmsilence's profile

@SteveBova: Does the govenment really care about what happens under the ocean where the real Biology exists?  No.  They care about what is visible to people on the beaches and what can be directly photgraphed for the evening news report.  The concerne is to stop what hits the air waves.  They care that they are viewed as reponding.  For good or, in this case, for ill.

July 13, 2010
Click to view GTreader's profile

@dmsilence: No, the government doesn't care about precious marine wildlife, they only care about how the oil spill will affect tourism and the vanity of our beaches. But for those of us who have hearts in our chests and brains in our skulls, we know the damaging effects of killing of vital wildlife that maintain our oceans and ecosystems. I am disgusted, daily, with the "response" of our government and oil companies to this matter.

July 13, 2010
Click to view yerovi's profile

@SteveBova: "Smoking Mirrors"??????

July 13, 2010
Click to view WillEE's profile

I think these are great reports and I certainly wouldn’t wish to discourage the dissemination of info and opinions however... viewers of this video should know that the "scene" where you see blue water adjacent to brown water is not  representation of "oiled water", its just turbid river water mixing with blue gulf waters.  I just didn’t want viewers to misinterpret the video.  Im not saying there is nothing to be concerned about… just that the video could be misinterpreted by a viewer who is unfamiliar with the area.  Please keep the locals in your hearts and prayers.

July 13, 2010
Click to view hrussell's profile

There are always 2 parts to this tragedy but some of the foolish people commenting on this story only see one side. Yes, it is a shame that that the beaches, hotel and restraurants, fishing industries have been dramatically impacted for Lord only knows how long. But President Obama and Ken Salazar have decided in their infinite wisdom to destroy the rest of what is left. When you speak of drilling for oil in the gulf of Mexico and anywhere for that matter, you are talking about cooks, boat and helicopter companies, sandblasting and painting companies, people who make equipment for rigs, secretaries in offices, welding companies, communication companies, companies that supply groceries and day to day necessities that the men and women who work in the oil industry need. The paychecks that these people bring home buy houses, pay utilities, send kids to school, buy clothes, buy food and cars. The list is endless.  What do these people do when they no longer have jobs? Go on the unemployment roles, the public dole or lay back and do nothing while their homes and families are destroyed? These people have weathered literally many storms. When a tropical depression, tropical storm, hurricane comes into the Gulf region, most of these hardworking people are sent home for their own protection at great expense to oil companies and the workers themselves. I have had family members working in the gulf for many years and there are many, many safety conscious companies who constantly train and prepare their people and admittedly some who don't. Please Mr. Obama don't destroy what's left of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi for this damage will also be felt for a long time to come. And to all the whiners and tree huggers out there, think about this: Without oil you would have no computer, no cellphone, no tennis shoes, no plastic reuseable cups, no clothes (since America's farmers don't even come close to growing enough cotton to clothe you), no makeup, no curling irons, no baby bottles, no debit/credit cards even the cases that hold the batteries for your little electric cars or even the ropes that you tie yourself to the trees you hug. Yes, we do need to do something to rid our dependence on foreign oil and yes it should have been started 30 years ago because it will take 30 years to build the infrastructure to make this happen. Blame your government, past and present, but don't destroy the hard working people who produce the very essence of everything you feel you can't live without.


July 13, 2010
Click to view PompeiiDave's profile

Well this one is a little over the horizon. I keep getting fantasy emails from friends about what they are hearing from various sources around the world on the Gulf Oil Spill issue's.

In this case the question put forward is yet another call to Arms and setting off a nuclear explosion to remedy the issue.


A rhetorical answer to the above individual could read as follows.



*They could set off a Large nuclear device under the sea floor and it would not do much more then make a burp on some meter someplace.


*People don't understand that the compression wave from a nuke is better off airborne and where it is most damaging.


*That is why they set so many of the tests off during the 60's below ground. Well contained for damage and they were able to monitor the forces and contain radiation.


*(U.S submarines use what are called 50 kiloton tactical torpedo's)(Designed to take out and obliterate Russian Missile submarines)(So there is no functional technology remaining and all of the radioactive materials are dispersed to the sea floor miles deep)


*If a little nuke was set off a mile under water and again oil depth feet under that into the sea floor no one would even know one had gone off. Accept perhaps if you were looking for it on purpose and picked it up on geological equipment. So many fault lines going off every day in the 1.0 area that they are ignored out of hand daily.


*The Gulf of Mexico is so large people miss that as well. I can drive roughly 3 thousand miles from Ottawa, Ontario to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and it takes over 15 hours.


*Now multiply that distance 100 times and people might start to understand in a single dimension the total mass area of the place, then discover it again in 3 dimensions.


*It's like the Bermuda Triangle a plane or ship drops out of existence and people are amazed why they cant find it! WoW no idea of the scope they are dealing with for shear volume of area never mind adding in water up to 4 miles deep. The gulf has areas up and over 2 miles deep so we have been told by the news media. The current Oil Well Head is 1 mile deep.


*Strange the Titanic is 4 miles deep into the ocean and technology was designed through greed alone that enables people to work at those depths and return bottles of wine and silverware and dishes to the surface.


  • sort of makes you wonder with a 3 mile safety cap on depths and pressures civilians have been working at for years, why an outfit with billions of dollars in technology cannot function at what on the ace of it is 1 mile in depth. Of course they are working with tons of steel and not White Star Bone china so it's more complicated, Yes/No?


*I also have to say for myself and I am a pretty technical individual the use of an explosive device in an underground oil chamber to release pressure? I think one guy that failed grade 5 said this to a news camera and now like an urban legend of lunacy everyone thinks it is a viable solution. Who is everyone?


*Sure if you want to crack the sea floor so all the oil in the layer of rock rushes out into the gulf in one giant release ya.... Never understood folks that think this way they just have no mechanical ability at all most of them are end users of technology and have no idea how any of it functions or even how to fix it. We know better!


*As an example Just look at computers the whole world runs on them and most people have no idea how to work on one and even the ones that do don't know it all.

They have to specialize in different parts of the Monster. Just like Doctors they have to specialize in different area's of the body to cope with the new technologies for each.


*The Analogy the Media no more like third party whelps is pushing onto the brain numb public that is bored to death with the reasons why the gulf disaster happened and cant understand the Who/What/When and the why of things on a scientific level, will buy into a solution that blows something up so they can get the overwhelming complexity of the matter off their heart and minds. Not understanding that Emotions do not constitute science and science is something that belongs to level headed people that have a greater grasp of the world and universe around them other then how many waffles they will have for breakfast, or the next Best American Idol or if their cell phone battery will get them through another day if they never bothered to charge it again for the 3rd day in a row.


It goes back to engineering if it wont work hit it with a bigger hammer lol. No value for your bang in this case at all.

July 13, 2010
Click to view LedZepplin43's profile

There he was flying in a plane that uses oil products to fly! Until each and every American says no to automobiles we are going to be addicted to the product BP and others deliver to us. Good or bad we need the stuff to live!

All the folks that are bitching about the spill should first stop driving and stop using any oil based product! If you can, otherwise put the needle in your arm!

July 13, 2010
Click to view hrussell's profile

Well, I hate to disappoint anyone but I don't eat waffles, don't watch American Idol or use a cellphone more than once or twice a week. I do read (but not airport trash) and most of my TV viewing is the history channel.  I have a college education and am not stupid or naive by any stretch. But I do worry about several thousand decent people who will be without a way to earn a living if the moratorium is allowed to stand. And that would be a real shame. I am proud to be a Louisianian and I am proud to know that there are people in Louisiana who are willing to leave their families for weeks on end to give a lot of people oil based products that they crave.

July 13, 2010
Click to view kikimac54's profile

I like James Carville's take on Oil disaster. But his comments on the drilling ban, indicating when an airline crash occurs, they don't stop flying airplanes. In fact, they have done this when there is possible system or structural issues with a particular aircraft. i.e DC-10's were grounded worldwide, after the crash of AA191 in ORD. It was later determined there was an issue with the mounting bolts that held the engine to the wing. There was another grounding of the same aircraft due to cargo door seal issues. So it is prudent that until the rig failure is fully understood, the ban is appropriate.

July 14, 2010
Click to view Coltfourfive's profile

Look on the bright side buddy!  Because of the disaster theres an actual need for marine biologists!

July 14, 2010
Click to view SeasofChaos's profile

Wjnichols, you are a hypocrite! Everyone, Nichols flew on a plane and I checked him out online and found out that he lives on a nice big house in CA and has two cars! Yes, the liberal-Duke graduate is telling the world that BP is the villain. Sorry, Sir, you and I are all villains along with our government. Liberals-I am a moderate-will like to tell you that oil is bad. Bad, it is this sort of insensitive behavior where someone needs to make a plane trip to show an oil spill that has been documented by countless of other people.


He likes the comments here because at least we are talking about this spill. Mr. Nichols, you have to  walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk. If you want to preach how the world should be living, then you need to make sure that you don't have plastics in your house, no trash bags, nada, zippy made from oil products.


The fact that you can use a computer to write and make a video is because we have an oil based economy. We cannot yet be an oil free society. Please, since you are a scientist, do an exercise on how much energy we would need to keep the economy at the current level. Just use your brain cells, can wind energy do it alone? Can solar do it alone? Can tidal energy do it alone?


We can all make a difference, drive less, use public transportation where available, and use less stuff. We can ask questions, write to our representatives, talk to our friends and neighbors. We need to re-connect to one another. What is going on right now with our environment is a reflection of our society.


You and I. We. Are responsible for this spill.


Tidal energy has huge issues with transport of sediments along the shore. It causes a lot of environmental issues, especially erosion. Also, wind energy at sea has not been studied at great length, we do not know the environmental impacts for marine wildlife or birds. I agree that ocean acidification and sea level rise is a real threat to humanity. Overfishing, IUU and subsidies are also a real danger to food security.


However, I am discussing this from the comfort of my home, and having to make plane trips like you. There is room for debate on how to move forward with clean energy. However, one thing is certain, we won't be able to do it without nuclear energy. If you want to live in Cuba, go ahead, but don't forget that even if you use candle light, you are still using paraffin.


I want a real solution, you were looking for five minutes of fame.

July 15, 2010
Click to view Anononymouse's profile


Corexit is made by NALCO which Goldman Sachs, Warren Buffet .. etc have shares in.  Halliburton bought the oil clean up firm Boots & Coots while they were making the casing on the Macondo well.  They make money both ways! 


This was NO ACCIDENT.. they are using this to shut down the oil industry , destroy the economy, and get Cap & Trade passed (trillion $ tax on energy)!!  BP, Halliburton, Nalco, Goldman Sachs be DAMMED TO HELL!!



July 15, 2010
Click to view gt66's profile

All in the name of greed. Shameful.

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


July 30, 2010
Click to view DrSvenn2010's profile

Great footage, a bit of the "real"story of what it's like, not what most networks shoot. A sobering and horrific reality of the spill. thanks for doing this excellent ireport! 

August 3, 2010
Click to view seasave's profile

We now have the GULF OF MEXICOIL. Thanks

September 15, 2010
Click to view nmrealist's profile

My opinion is. How many people are going to figure out that if the UNITED STATES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT din't get involved this would have been delt with much sooner. BP needs to be held acountable up to the point that our government interviened which was a couple of days after the fact. If the government had not done what they always do and fuck up an already fixed situation this would not have been as big a problem as we have now. If every one would do the research this problem was fixable with in a few days if not weeks. The federal gov. got a hold of it and found that they could make a lot of money off of this situatuaion, just by prolonging it. This should not be looked at as BP,s fuck up as much as the federal governments lack of assistance in geting out of the fucking way of the people that know what they are fucking doing. That is what caused the most problem. I have said it many times. THE UNITED STATES GOVENRMENT NEEDS TO GET ITS HEAD OUT OF ITS ASS AND LET PEOPLE LIVES THIER LIVES. That means letting the oil fields deal with things the way they know how and not the way the government doesn't know how.

January 14, 2011
Click to view Maxstorm's profile

well I have read everyone’s argument and the truth of the matter is that this is a terrible path we are headed down everyone is so quick to point the finger but truthfully there is not enough fingers on your hands we need oil period for many different reasons it defiantly is a blessing and a curse but we also need to conduct business concerning oil much better from top to bottom but there is no overnight fix you can’t polish a terd but you can wipe some crap off it so if your complaining get to wiping

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