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    Posted May 18, 2010 by
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Track the oil disaster

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    It's what we can't see...


    Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the Chandeleur Islands with a friend and Capt. Mark Stelby.  Today reminds me of how I felt after Hurricane Katrina, in that, it is difficult to communicate the DEGREE of devastation my eyes beheld. 

    We left in a large fishing boat from Ocean Springs, MS.  As we approached the inland islands I immediately heard the beautiful sound of the birds and watched them flying among the wetland islands.  We traveled along the inner bayous in a smaller boat and the water appeared so clear we could see the bottom at 4 feet.  I sat there and just let my senses take over and I enjoyed the sights and sounds of nature for a short time.  I saw a school of Dolphins pass by the boat and brown pelicans flying overhead.  There was a cool breeze blowing in my hair and the sun was burning my shoulders. It was then I realized the obvious LACK OF BOOM, as well as, the LACK OF ANYONE putting boom OUT!!!  

    As we journeyed farther out to other islands, we saw brown pelicans nesting.  It was a sight to behold.  We also saw the boom.  However it appeared shoddy and was sinking in places. 

    There was also a shrimp boat in the distance loaded with boom and several smaller boats in the area.  I was glad that BP was using a local shrimper to help put out boom.  But why weren’t there more people out there?  I know local fishermen want to protect their waters and would not turn down the opportunity to save their wetlands.

    As we continued to the outer islands we saw “NAVY” painted on large, sturdy, black boom surrounding some of the outer islands containing nesting pelicans and other birds. It was then we said, “GO NAVY”!

    The difference in the boom was night and day.  However it wasn’t the boom that caught my eye first this time.  It was the “stuff” in the water.  The oil and the left over dispersants left a foamy oily sheen on top of the water.  We saw a dead Portuguese Man of War trapped in the debris.  I counted between 10 and 15 of them dead on just this trip.  I also heard on news broadcasts of them washing up on the beaches along the gulf coast.  I wonder what role they play in the food chain…   

    While we were out there my nose and the back of my throat began to burn as I inhaled the putrid smelling air.  My eyes were also burning.  In looking at the water we could see the dispersed oil floating and drifting with the tides.  We could actually see the different stages the oil went through as it dispersed.  I tried to convey that in the pictures the last one being underwater shots of fish swimming in dispersed oil.

    We saw a northern gannet with oil on its wings trying to get to land.  However it could not get over a boom due to the OIL ON ITS WINGS!!!  Tears began to well up in my eyes as my friend and I used a fish net from the boat to lift the gannet over the boom into the cleaner water with access to the island.  We watched as he began preening himself and attempting to fly without success.

    Shortly afterward we saw a chunk of “something” floating in the water.  It was black like burnt oil and looked like a broken piece of concrete.  It had little shells on its sides and appeared porous.  I took the net once again and tried to scoop it into the boat but it was too heavy.  Yet it was floating!!!!  On our journey in we saw a second chunk of the “something” larger than the first floating in the water. What are those things? They appear to be pieces of the rig or debris from the explosion.  Does anyone know? 

    Everyone on the boat was ready for some clean air.  My eyes still burned and I was getting a head-ache.  Their throats and chests hurt so we headed for home. 


    President OBAMA, Please step up and take over this fiasco of a disaster that is taking place right NOW.  Put American’s to work to contain the well and clean up the aftermath and make BP foot the bill.  It has been over 1 month and they have just floundered around appearing clueless while our waters and wetlands are suffering.  You MUST stop this well.  BP obviously does not have the capability of stopping it.  Other oil companies such as Shell, Exxon, etc. do not know how to stop it or they would have stepped up to the plate and offered their assistance by now.  Who is overseeing them right now as they attempt to stop this well and clean up their mess?  The Minerals Management Service?  Please, don’t make me laugh… 

    I still cannot understand how a company can be allowed to drill a well when it does not have Safety Procedures or Guidelines in place with the capability to stop the flow of oil in an emergency or disaster.  I have so many questions and no one has any answers.

    As we got on the road and headed for home, I noticed families at the beach with small children SWIMMING and playing in the water.  It was then I said to a friend…  “It’s what we can’t see that is most frightening to me”. 

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