I spent the weekend at Gulf Shores with The Hunter and a few of our friends. We stayed at a very nice condo, that had 6 very nice pools. We went to a concert Saturday night at an outside venue (The Wharf at Orange Beach). It was a lot of fun, and I really had a great time.
What wasn't fun was looking at our beaches. Our once white sandy beaches, are now a stained rust color, and covered in traces of oil. I went out walking along the beach Saturday morning, and I was disgusted. I only walked about 300 yards down the beach. You couldn't get close to the water, because there is oil all in the water that can be visibly seen. This particular stretch of beach has already been cleaned, and it is still covered in oil.
These photos were taken from our balcony on the 10th floor of the condo. There are boats as far as you can see, I counted alteast 6 oil tankers. The boats siphon up the oil, and then unload it onto the tankers.
The sad part is that while all of those boats are out cleaning up the oil......
You can still see huge globs of oil floating in the water that they missed. I have circled some of the oil globs for you to see. You may have to click on the picture to enlarge it. The oil spots are a dark brown, rust color.
There is oil here just 2 - 3 feet from the shore, as well as particles of it breaking on the shore in the waves.
The particles are tiny, like a grain of sand. They cover the beaches, and float in the water.
Here you can see a line of oil that starts on the left side of the picture.
If you look closely, you can see the oil sheen and small particles of oil in this photo.
A small pool of water with oil sheen.
A larger pool of water with oil sheen.
The dark spots in the waves as they reach the shore is oil.
You can see the oil particles pretty good in this photo.
I tried to stay away from the water, and any area that had oil. That was easier said than done. There isn't much room to walk on the beach that does not have oil on it. I got splashed by a wave. When I looked down I had oil on my legs and feet.
A few of the oil cleanup workers watch the water.
This picture speaks volumes to me. If you have ever been to Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, you know how white the sand is. The sand will blind you on a sunny day it is so bright. You can see how white they are on the bottom left of the picture. The other area is covered in oil particles, and has stained the beach. When you walk, the particles accumulate on your feet, and build up to form a big glob.
Every condo has a oil cleanup station. There is a water hose, a heavy duty degreaser, and alcohol that you must use to clean your feet and any other areas that may have oil. The sign really broke my heart. It is not something you should see at the end of a condo pier.
Brooke is cleaning her feet and legs off so we can get into the pool area.
I had a few small oil spots on the bottom of my flip flops. I had to scrub it off.
These photos were taken from our balcony. This was early Sunday morning. You can see there are numerous spots of oil on the beach. All of the dark spots, lines or blobs along the beach or in the water is oil.
Sunday morning there was a huge line of oil about 10 feet from shore. It went as far to my left and right as I could see. It eventually washed up on shore. It was oil particles that had formed a clump.
These signs were placed in the elevators. There were red flags, or double red flags along the beaches. Red flag means swim at your own risk. Double red flags mean that it is illegal to get into the water. Depending on what area of beaches you were on, the flags may differ. I can tell you that I WOULD NOT get in the water even if there was no flag. If I can see the oil in the water, I am not going to get in it, and have oil all over me.
So instead...we went to the pool. We had a few very nice pools at our condo. There were 3 on the beach side, and then 3 on the other side of the road where the condo was. The condo has a pedestrian walkway that you cross over the street to get to these pools, and the beach.
There were helicopters flying over atleast every 5 minute. If I had to guess, they were looking for oil, and would radio to the ships as to where to go. There were fourwheelers, and tractors driving all along the beaches. It was like a mini interstate of off road vehicles.
This trip to the beach was much different from my vacation to the beach last June. Last June I spent a week with my family down Fort Morgan Road in Gulf Shores. You can click HERE to see those pictures, and see how much it has changed. It will be a very long time before we get our white sandy beaches back. I sat and watched so much oil wash up on a 100 foot stretch of beach. I thought about all of those workers who had already been there and cleaned that section, and how they would be back to clean that section over, and over, and over to clean it again. That is just one small section. When you have 1,264 miles of coastline to clean it seems like an endless task.