Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A little sand, a little water and lots of oil

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.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fertilizer Friday 6/25/10


TGIF!!! Boy am I glad this week is over!!! It is time to flaunt those flowers! Head on over to Tootsie Time to flaunt yours, or see other bloggers flaunt theirs.




These flowers are thriving in this heat! I have not watered any this year, only getting water from Mother Nature. So far, so good.

Above: Purple Coneflowers, Black Eyed Susan & Prairie Coneflower



Black Eyed Susan


Purple Coneflowers with Prairie Coneflower in background


Purple Coneflower


Prairie Coneflower



Heirloom Hibiscus, Double Daylily, Plumbago, Cahaba Lily


Phlox and Cahaba Lily


Cahaba Lily



Heirloom Hibiscus
I haven't been able to catch it in bloom. They bloom early in the morning, and close up around lunch. Since I work...I only have the mornings to catch the bloom open. Since it is so hot and humid here, the camera lens fogs up before I can get a good shot. But am not a quitter....so I won't give up just yet!


Plumbago


Black Eyed Susan


Monarda, Black Eyed Susan, Phlox, Crocosmia


Monarda is almost done putting on a show



Crocosmia


Phlox


Gladiola
My glads didn't do very well this year. I have a lot of them, but some had very bad blooms on them...they looked old and shriveled up.


Morning Glory Tree


Sapphire Sage


and a few juicy blueberries!

I am heading to Orange Beach tomorrow for the weekend. This will be the first time I have been to the beaches since the oil washed ashore. I am taking my camera to get plenty of pics to share with ya'll. I don't know what to expect. I see the pictures everyday on our local tv stations and newspaper, but to see it is person is different. I think it will hit me once I am there. It is devastating enough on the news....in person is going be completely different.

Our local economy and businesses have been utterly devastated by this. Every condo on the beaches is empty through Labor Day. People our out of jobs, and worse of all, people are taking their own lives due to their livelihood being lost.

The oxygen level of our local water is dangerously below normal level, and contains extremely high levels of methane gas. This is basically smothering the fish, and they are dying in masses. Most of the fish are coming in shore to search for more oxyginated water. In turn, the other animals that feed on them (dolphins and sharks) are also coming in shore. Scientist have different 3 new species of fish since this oil spill. These are fish that are deep water fish, that have died and been captured on the surface of the water.

I doubt they will ever have an accurate count of how many birds have died. We have so many marshes, and inlets here, that it would be virtually impossible for them to recover them. They go up into the delta, and they die. They get eaten by other predators, and will never be found.

It is a viscious, endless cycle. Everyday it seems to get worse and worse. Unlike a hurricane, that does its damage all at once. This oil leak seems to be endless, and the people all along the coastal south (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama & Florida) are greatly suffering, as are the marine life. God bless the men and women that are out there cleaning the oil up off the beaches. Everytime I see pictures of them in those HOT,white hazmat clean up suits, it pains me. I get hot walking outside for 10 minutes, in a tank top and flip flops! So being out on a beach in a zip up body suit in 98 degrees has got to be misery.

So please keep us in your prayers. We need it.

Please sign my guest book :)

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