Saturday, January 28, 2006

A Dauphin day

More than 75% of my belongings are still in storage in Mobile, Alabama -- the closest storage facility available when I moved to Pensacola Beach as a full-time resident -- darn hurricanes! Yesterday, after a search for a couple of needles in the haystack of storage, my sweetie and I took a road trip to Dauphin Island.

I was surprised to see what I considered little hurricane damage compared to what we suffered here on Pensacola Beach. Even now we see a few blue roofs in Pensacola, but nothing of that nature was evident as we approached Dauphin Island or even when we first crossed the bridge. All that changes, however, as you reach the west end of Dauphin Island. The further west you travel, the worse the destruction.

I noticed a number of homes did not use pilings typical of those on Pensacola Beach. For lack of technical knowledge, I can only say many of the homes more severely damaged had "skinny" or "square" pilings. Again, on the westernmost end of the island, the type of pilings used didn't seem to matter as much. The storm surge must have been incredible.

The thing that disturbed me most on Dauphin Island was the number of oil-drilling platforms located offshore. It was appalling to look out on the horizon and count the number of them located anywhere from 5 to 20 miles offshore. If you double-click on the photo above, you can see two or three of them in the distance, but there were probably fifteen or more on the Gulf side of the island. There were even a couple of the oil-drilling platforms on the Sound side of the island which were built much, much closer to shore.

If anyone doubts offshore drilling can affect Pensacola Beach, I'd suggest reading the editorial about Florida's offshore drilling fight in today's Pensacola News Journal and a day trip to Dauphin Island!

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