Friday, June 04, 2010

Oil on Pensacola Beach

I am so sad to tell my blog followers that "oil balls" began washing up on Pensacola Beach overnight.

Two weeks ago I completed an online HAZWOPER course which was required to continue sea turtle patrols if/when the oil made it to Pensacola Beach. Now that oil is washing in, we expect word to come down today which requires us start wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) during our patrols. Basic PPE for us would be rubber boots, a tyvek suit and gloves.

As I told a friend, in my worst nightmare I could not have dreamed of someday needing HAZWOPER credentials and Personal Protective Equipment to complete my sea turtle patrols in this place we call paradise.

Even worse is the fact that we are now into June and have not discovered a single sea turtle nest in our area (as of yesterday) which includes Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, and the Santa Rosa and Ft. Pickens areas of Gulf Island National Seashore. The sea turtle species which nest in our area are already on either the threatened or endangered list and we have no idea how this eco-catastrophe is impacting them. I can wear protective gear during a patrol while the beach is being cleaned, but the sea turtles are basically swimming in a poison soup in some areas.

Many people in Florida, self included, fought to stop offshore drilling in our state, but I don't think most of us knew the extent to which we could be affected by the wells farther away. My heart breaks for the people of Louisiana, their shrimpers, their beautiful marshlands and estuaries, and the innocent wildlife which is being destroyed. The eco-system will be affected for decades and the whole Gulf Coast is grieving.

BP's current ad which states, "We will make this right," would be laughable if it wasn't such an affront. They have forever changed us, our way of life, and our beautiful Gulf water and beaches. This event can't be made right in our lifetime. Our children, grandchildren, and generations to come will be dealing with the aftermath. Yes, we will be able to clean up our beaches over time, but some of the more sensitive marine and wildlife could be lost forever.

Each of us would "like our life back", too, Mr. Hayward.


Novice Naturalist said...

This is devastating news which has loomed as inevitable for a time now. Especially sad is the news that to date none of the turtles has made it through to nest. I agree that the hubris of "We will make it right" is an affront to Pensacola, the entire Gulf--to nature! Novice Naturalist (Jay)

Loui♥ said...

I too am weeping with sorrow..
unspeakable grief..
for our paradise lost..
am praying for NO GULF HURRICANES!
warm sandy hugs from Panama City..

Annie Patterson said...

Im so sorry DJ.

Unknown said...

I sit outside of Dallas and cry almost every day. This morning was not just tears in my eyes but the really bad 'Ugly Cry". We were supposed to be there in August with our whole family. We cancelled 3 weeks ago and held on hope that things would be ok. I am sickened by what has changed my favorite place FOREVER. My thoughts and prayers are for the residents both human and not.

Barrier Island Girl said...

Dynamite, I am so sorry. I wish your family was still coming. We need our tourist more than ever now. We are already busy cleaning the beach even though we can't control the water situation until BP gets that darn well capped.

I assure you that as I hiked around the beach today our beautiful white sand still "barked" with every step I took. Not many beaches can boast they have barking sand. :-) And I could not smell any odor of oil on the sea breeze, so that's a good thing too.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. We are going to need them through this summer.


Landlocked in Oklahoma said...

DJ, I am Dynamite's sister. The plan now is wait and see. We canceled our reservations, knowing that we would probably be able to find a condo last minute (unfortunately for your economy). If the disaster does not hit as hard as we fear our family will be there in August.

We come from a rather large family of Pensacola Beach lovers. My kids have not seen a "good beach" yet. I pray that we are able to make our trip. More importantly I pray for the people of the Gulf Coast, and it's wildlife. May God work miracles please!

Also, thanks for your blog. I use it to peak into heaven every chance I get.

Barrier Island Girl said...

Dynamite and Landlocked, I'm so hopeful that things will work out for all of us so that you will be able visit our beach later this year and that it will be as beautiful as ever. I'll keep you updated on my blog.