2011 August 30
Gulf of Mexico
We flew today to find whale sharks, so that scientists who were out there in a boat could fit them with tags that would report their gps positions and ultimately tell us more about them. The seas were utterly calm, like glass. The bait balls were glistening everywhere as we flew to open seas south of Grand Isle about 100 miles. We were so optimistic! Alas, in over six hours of flying covering almost 600 miles, not a one was found today. Nor a single sperm whale. We found two huge pods of bottlenose dolphin, one with over 100 individuals, another with at least 75. And a couple of fine leatherback sea turtles. But between those sightings -- and sometimes uncomfortably close to them, all we found was what we are so very tired of seeing -- more and more OIL.
In fact, we found so much oil out in the Macondo Prospect (near the site of the April 2010 explosion), that we have an 11-minute video of it that never covers the same area twice! Not since last summer have we seen this kind of expansive surface sheen. Metallic-gray and rainbow swirls stretched for miles, mixed with dark-brown stuff that resembled weathered crude more than sargassum weed. And there were those round-shaped 'globs' of oil again, here, there, and everywhere it seemed. We did not want to see this stuff anymore!
Read more here.