2011 September 21, Wednesday
Gulf of Mexico -- Taylor Energy site and the Macondo "Prospect"

Rain and high seas have kept most boats and people near shore for the past week.  A brief break  and a lightning-free path from the tip of Louisiana southeastward about 85 miles sent a determined group of concerned citizens out to try to collect some of the fresh oil we've been documenting, with On Wings Of Care guiding their path.  The oil was exactly where it has been for the past several weeks, so the initial rendezvous point we gave them put them almost in the middle of it.  Once we arrived, a slight shift in position by less than a mile brought them to some serious ugly...

Here are the facts from today's observations.  It was dark and stormy, though seas were fairly calm. The lighting was as poor as it could be for video or photography.  But the oil is unmistakable.  

First, the Taylor Energy site, just 12 miles off shore from the tip of Louisiana's "Birds' Foot Delta", continues to leak chronically.  This is no small slick.  Today we noted an unmistakable sheen that extended two to three miles from west to east in a band at least 300 yards wide, and another band of sheen attached to that one at the west end that ran north-south at least 1.5 miles.  (For more details, see our transcribed Flight Log below.)  There were two working vessels there, at least one of which appeared to have divers or submersibles down.   Video and photos are below.  

NOTE:  Unless noted, no photos or video provided by On Wings Of Care are "photoshopped" or otherwise altered in any way that could degrade accurate interpretation of what we observed.

 

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Second, in the Macondo prospect, about 65 miles east-southeast from shore, we saw long lines of sheen from northwest to southeast, and more heading eastward as far as we could see.  We followed them for several miles after we guided the collecting vessel to large patches of milky-rainbow sheen within the larger slicks.  Video and photos below.

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  We've said about all we know to say about this still-bleeding wound here in the Gulf.  We just keep showing you where and what it is in hopes that you -- the human beings who are the only force who can protect the increasingly fragile marine environments of this planet -- will take this credible information and run the next leg of the race that seems to face humans, the race between sustainability and ruin, between stewardship and exploitation.   If not you, who?


Please take this information and use it to be constructive for the planet, for the lives of future generations of humans and wildlife and wetlands and nature in general! -- Bonny, On Wings Of Care


The "Intro" photos below show our flight map plus a photo of our aircraft GPS that depicts the weather we were staying just barely north of while out near the Macondo.  The photo over the water that almost looks black and white is what the lighting made everything look like out there today; even the southernmost shores of Louisiana looked barely green in today's light.



The following photos follow the chronological progression of today's flight.  

First the pogey-processing boat (six photos, gps waypoint 0018); here are photos and a video:


Then the vessels and rigs north of and near the Taylor Energy site (gps points 0019 and 0020):


Then the Taylor Energy slick:


Then some vessels --  the Sea Angel and the Lisa Ann (gps point 0024):


Then the Macondo oil:




Then the rigs on the way home, and finally the Venice marina area:

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20110921 - On Wings Of Care Gulf Flight Log - Taylor Energy and Macondo areas

Note: All lat/longs are in degrees and decimal minutes; all times are in UTC (Z =CDT + 0500).

0018: N29 32.246, W89 17.118, 1534Z. Pogey boat, processing. Dead fish carcasses everywhere, lots of birds feeding.

0019: N29 15.838, W89 06.594, 1546Z. Two vessels (about one mile apart, on our east and west), both with cranes -- for underwater work? The one on the west was using the crane to offload a supply boat. Boat name "John Michael E"

TAYLOR ENERGY OBSERVATIONS 20110921:
0020: N28 56.355, W89 00.017, 1601Z. nearing Taylor Energy site , yellow buoy, unmistakable sheen from west to east, and at its west end a N-S line about 1.5-nm long. 2-3 nm from west to east, at least 300 m wide (N-S). Working barge to the west with crane and looks like divers/submersibles down. From west beyond W89°, east to beyond W88°55'.

0021: N28 57.716, W89 01.610, 1612Z. Sheen continues, westward another 2 nm from here!


0022: N28 53.666, W88 59.945, 1615Z. This is where the N-S line began, we followed it southward to an orange buoy, it seemed to end just north of a platform at 0023.

0023: N28 51.775, W88 56.720, 1617Z. Platform ("Stone") just S of where the N-S part of the slick appears to end (or start?).

(no waypoint number): N28 54, W88 29.7: Old trawler "Sea Angel" (photo#3812).

0024: N28 54.111, W88 16.845, 1640Z. Long-liner (Vessel of Opportunity?), lots of orange buoys. "Lisa Ann"

MACONDO AREA OBSERVATIONS 20110921:
All waypoints below are associated with oil seen in this area. Very long lines of sheen from NW-SE and also eastward. Some with milky and rainbow patches, others light surface sheen. Lighting VERY poor due to heavy cloud cover and precipitation all around us.

0025: N28 54.890, W88 14.792, 1642Z.

0026: N28 54.872, W88 14.351, 1651Z.
0027: N28 51.631, W88 07.584, 1719Z.

0028: N28 50.933, W88 05.850, 1720Z.

0029: N28 49.803, W88 03.843, 1722Z.

0030: N28 52.036, W88 03.253, 1724Z. Rig - BP MC127.

0031: N28 58.670, W88 37.365, 1748Z. Rig - VK989, plus supply boat "Inspiration"

0032: N29 04.868, W88 44.106, 1748Z. "Duplex" rigs - two connected to each other.

(no waypoint marked): 1759Z. Chevron platform, MainPass 313 (photo 3852)

0033: N29 11.447, W88 56.709, 1802Z. Rig was flaring.