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2013 February 17, Sunday
Mississippi River - Barataria Bay - MC252 - Main Pass

UPDATE:  Video of the Taylor Energy site has been uploaded. Also, another flight on March 08 shows that the clearer views and good news were short-lived!

We took advantage of gorgeous (but windy) weather and reasonably calm seas to check out some areas in the Gulf today. We started along the Mississippi River where there are several targets of local environmental concern: two large (and growing larger) coal terminals and a new natural pass that is feeding the wetlands but is being blocked by a private road being built. We then diverted west to look at Bay Jimmy and Barataria Bay, where oyster and shrimp fishermen have been extremely hard hit.  From there we flew southeastward over the delta, past the Taylor Energy chronic pollution site and out to the MC252 area (gravesite of BP's Deepwater Horizon). The good news is that the large surface sheen we've been seeing in the MC252 area seems to have gone! On our way home, we flew over the Apache Corporation Ensco 87 rig in Main Pass block 295, which was evacuated a couple of days ago because of an upwelling of natural gas.  Between there and New Orleans, we were treated to gorgeous views of Breton Island and the wetlands.  We also saw the first pod of dolphins we've seen between Louisiana and the Macondo in almost a year! A small pod of seven, but heartening to see.

Here are a few "teaser" photos from today.  Many more, with supporting descriptions, are included below. As always, our GPS flight tracks can be download here, and a transcription of our Flight Log is appended at the bottom of this article.

{gallery}20130217-TEASERS{/gallery}

Read the full article and see all of the photos here!