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Gulf Of Mexico Overflight 2011 March 22 Tuesday

Today we made two separate flights.  On both flights we explored the Chandeleur Islands and south, and on the second flight we explored a large area from Grand Isle to 35 miles off shore, for about a 50-mile stretch from south of Grand Isle, LA westward to south of Isles Dernieres.  Sad to say, we found extensive surface sheen in the latter area, along with much of the subsurface brownish-red plumes similar to what we saw the previous day near the Chandeleurs.  (See video of the Grand Isle and southwestward areas taken the next day, Mar 23.) Today, we took many photos of the similarly strange-looking subsurface plumes and sreamers west and south of the Chandeleur Islands.  The latter extended approximately 20 nm (nautical miles) NE-SW and was about 10 nm wide). 

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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More photos are shown below, and we have many more that we haven't yet uploaded.  We hope to have results of laboratory analyses of water samples from this area in the coming weeks.  We spoke with the USCG about this and hope that the public will also hear explanation from them ... but suggest we not hold our breath for that, folks.  Until we can say more definitively, we'll postpone writing a summary and instead include below for you the actual notes I wrote on my blackberry phone during both of these flights, which will give you some of the most critical location details (lat/longs in decimal degrees). The very fine photos were provided by James Scott and Robert Kerian from California, who came out here to help document the state of the Gulf at this time and who helped cover the aircraft operating expenses for these flights.  Thank you, James and Robert!


For a google map of this or any other flight we've made in the preceding week, you can always go the SPOT share page, whose link is on the left side of our Home page.  For this particular flight, you can also see a Google map that has the points in my notes together with the comments for each location, at the following link (thanks to Don Abrams for making this when I sent him these notes from my phone during the flight):,-88.840942&spn=0.553543,1.234589&t=h&z=

2011 Mar 22 Tuesday - 2 Gulf flights.
Here are Bonny's notes typed on her Blackberry and transmitted as possible during the flights.
Photos follow these notes below. 

1.  BLS, James West (for GRN), Jesse Fineran

KNEW - Chandeleurs - KNEW

29.86995. 089.03569
1 nm by 0.3 nm surface sheen, rainbow
About 10 nm w of chandeleurs

29.66361. 089.10732
Red plumes under

29.60283. 089.11828
More red plumes

Just N of gas platforms "Blk 2"
Just N of the gas platform is a jackup rig and supply boat

GPS #8138
29.54695. 089.14377
Big red line 2nm long sw to ne
Much bigger than the obvious leakage from many of the platforms

GPS #8139
29.52959 089.14745

GPS #8140
For at least 10 nm s sw and 2 nm wide deep red plumes and darker streamers

GPGS #8141
29.51247. 089.15601

Same, horrible

GPS #8142
29.49164 089.16125

Drilling plaform
Not related?

Bad stuff is well north of it

Small island here
Oh No!
Ne n ne w of the island thick red crap 0.3 mi wide
It's a rookerie!

A round gas(?) plant on the s side of the island
This ain't MS mud!

Oh no!  Still here 10 nm south and west
GPS #8143
This is huge
Climbed to 1500' for a wide shot
Clouds obscure slightly with shadows
But the streamers and plumes are shaped differently from cloud shadows.

Granite barge at 29.44409. 089.19831. Headed sw.  Full.  Why where?  GPS #8144

For the drilling rig?

8145. 29.47268. 089.21986
A noaa buo
Plumes and streamers everywhere
I guess this IS massive
It's as far as we can see even at 1600'

We're heading back to knew to get the video gear.
Will get Grand Terre Island then.

Ed et al -- Distribute this as you wish.  
Will have photos and video by late tonight.

Bonny L. Schumaker-- Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


2.  BLS, James West (for GRN), Robert ____ (for GRN)

KNEW - Grand Isle - 30 nm south - 30 nm west - N to Isles Dernieres - NE to south of Chandeleurs - KNEW

Starting 10 nm s of grand isle,
Surface rainbow sheen
Then the deep red plumes
28.90051 090.00054
Many large tanker-like ships parked plus smaller ones with long orange pipe-like floating tubes and buoys.
Bubbles at the surface about 20 m away from the bigger ships all around them.

28.90. 090.50
Surface light sheen, distinct but little rainbow visible.
Some of the deep red stuff further east - south of grand isle but not seen south of terrabonne bay.  Lots of wind rows so we took care to circle often to be sure we were seeing sheen.

Now headed back to chandeleurs via grand isle, will check closer to shore enroute.
Port fourchon beaches:
South, starting half mile  off shore - large expanse of rainbow sheen and some subsurface plumes.  At least 10 miles e-w.

Basically this surface sheen is almost everywhere from a few miles off shore south (we were as far as about 30 nm off shore, from S of Isles Dernieres to S of grand terre island.

Hard to see subsurface plumes in this low light and very murky rough water.

No animals except a few dolphins about 30 nm S of Isles Dernieres.

Now back to chandeleurs:
50nm 137 deg from KNEW the red stuff starts.
But light angle is too low to get video or good photos, oh well.  The plumes are there tho.
Back to knew.

Bonny L. Schumaker-- Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry