First Hand account: Florida Beaches Are Polluted With Oil (I was wrong)
A local Florida resident who advocated the use of dispersants and had been denying that Florida waters have been polluted by the BP Gulf Oil Spill now admits he was wrong and the waters are polluted in a first hand account of the devastation.
First, let me apologize to all those members that I have criticized for putting down the Florida beaches. I have been lobbying for our beaches since the start, and I have had many good trips to the beach. That ended today, and I am disgusted. I just finished an hour long shower for me and the kids.
Second, let me say that I have lived in this area for 10 years. I am familiar with the normal way the beach looks, the water looks, the wildlife reacts. I am familiar with the seasonal changes. I have ridden out storms, I know what Red Tide and storm damage looks like. I have swam at closed beaches, I have surfed in storm surges, etc., etc.
I am going to post 5 videos and some snap shots. The videos are revealing, but they don’t compare to the real thing.
Normally…….Our beaches are sugary white. The quartz is unique to this area. It leaves the Appalachian Mountainsand it is pinkish. It is sun bleached and it is so pure it squeeks when you walk on it. Of all thebeaches I have experienced in Cancun, Cozumel, Jamaica, Hawaii, the West Coast, of all of the beaches, the Florida Panhandle is by far the prettiest. It has sugar white, squeeky sand, and beautiful emerald green water, visibility for snorkelers and scuba divers is typically almost 100 ft. There is no place better.
Today, we noticed something was……just off? The water was darker, the seaweed was worse, the beach was littered with Conch shells. The Horshoe crabs were aggressive. The fish were jumping a lot. But, we waded in anyway. At first we thought the seaweed had made the water darker. A tropical system passed through a few days ago, so it made sense. Once we were in the water, it felt different. It was slicker, and it burned some scrapes on my leg. Typically the seawater is soothing to skin. Today it was uncomfortable. Still we pushed on, hate to waste a good beach day, and we were looking forward to watching a sunset.
After some wading, we decided not to submerge and swim, it was just too dirty. We sat down on the beach and I dug down in the sand a little. To my surprise the hole filled with chocolate colored water? This has never happened before, no matter how much seaweed or silt is present. It NEVER penetrates the sand, and if you dig a hole you always get crystal clear water. Now I was getting very concerned!
My wife and I got up and looked more closely at the water, and we made our kids back away from it. Only now did we notice the suspended frothy brown color. We looked at each other and down the beach and we noticed a linear striation of color. The typical bright white sand was up on the dunes, but as we looked closer to the water, lines of darker and darker water marks were present. At the water line the sand was grey/black. I took my foot and dug down and the sand below the surface was brown and oily looking. The water that filled the hole, even many feet from the beach, the water that filled the hole was brown and cloudy!!
Now, the seaweed, dead conches, erratic fish behavior, and odd feeling seawater all made sense.
The dispersants are certainly working. The oil is thoroughly mixed into the sea water. It isn’t washing up on the shore, instead it is embedding into the sand. The filter fish are feeling the effects the worst. The oyster beds and shell fish are dying off. The seaweed is dying. Sadly, people were fishing just down the beach from us!!
Here are the videos and I am still working on getting the snapshots up. Please feel free to ask questions. I am totally disheartened and upset at this moment. My wife was feeling depressed and we went to the beach to cheer up. That was a big mistake!
Read the original post and discussion on Above Top Secret.