News!

20140618-22 - Sampling Taylor Energy site

2014 June 18 and 22
12 miles offshore from the tip of Louisiana
The “Taylor Energy” oil slick — a chronic 10-year-running severe oil pollution site

Barely 12 miles off the tip of Louisiana in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico lies a semi-permanent, large, poisonous oil slick.  It has been renewing itself daily since it first appeared in the summer of 2004, when Hurricane Ivan destroyed an oil production platform together with several tens of active pipelines.  There is no end in sight for this ongoing sickening pollution.  The blame lies primarily with imprudent drilling practices, not by a single corporation but by most if not all of the oil and gas industry. Put most simply, the wells in this area, most of which were put in place prior to the 1990s, were drilled too vertically and in too close proximity to each other.  And, like most other wells in the Gulf of Mexico, they are located in the natural paths of hurricanes.  The seafloor in this area is covered with mud, and underwater mudslides are the rule, not the exception. The end result is a chronic pollution crisis that threatens anyone near enough to see, smell, taste, or contact it with a life-threatening dose of hydrocarbon poisoning. To those of us who fly offshore regularly, its site is a frequent reminder of what an even larger area looked like after the 2010 BP disaster.

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeIdc7e42d4589

We have documented this pollution site from the air for over four years in articles on the OnWingsOfCare.org website and elsewhere, and we have provided aerial spotting support to scientists and engineers studying the site and ways to address the problem. On these two recent flights, we provided aerial guidance to scientists collecting samples of fresh and weathered oil from various locations in this area (June 18) and taking specialized aerial photos and videos to study properties of the oil (June 22). Results of these missions, like those before, will be published in scientific journals and publicly accessible websites, presented at scientific conferences, and used by government agencies as well as oil and gas companies.  With the permission of these scientists, we are continuing our practice of sharing some of these photos and videos with the public.  We know that citizens can only be as effective as they are well-informed, and the only way that our oceans will be preserved as healthy natural habitat for years to come is if a majority of human beings are informed and take action, whether directly or indirectly through effecting prudent legislation.

Here are maps showing the location of this site and these two recent flyovers.  At the end of this article we’ve reprinted our Flight Log for June 22, which covered roughly the same areas as the June 18 flyover except that the slick had moved somewhat, as it does regularly according to winds, sea currents, and weather.  Stormy weather between June 18 and June 22 had caused the appearance of the slick to change also, primarily in that less weathered oil had accumulated on the surface.

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeId33189b2d0e

See all of the photos and videos in the full article here!  
 

20140411- Barrier Islands Tour

20140411 Friday
Barrier Islands Tour, Gulf Coast

Today was a long day of flying over the Gulf of Mexico! But good weather windows like this are hard to miss, and we also had some very special people who had been waiting for a chance to get their first look at some of the Barrier Islands off the coasts of Mississippi and Louisiana. Of special interest to them also was some dredging going on toward th east end of coastal Mississippi, around Round Island and Singing River Island.  On the flight we caught a brief glimpse of Ship Island and also gave them a quick tour of the Chandeleurs. South of the Chandeleurs we were treated to the site of a pod of more than 10 dolphins, including a couple of juveniles.

Here are some of our favorite photos, thanks to Terese Collins and Vernon Asper.  These are followed by a few Google Earth maps showing where all of these islands are, and more photos are in the galleries below.  Enjoy!

{gallery}20140411-BarrierIsles-TEASERS{/gallery

See many more photos with maps here!

   

20140411- Taylor Energy Slick

2014 April 11 Friday
Taylor Energy Slick off the coast of Louisiana

On our way back from studying  natural seeps far off shore today (see that story here),  we couldn't resist flying over the infamous Taylor Energy pollution site less than 15 miles off the coast of Louisiana. We've published many articles and countless photos and videos of this desperately sad chronic, vast oil slick whose origin dates back to Hurricane Ivan in 2004.  We've talked at length with the US Coast Guard and government experts on the status of this pollution site and the work that has been done over the past ten years to mitigate it, and we understand the explanations that not much more can be done to stop it at this point. With USCG permission, we will publish more on that in the future. In the meantime, however, we continue to monitor it, and we will continue to share photos or videos with the public on a periodic basis. Suffice it to say, however, that it continues to loom large and ugly, a miles-long barrier between the muddy waters of the Sound and the green waters beyond.

We have a selection of photos taken both from the aircraft windows (obliquely) and the aircraft belly (vertically). As with the natural seeps, scientists like the nadir-viewing photos for studying properties of the oil. We like them because they offer such different views from those we're used to seeing when we look out from a boat or out and down from an aircraft.  The first photos below are of the oil at the Taylor Slick. Below those, we've collected some of the nicer photos of sargassum along today's route, as well as a few special sites such as a huge colony of egrets on one of the few remaining sizable coastal islands, and some interesting pictures of another offshore drilling platform, the "Deepwater Champion."  Enjoy!

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeId8a102fa06d

See all the photos here!
   

20140411- Studies of Natural Oil Seeps

2014 April 11 Friday
Lease Block Green Canyon 600 area -- Natural Gas/Oil Seeps
Gulf of Mexico

Today we re-visited this area located almost 200 miles south of New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico that is famous for its sea floor.  Not because of its exotic beauty or fascinating marine life, but for its cracks, from which emanate massive plumes of gas and oil. Two of these seafloor openings exude such strong streams of oil and oil-coated gas bubbles that scientists have nicknamed them "MegaPlume" and "Birthday Candles" after how they look in underwater camera footage. This is the Lease Block known as Green Canyon 600. A research vessel named "Atlantis" was there this week, carrying several scientists who have studied these plumes for years. They had with them a small boat called the "Avon" which they wanted to use to take surface oil samples from the area. We were there to direct the crew of the small sampling boat to those areas, because as you can see from the photos below, and as anyone who has attempted to find oil or marine life solely from a surface vessel, there is no substitute for "a look from above" for seeing the big picture of where things are.

Here are a couple of  photos just to give you a sense of the scale of this seep area.  The Atlantis is 274 ft long; the little Avon is about 14 ft long.  The surface oil lines stretch for several nautical miles!

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeId9f0a0e34c7

This Google Earth map showing our flight path also shows icons which refer to the sightings described in our Flight Log appended below.  You'll see the usual red circles denoting oil (circles with lines through them refer to surface oil that is a pollution incident, not a natural seep) as well as other icons denoting extraordinarily large patches or lines of sargassum as well as sightings of whales, sharks, turtles, large fish groups, large dolphin pods, and so on. Unfortunately, on today's flight we saw some fish groups (bait balls) and lots of sargassum, but we did not see any large marine life. We expect that is for two reasons: One, it is still early in the year for large marine life to be returning to feed in the Gulf; and Two, being that we were looking for surface oil, it's not much surprise that we would not find much marine life near those areas.  What never fails to surprise us, though, is just how many areas we find with substantial surface oil sheen.

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeId91728d2fff

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

   

20140319 - Coastal Islands Tour

2014 March 19 Wednesday
Island and coastal tour of eastern Louisiana

The interlude between end of the  work day and sunset and some clear skies gave us just enough time for a quick tour of the Chandeleur Islands and the eastern coastal areas of Louisiana.  Our special guests today were people whose life work involves aerial monitoring of ecological systems throughout North America and living close to the land in rural Wisconsin. The wetlands and coastal islands of Louisiana were a new and fascinating study for them, and they were even so fortunate as to see a small pod of adult and juvenile dolphins frolicking near the Chandeleurs.  Here is a map showing our clockwise tour, and just a few of our favorite photos from today.

20140314-OWOCWetlandsTour4Oceana-MapLarge1

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeIdb0245fc213

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

   

20140314 - Louisiana Wetlands Tour

2014 March 14
Coastal Wetlands of Louisiana

Today we were privileged to host friends from Oceana who have been monitoring the health of the Gulf here off the coast of Louisiana regularly since the BP disaster of 2010. They wanted to talk with people here -- fishermen, local citizens, people who worked the VOO boats, biologists, and more. And they wanted to see some things for themselves.  They took boats and were briefed extensively on the status of fisheries, wetlands and marsh restoration, and community health issues that remain a concern. And they also wanted to get "a look from above" to help put the big picture into better perspective.  Weather wasn't entirely cooperative while they were here, but we found a couple of hours with decent visibility and fairly calm seas, when we could squeeze into their busy schedules. They pitched in to help with our fuel costs, and off we went. Here is a map showing our flight route:

20140314-OWOCWetlandsTour4Oceana-MapLarge1

Read the article, see the photos and Oceana's video here!

   

20140402-Bayou Corne Flyover #16

2014 April 02, Wednesday
Bayou Corne, Louisiana

We have made several flyovers of Bayou Corne in 2014, but we have not been able to publish extensively yet this year.  This article, though brief, will be the first of many this year, as we hope to be able to spend time again helping our friends monitor marine life, ecosystem and habitat recovery in the wetlands of this beautiful area, and to help human habitat and humans as well.  The sinkhole in Bayou Corne, Louisiana, which we first documented in August of 2012, is one of those tragedies that no "Restore Act" is addressing, or perhaps can address.  Yesterday, a little more of what once seemed to be solid ground disappeared, taking with it more trees, and inching ever closer to storage tanks and other infrastructure.

Here are some highlights of the photos we took on a very quick flight this afternoon. You'll see many changes from what it looked like on our earlier flyovers (see them all under "Special Articles" in the right-hand margin of any page of the OnWingsOfCare.org website). Take a good look at the southeast corner, the farthest corner from the community.  Also, check out all of the dredging and other work going on in the bayous south of the sinkhole.

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeIdd3860e9dd9

 

See all the photos and video here!

   

20131124 - Bayou Corne Flyover #14

2013 November 24, Sunday
Bayou Corne, Louisiana

Two months since our last flyover of the Bayou Corne sinkhole, and our 14th "look from above" at this unfolding tragedy since August of 2012. Photos and video are provided below, with some comments reflecting on what we have seen over these past 16 months here.  We also bring you some interesting photos of sights between here and New Orleans, and along the Mississippi River and the famous "Cancer Alley."  Here are a few notable photos from today, with video and many more photos below:

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeIdaa0e5c9e55

See all the photos and video here!  

   

20130926 - OWOC Bayou Corne Flyover #13

2013 September 26, Thursday
Bayou Corne, Louisiana

Our 13th flyover of the Bayou Corne sinkhole since August 13, 2012, now 13 months after the first photos we brought to the public eye. We didn't see as much rainbow sheen on the surface of the sinkhole today, and it doesn't look any larger than it did a month ago. Wish we could think of something else non-negative to say about this tragic situation. But the proximity of the bayous and the community to the northwest that has been destroyed make that impossible.

In today's article, you'll see not just photos and video from today, but also a progression of photos starting from August of 2013 through late July of this year.  

Photos and videos from all of our previous flights can all be found in the right-hand margin of any page of this website, under "Special Articles", or under the main menu item "Preservation" and under that "Humanitarian."

See all the photos and video in the full article here!

   

2013 July - Searching for the Gulf Coast's "flying stars"

2013 July
Sabine, Pearl, and Pascagoula Rivers 
Texas-Louisiana-Mississipi

One of the most graceful of the world’s soaring raptors and the largest of the kite family, the swallow-tailed kite looks like a star as it flies, with a deeply-forked tail spread out behind its long, narrow, angular wings in almost a 2-to-1 ratio (wingspan about 4 ft to body length about 2 ft). Black tips and trailing edges on their wings and their black tail contrast sharply with their white heads and underbodies, giving them a striking and distinctive appearance.

Or so the books said. It’s a different story flying 400 feet above the treetops in fog and mist looking for these elusive angels! Even with powerful zoom lenses and fast shutter speeds, it was a challenge to see and count them while maintaining enough altitude and flying quietly enough to ensure that we did not disturb them.  Until we actually saw some swallow-tailed kites from the air, and our eyes and brains adapted to the small features we sought among the canopy of trees, it was pretty discouraging. The less experienced among us (myself included) began by eagerly calling out lichen, or egrets, once even a field of watermelon. But that just added to the thrill when we finally started finding the real thing. Check out the following pairs of photos: The photos on the left are what we saw with our eyes, those on the right are what the camera zoom lens showed us later. (The first two pairs of photos are swallow-tailed kites on the Pascagoula and Pearl Rivers, the third pair is a colony of egrets along the Pearl River.)

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeId7b13045b77

See all the photos and videos and the full article here!
   

20130719-0821 - Four more OWOC wildlife surveys in the Gulf of Mexico

2013 July 19--August 21
Gulf of Mexico, offshore Louisiana
Bouma & Ewing Banks east to Mississippi Canyon

Our latest four wildlife survey flights in the Gulf of Mexico were full of unpredicted and unwelcome weather obstacles, but our persistence brought us some interesting surprises! We found whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, pods of spinner and bottlenose dolphin, sperm whales, what we think are Cuvier's beaked whales, yellowfin tuna and other large fish, and a few of our favorite leatherback turtles. We didn't find the numbers we had hoped to find, but it was reassuring to find at least some where we would expect them to be at this time of year.

We also found plenty of surface oil slicks and sheen, which we've come to expect in this area of the Gulf of Mexico. Where there are oil slicks, we do not see much wildlife. In an area larger than 6000 square nautical miles that we've been surveying since last May, we have had a larger number of significant sightings of surface oil than of wildlife. "C'est la vie" in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana!

Here are just a few photos to give you a taste of what you'll find below.  

See all the photos and videos here! 

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeId9508056046

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeIdc2cdb40ae8

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeId01e5794f9d

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeId3b34343a94

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeIdc98d535561

See all the photos and videos here!

 


   

20130630-0702: Three Days' Search for Whale Sharks in the Gulf

2013 June 30, July 1, July 2
Gulf of Mexico - Ewing Bank and Mississippi Canyon

After our stunning find of 24 whale sharks on and east of Ewing Bank last June 20, scientists made a dedicated long week-end's trip in a chartered vessel, the FV Annie Girl, to see if we could get a repeat performance and tag some more of these gentle giants.  Alas, weather seldom cooperates with long-laid plans, and these three days that had held so much hope did not afford us calm or clear seas. As hard as we tried, blue water was pushed 30-40 nm farther south (offshore) than previously, and visibility both in the air and water was not great from the air. (Which meant it was even poorer from the surface.)  But we made the best of it, and we did see some beautiful sights we'd like to share with you.  And some not-so-beautiful sights, as in a few more significant oil slicks.  So enjoy the  photos and videos, and stay tuned for the articles from our subsequent flights -- July 19, July 31, August 04, August 20, and August 21!

Here are a few of our favorite photos:  Dolphins, some huge baitballs, an enormous beautiful bird rookery northeast of Isles Dernieres, sargassum and various sea phenomena, gorgeous shots of the coast and wetlands, weather near the city of New Orleans and an awesome waterspout offshore, and last but not least (unfortunately), oil slicks and their associated emissions.

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeId5ed8655051

Lots more photos and videos in the article, witih maps of where we flew and where all of the sightings were, and of course our complete flight logs and links to download our GPS flight tracks.  
See the full article, photos, videos and more here!

   

20130823- Update on SKIP the wonder dog, one year later!

2013 August 23
Update on SKIP - one year later!

Recall that wonderful English Shepherd "Skip", whose saga of rescue took him all across the country, from Arkansas to Illinois and finally to his true forever home in Maine?  (The original story was here, and the first update last March was here.) Well, his new family just sent us another update, now a year after we picked Skip up from a rescue in Arkansas and took him to his foster home in Illinois, before his forever family found him. Look at this dog now!  His eyes have matured and mellowed, and he is strong and happy. He is living the dream life, for sure!  

100_2830100_2833

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the update and see the rest of the new photos here

   

20130728 - OWOC Bayou Corne Flyover#11

2013 July 28, Sunday
Bayou Corne "sinkhole", Louisiana

In less than one week it will be one year since the residents of Bayou Corne, Louisiana were told to leave their homes and community because of unknown danger from explosive gases in a sinkhole formed when the wall of a nearby salt dome collapsed barely a mile away from the community.  We first flew over this small sinkhole in August of 2012, when its area was just a little over one acre, and trees were just beginning to give way and disappear into the depths. Now, one year later, that sinkhole spans about 24 acres and as nearly as deep as four football fields end-to-end.  What residents thought might be a 30-day precautionary evacuation has turned out to be the end of their community, the end of their retirement plans, the end of their lives as they knew them.

Relief wells were drilled nearby before autumn set in last year, and sensors were placed inside the cavern to monitor gas pressure and the integrity of the cavern walls. Natural gas is trapped in wet sand beneath the sinkhole, under a layer of clay. There are also caverns nearby (many tens of them are in this area) that have been used to store butane -- a gas that is highly flammable in its vaporform.  As long as the gas pressure remains low enough it, the risk of explosion remains manageably low.  But leakage of the gas, which helps keep that pressure low, has also meant that gas is appearing in the local aquifers and bayous, bringing the hazards of pollution and risks of possible explosion ever closer to the homes and community of Bayou Corne.  Seismic sensors have been put in place, and almost weekly there are alerts of substantial seismic activity, which could signal further collapse and consequent build-up of gas pressure.

The situation is tense and uncertain in Bayou Corne.  Many citizen volunteers have been present for months to try to help residents in any way they can. Ultimately though, Texas Brine, the owners of the well here -- which was actually plugged and sealed with cement in the summer of 2011, now two years ago -- will have to answer for the economic and environmental damage caused by the failed cavern that caused this sinkhole. And we all need to demand that appropriate regulations be adopted to enforce safety standards that will minimize the risk of damages like this happening again. Just as building codes are written to ensure lasting safety of structures and their surroundings, drilling codes must be written and adhered to, in order to ensure that activities do not compromise the short- or long-term health or safety of the environment.

Here are two photos from today's flight.  Below them are two photos from our flyover on August 13, 2012, almost one year ago. A full-length video of today's flyover is provided below.

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeIdb3369e3f0d

See the rest of the photo and the video here!
   

20130725 - Hercules Rig - 36 Hours Post-Explosion

2013 July 25, Thursday
Gulf of Mexico, Hercules 265 Rig

The jack-up rig we videotaped and photographed on Tuesday as it was burning and smoking with natural gas exploded that night. It burned all day yesterday. Today -- the Hercules #265 drilling rig is just a carcass. Here are a few photos; a video and a gallery of more photos is below, with a personal word from us while we have your attention. (:--)

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeIdaf917097db

See the video and the rest of the article and photos here!
   

20130723 - OWOC Bayou Corne Flyover #10

2013 July 23 Tuesday
Bayou Corne, Louisiana

We made a quick trip out to Bayou Corne, Louisiana today, after many concerned calls regarding recent seismic activity and potentially "explosive" levels of methane and other gases.  From the air, these dangerous circumstances are not readily visible.  What is apparent, however, is that the sinkhole has grown, and the lovely community to its west is virtually deserted.  

We'll let these photos speak for themselves.  Stay tuned for high-definition video as well. (Apologies for the delay in getting those processed and uploaded.)

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeId5e51a46403

See more photos and the video here!  
   

20130723 - Hercules Platform Explosion in Gulf of Mexico

2013 July 23, Tuesday
Gulf of Mexico, 100 nm south of New Orleans, LA

News came to us just as we landed from a picturesque six-hour flight on the Sabine River between Texas and Louisiana tracking endangered swallow-tailed kites: the Hercules Offshore drilling platform #265 located about 100 nm south of New Orleans had experienced a blowout this morning around 10am CDT. Lifeboats were used to evacuate 44 workers, none of whom experienced serious injuries.  We flew out there at around 2pm and found only about a mile of very light surface sheen to the east of the platform, which would support public statements that "only" natural gas is leaking at this time.

The rest of the facts will become clearer shortly, but for now, here are our photos from the site as of this afternoon. Stay tuned for our high-definition video to be uploaded shortly.  As always, our high-resolution photos and videos are available for all uses whose intent is to benefit the Gulf of Mexico and her life.  

Special thanks today to Peter Valdez, pilot and employee of Flightline First at New Orleans' Lakefront Airport, for joining us on this spur-of-the-moment flight and helping both with photography and flying!

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeId9883fb3724

Read the full article and see the video and other photos here!
   

20130710 - Bayou Corne Flyover #9

2013 July 10, Wednesday
Bayou Corne Sinkhole, Louisiana

We have yet to hear good news about the sinkhole situation in Bayou Corne, LA. Seeing it even once from the air is enough to make you realize that the hole isn't going away and the trees aren't coming back.  But it's not possible to look at this picturesque community built so tastefully and discreetly along these beautiful bayous, and not wish that somehow the sinkhole could just go away.

Today we flew there from the south, after a mission over the Gulf. It is an incredibly gorgeous flight to approach Bayou Corne from the Gulf coastline. It is nonstop green wetlands, swamps, and trees, with graceful weaving brown waterways running through it. If we could close our eyes to this now enormous sinkhole, it would be like a scene from a fairy tale to suddenly see this enchanting little community nestled along the bayou. Did these people know that the adjacent areas had been drilled worse than swiss cheese? Probably not. Do we really think that all this beauty is here so that we can mine it and steal fossils long buried deep below? To see this from above, it is impossible not to realize that our society's priorities have become terribly skewed!

Sorry for to wax philosophical. But mark my words, if you want more action from those with authority to do something positive about situations like this sinkhole, if they are still in touch with their souls at all, bring them to Bayou Corne on a flight from the south. And let them weep.

Here are a few of our favorite photos from today, followed by a high-definition video, and finally by a gallery of additional photos. As always, any of our photos or videos may be used with our permission for any purpose that benefits Bayou Corne or the whole planet!  If there is more we can do to help, please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeId94ba63145f

See the video and the rest of the photos here!

   

20130710 - Observations from Isles Dernieres to Ewing Bank

2013 July 10, Wednesday
Isles Dernieres to Ewing Bank area, Gulf of Mexico

This was the day we flew out to document the leaking natural gas well in Ship Shoal Lease Block 225 (photos, video, and story of that are here), and the day we also flew over Bayou Corne for our ninth time (photos, video, and story here).  But between those two pollution tragedies, we observed a lot of sea phenomena, wildlife, wetlands, and city! Hammerhead sharks, rays, turtles, dolphin; many dense bait balls near the coast and Isles Dernieres; and expanses of dark reddish-brown plumes suggestive of a large dead zone just off the coast. We also share here some classic photos of Louisiana wetlands, the mighty Mississippi River near New Orleans, and downtown New Orleans itself.  Finally, we include here our detailed flight log and a link to our GPS Flight Track files.  Enjoy!

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeIdbc1538b61c

See all the photos and read the full article here!  

   

20130710 - Natural Gas Leak near Ewing Bank, Ship Shoal 225

Ship Shoal Lease Block 225, northwest of Ewing Bank
Gulf of Mexico

UPDATE:  Video has been uploaded -- see the full article!

A badly leaking natural gas well in the Ship Shoal Lease Block #225 of the Gulf of Mexico has spread an ugly, toxic mass of oily rainbow sheen over several square miles not far from the top of Ewing Bank -- an area once rich with marine life, especially large plankton feeders and many other species of marine life. We have flown that area in eight different five-to-six-hour wildlife survey flights just within the past three weeks, helping scientists find and study whale sharks.  Today, despite mirror-calm seas, excellent water and air visibility, and clear blue water, we saw barely a trace of marine life in this area.  In a couple of hours of searching that area, we found just one hammerhead shark, a few dolphin, a few small bait balls and some flying fish. Closer to shore, off the Isles Dernieres, we did see some cownose rays and small turtles, a few more dolphin and a few small bait balls, but still not much by comparison with years past.  We are seriously starting to wonder where all the life has gone, and how the animals who remain are managing to find enough to eat.

But our report on wildlife in the Gulf waits for a separate article. Here we just want to share with you today's photos and videos from our flyover of this badly leaking natural gas well. It is one of sevearl owned by Houston-based Talos Energy LLC (who purchased them from Energy Resources Technology Gulf of Mexico LLC last February). The well and surrounding platforms are barely 25 miles northwest of the top of Ewing Bank, sitting in fairly shallow water not more than a few hundred feet deep.

Here are a few photos.  Many more are included at the end of this article!  (Photo credits: Billy Dugger with On Wings Of Care)

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeId8c9750cb19

See the photos and videos and read the full article here!  
   

20130620 - A Whale Shark of a day in the Gulf of Mexico: The Big Guys are back!

2013 June 19-20, & May 23-24Wednesday-Thursday
Gulf of Mexico -- Ewing Bank and Mississippi Canyon

UPDATE!  MANY VIDEOS OF THIS NOW POSTED ON OUR YOUTUBE SITE!
For composite videos, see Part 1 and Part 2!
For short clips, see the index of our videos here!
 

Calm seas and a nearly full moon were too good to miss, so days ahead of schedule, we opted to continue our aerial whale-shark survey and tagging expeditions in conjunction with Ms. Jennifer McKinney and other researchers from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries (LWF).  And are we ever glad we did! We “struck gold” this past Thursday June 20 in the Ewing Bank area, finding 24 whale sharks and helping divers get DNA and satellite tags on 10 of them -- limited only by the number of tags they had with them! The previous record for tagging whale sharks in one day was set when we helped Dr. Eric Hoffmayer a few years ago in the Gulf; that time they were able to get five whale sharks tagged in one day.  So this is a major cause of celebration and congratulations to all.  Judgment and readiness to go when weather and seas were most inviting, skills of the divers and the boat captain, and our experience with spotting and familiarity with the subsea terrain of the Gulf of Mexico combined to produce an unprecedented success -- and a downright magical day!

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.onwingsofcare.org/news.html#sigFreeId99f76bcd91

See all the photos (and videos soon) and read the story here!  

   

Page 1 of 7

Pellie Lou!

"The Story of Pellie Lou - a Pelican who survived the Gulf of Mexico oil spill"
by Bonny L. Schumaker, Ph.D.
With 46 photos from the Gulf of Mexico.
ALL proceeds go to benefit Gulf wildlife!

Order your autographed hard copies or an electronic copy here!

Or buy from Amazon anywhere in the world, here!


 

Follow Our Flights!

You can track our paths for several days after them, when we keep our GPS "SPOT" transmitter on "Track" mode. For the latest flights, see
For our latest journeys see (Track our flights).

Read about our rescues under Rescue Tails!
Here are some samples:

Adios to hunger, Bienvenidos a Love!
20130611- Seven lucky rescued dogs from Mexico are now being fed and pampered in southern California, and are ready for their forever families!
IMG_0089-T

 

 

 

 

From Streets to Royalty!
20130610 - Feline Patience and Humanity at their best brought these two beautiful kitties from despair to delight, after some superb rescue and logistical efforts by rescue groups from all across the country. (This is a "Before" photo! Check out the "After" photos!) 
1-AbnerAtDevore2-20130513-T

 

 

 

 

A Dog Named Pepper Doesn't Give up Easily on Life!
20130428 - This 15-yr-old deaf, blind, arthritic senior held out in a hot, dry, desert parking lot until love finally found him!

1-20130415-PepperWJoyce-1785-BB 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAZ - No Ordinary Extraordinary Cur! 
20130422 - Left to die but instead, this super-intelligent deep-hearted dog discovered love, family, and even fun -- from the most unlikely mentors!

 00-20130318-InDevoreKennel-031 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turbulent Trails for Tails from TX-20130413
Six rescue dogs from east Texas find forever homes in Nevada and California! 

0413131135-T

 

 

 

 



Skip the Wonder Sled Dog - 20120930
Happy Update! 20130312 
And ANOTHER UPDATE! 20130821!! 

1-Skip-Nan-snowmobile-100_2529-Module

 

Last but not left!  20130106
Happy Update - 20130311

5g-

 

 

 



20121223-Thanks to Sheba, the rescued and rescuer

Who was rescued, and who was the rescuer? Anyone who has known this kind of bond has felt something so deep, so real, so ancient, that it cannot be described with words. These bonds ground us and free us from pettiness in our lives. Thank you Sheba. Rest in peace.

20121223-Sheba-DSCN7004cr-Module


A Letter From Your Admirers! 20121231

6-289415_4681157305522_42137501_o-1

 

 

 

 



20121208- 43 Dogs go from dead-end in Porterville to homes and happy hearts!

This was a last-minute challenge that seemed beyond even our own grandest heroic imaginings. But it turned out not to be beyond the devoted hearts and energies of about 30 rescuers, shelter staff, volunteers, and families working together. Forty-three (yes, 43!) dogs in one day, from dead-ends in a Porterville shelter to homes and real lives with real humans who love and want them.  Rescuers ROCK!   
20121208-6-Mod 

 

20121206-Saga of Squee: From orphan with mange to her own fur-ever family!

Orphaned very young, left alone and hungry til her fur fell out and her skin was covered with mange. Thanks to some big-hearted Texas rescuers, not only did she recover, she found the family who wanted to love her forever. How glad we were to be able to give this little pup with the big paws the ride to the rest of her life! 
SqueeWMange-MugShot-20121105 

 

20121205-Blackie Goes Home at Last, and Taylor Turns Texan!

Four long months since Blackie's lifelong human companion and partner Tammy suffered a serious injury from a passing truck and disappeared from his life. Suddenly Blackie was in a shelter kennel, and Tammy fought for her life as she dreamed of her beloved dog. Thanks to many people, both of these souls survived to find each other again! This was a rescue and a reunion we'll never forget.
20121205-4-BlackieMeetsNatasha-1-172132 

 

Miss T'Chen was lost in Hurricane Isaac, and saved 800 miles away!
2012 Oct 02

The same rains that made us work "On WHEELS Of Care" this week kept us grounded for this trip, which serendipitously combined the transport of Skip northward and the joyful and miraculous reunion of Miss T'Chen, who had been rescued and taken to Illinois after Hurricane Isaac, with her family in Baton Rouge!

20121003-Reunion-2-T

 

 

 

 

7 Lucky dog and 51 (yes 51!) lucky cats and kittens make it to fur-ever homes in Oregon, Idaho, and California!
2012 Sep 24

This flight went almost as planned, and our plane was filled to over-flowing on every leg. And we met some wonderful new cat and dog rescues in Idaho and Oregon!

0-20120924-Bonny-SPAM-114951-1 copy 

 

 


20 Lucky rescued dogs flown to homes in Canada!

2012 Sep 22 

It turned out to a journey full of unexpected challenges, but these 20 lucky lovable canines who had been through the worst of times in California were just the best through it all, and now they are warming the hearts and laps and lives of some very lucky Canadian families!  
9-T-Cheryl-Bonny-HanfordGoodbye2 







Spindletop Scandal and the Search for Scarlett
2
012 July 17 - present

With pitbull-like tenacity, we wouldn't take "NO" for an answer. Out of 21 dogs we sought, we have closure on all but two. Alas, one of those two is our Scarlett. 
20120729-Scarlett-MODULE 

 

 

 

 

 


Tale of seven cities, six cats, and five goats!

2012 July 16 

Who knows if the pleas for help brought the plane, or vice-versa.
But when serendipity puts this much together, there's no saying no!

20120716-TanyaLoadingGoats1-DSC00500-CR4Module 

 

 

 

 

 


Homeless Mom and Pups no More!

2012 July 08 

Sometimes rescuers find  the IDEAL person to adopt that animal in need ...
themselves! And in the process, a hole gets filled for the entire family.
This lucky mom now lives with Bear, Sheba, and Dave!

20120708-VisitBonny-DSCN9584 

 

 

 


From Empty Nest to Love Fest!

2012 May 11

That last urgent plea came for the five orphaned pups ...
but what about the two large senior boys who would probably never get adopted?
Some people are just angels, meant to be who they are and where they are.
Check out these two and their new happy pack!
20120513-Sallie-PupsFromDevore 

 

 

 

 

 

 


JEREMIAH has come home to us!

UPDATE 2012 July 7!
2012 January 13

His adopter called to say she had become ill, and could we care for Jeremiah? You bet we could.  We rented a plane and flew to Arizona and retrieved him immediately. Jeremiah was indeed a true friend, and we aim to be his true friends, too. He has been eating like crazy and slept his stress away for the first few days, and now he's acting like a young dog again.  Read more here
3-DSC_2320

 

 

 

CHAMP found at the airport!
2012 January 01 

A sad, scared but dignified young Champ quickly won the hearts of everyone who met him at the New Orleans airport, and within two days we had permission from his original breeders to give him to a young couple with a younger female boxer mix, all of whom fell totally in love with him at first sight!  Champ and Miss Princess are leading the good life now, and Champ's new dad finally has the fishing buddy he wanted! They tell us we made their dreams come true. We think they made Champ's come true, too.
20120101-champ2-bath-knew-bls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abby & Dinozo -- Two of a Kind!
2011 September--2012 January

Orphaned brother and sister, rescued and adored until calamity struck and they lost their family.  Orphaned again, these gentle gems and perfect canine citizens found love and adventure with us until we found them their true forever home!  Abby & Dinozo came with us to Washington January 7, and they were welcomed warmly and immediately into a home. Read more here

Abby-Dinozo4-20111011-4065 copy

 

 

 




Yo!  Get a Load of Yolo!
2011 November--2012 January

Left in the cold, high in the mountains of southern California, life was over before it had barely begun for this orphan teenager.
Little did he know, his adventures had only begun! As of January 7, it's back to snow but this time with a family who adores him, and lots of fun and play in the Pacific Northwest!

20111220-m0-YoloLaughing1-0109-crop

 

 

 

 

 

 

20111220-m3-Yolo-Gang-Yea2-0188-crop




Saving Scarlett -- Love Forever at Last!
2011 August--December 

Found on the streets, teats full but puppies absent, a battle-torn very hungry pitbull.
Hardly that sought-after doggie in the window.
But after we brought Miss Scarlett home to love and food, warmth and stuffed animals,
we discovered a warm heart and sweet spirit that changed us forever.

scarlett-20110810 












03 copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Gunner and Cain - A Very, Very Long Journey Home and the Happiest Reunion Ever!

2011 July--September 29, A Joyful Reunion At Last! 
Here they are during their flight with four other dogs Sep 29 (New Orleans to Oakland, CA, fuel stop in Roswell, NM).  
20110929-1-dogwalk (1)









And here's a photo from the happiest reunion ever!
20110929-3-reunion-2


 

 


More photos and updated videos here!  

 

Ten dogs from death row to Canada!

(2011 July)

5a-t-stevie1wleash_0142

6-stevie2_0147 copy

 

 

Sheba-Cosette - this lovely lady waited a lifetime!
(2011 June) 

Cosette-2011may-harbor-shelter-id#a1215338-photo  

module-sheba-20110826-195253c


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremiah - a true friend finds a new lease on life!
(2011 May) 
DSC_2389 copy 2 

DSC03230 copy



Two Giant Dogs & three cats reunited
with their family on Whidbey Island, WA
(2011 April)
Lady&RascalReunion4_20110403_2463



Chihuahuas "Betty" & "JellyBean"
fly to their rescue in Bremerton, WA!
(2011 April)
20110403_Chis1_2390 



New Year's Rescue:  33 dogs & cats
are flown to rescue in the Pacific Northwest!
(2011 January)
 BonnyUnloadingCatsInBellingham_20101231

 

 

 

Minnie-CoPilot-20101231

 

 

 

 

Hounds fending for themselves for years in Alabama fly to rescue in Arizona!
(2011 Mar)

mamadog1

DukeFlying4_20110331_2356

 

 

Romo & Stanley are flown to safe havens in Arizona!
(2011 Mar)

stanleyromokarenincarpaysonaz_20110316_2310

stanleyromoinplanetopaysonaz_20110316_2304

Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2013



Receive HTML?

Site Search

NEWS!

Get the latest on OWOC activities! 

Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf - 2014

(Unlinked Articles are still being posted!)
Mar 14 - Wetlands Tour
Mar 19 - Coastal Island Tour
Apr 11 - Natural Oil Seeps (GC600)
Apr 11 - Coastal LA, Taylor slick, Sargassum
Apr 11 - Barrier Islands Tour
May 21 - WSharks (MSCyn1)
May 22 - WSharks (Ewing1)
Jun 12 - WSharks (Ewing2)
Jun 18 - WSharks (MSCyn2)
Jun 18&22 - OIL (Taylor Energy Site Sampling) 
Jul 10 - WSharks (Ewing3-RECORD DAY!)
Jul 17 - WSharks (MSCyn3) 

Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf - 2013

Jul19-Aug21 - Wildlife Surveys
Jun30-Jul2
- Whale Shark Searches
July 25
- Hercules Today!
July 23
- Hercules Blowout
July 10 - From sea to city
July 10
- Gas Well Leak
June 19-20
- WHALE SHARKS!
June 03
- OIL 
May 23-24 - WILDLIFE!
Tue Apr 02
- OIL
Sat Mar 16
- OIL
Fri Mar 08 - OIL
Sun Feb 17 - Coal&Oil
Sun Jan 27 - OIL
Sun Jan 20 - OIL
Fri Jan 04 - OIL

IMG_3721-TT

 

IMG_7406-DA-20130524

_JBM3576-OWOC

20130120-MODULE-_BLD9457

Special Articles

 

2014 Apr 02 - Bayou Corne #16
2013 Nov 24 - Bayou Corne #14
2013 Sep 26
- Bayou Corne #13
2013 Jul22-29
- "Flying Stars" - STKIs
2013 Jul 28
- Bayou Corne #11
2013 Jul 23 - Bayou Corne #10
2013 Jul 10
- Bayou Corne #9
2013 Jun 08
- Bayou Corne #8
2012 May 06 - Bayou Corne #7
2013 Apr 12 - Mayflower, AR Pipeline Spill
2013 Apr 02
-
Bayou Corne #6
2013 Mar 23
- IMMS Marine Mammals
2013 Mar 19 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#5

2013 Feb 15
- Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#4
2013 Jan 26
- Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#3
2012 Dec 24 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#2
2012 Nov 08 - Tar Sands and Texas
2012 Aug 30 - Hurricane Isaac Conquered
2012 Aug 28 - Hurricane Isaac Arrives!
2012 Aug 13 - Sinkhole in Bayou Corne, LA
2012 Jun 13-Dispersant Spraying Exercise off LA
2012 April - Chronicles of the Endeavor
2012 Dec 10 - How Dilute is Dilute Enough?

Whales, Sharks, & Turtles in the Gulf of Maine - 2012

2012 June
Cool summer Atlantic waters brought us to hundreds of humpback, fin, and minke whale families, plus basking sharks!
NINE days of fantastic footage:
June 15
June 16-17
June 18
June 19
June 20
June 22
June 23
IMG_5295 

Dominica - The Nature Island!

2012 May
On Wings Of Care
 flies to the Eastern Caribbean for whales and sea turtles!
1-20120514-Whales-6 

 

 


Read more here!

Humpback Whales!

And much more!

Cape Cod, MA 
2011 July
HBModule-JJL_5995c 

Our Gift for YOU for 2011!

Click Here to Smile
from your heart, out!
Rainbow-module-20111222-knew-035-webres


Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf, 2010

Galapagos Veterinary Support

Galapagos vets do much with little,
thanks to true friends who shipped a TON of supplies and meds from the U.S. in June, 2011.
Galapagos-module-DAD3Galapagos-module-DAD-seal3

Alabama
2011 April --

“Man can no longer live for himself alone.  We must realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship with the universe.”

-Albert Schweitzer

Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
By Invitation Only | Administration Login