20121005-Natural and Unnatural Oil in the Gulf

2012 October 5, Friday
Gulf of Mexico

MORE PHOTOS from Oct 05 ADDED TODAY! (20121016) -- See Below
(and download our GPF flight tracks here!) 

Today we flew a long and carefully planned route over Gulf of Mexico waters south of Louisiana, in order to look for surface oil slicks.  We had planned the flight for Sep 17, but weather and travel forced us to delay til today.  The route would cover 22 known sites, all based on our previous sightings and known natural seeps, including three recently reported sights, and of course that area of chronic interest -- MC252 and surroundings, home to BP's infamous well and the Macondo reservoir. We found what we were looking for, and much that we had hoped not to find.  

In short -- the natural seeps remain, some of them narrow lines of "pancakes" of oil and some of them wide areas of shimmering surface slicks. Pollution cleanup debacles like the chronic Taylor Energy site less than 15 miles off the coast of Louisiana remain, egregious sites covering miles and miles, and flowing substantially still, as evidenced by the heavy patches of rainbow sheen.  What we did not expect was to see that kind of rainbow sheen and substantial amounts of fresh-looking oil around the Macondo reservoir. But find it we did.  

The stuff within a few miles of MC252 looked like this (GPS waypoints 0411, and a slick between waypoints 0415 and 0416 from our flight log below):

20121005-1211CDT-0411-Macondo3nmNE-2T20121005-1211CDT-0411-Macondo3nmNE-4T

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(That's our nose wheel in these still photos taken from the video camera that looks slightly forward from a belly viewer in our plane, which we view and control via a remote monitor.)  A video of what we saw in this area is included below.

Here is a large-scale map of our planned route (pink) and our actual flight path (blue), together with a close-up of the eastern part of our route (near the Macondo).  We went first to the site of the chronic Taylor Energy oil leak south of Breton Sound, then to the vicinity of MC252 and the DWH disaster of 2010, then southwestward nearly 175 nautical miles to check out locations of known natural seeps and of recently documented surface oil slicks, then headed back to Lakefront Airport via Grand Isle, LA.

As you know from our previous articles, our actual flights go where "the stuff" is, so the actual paths are usually circles and spirals and meandering paths that track the oil or the animals or whatever it is that we're tracking.  You can read from these actual paths almost as clearly as you can from our GPS waypoints, just where "the stuff" was.  The actual GPS coordinates are given in our Flight Log appended below.

20121005-OWOCGulfFlt-OIL-Large20121005-OWOCGulfFlt-Macondo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a short video of the oil seen near the Macondo.  This rainbow sheen was seen within a few miles of the site of the 2010 BP disaster; the slick was at least one nautical mile (2 km) long and on average about 400-500 meters wide. This video was taken from a small video camera looking through the belly of our plane, at between 800' and 1000' above the water.  The small narrow line of oil you see at the end of the video is the way sites of known natural seeps tend to look (except for some which cover much wider areas of surface).  The rainbow nature of this slick suggests a much more substantial flow of oil than is associated with most of these natural seeps.  (See, e.g., the photo of the natural seep in Green Canyon, about 175 miles southwest of here.)  Many more photos can be found in the galleries below.

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Our flight log gives more detailed info on the appearance and positions of the oil we saw; it is appended below the photo galleries.  Our GPS tracks can be downloaded here; those will tell you exactly where we were at any given time.

Here are more photos of what we saw near our gps waypoint #411, at approximately 1211 CDT:

Now, about 15 nm (30 km) east of here, around our gps waypoint #412, at 1223 CDT, we saw another slick, with less rainbow sheen and more of the milky luminescence.  Here is a video of that, followed by some photos of it:

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Eight miles southwest of here, near "MC294" and the site of a known natural seep, this is what we saw:

Finally, a good while later and about 160 nm still farther southwest, in Green Canyon, we checked out other known abundant natural seeps, most famously the one located in "GC600."  

You will note from the flight log that we saw a lot of oil -- about 24 distinct sightings.  We don't have photos of it all, but we do have many more photos than are shown here, and over the next week or so, we'll post the remaining photos of the additional slicks.

As always, any information that readers can provide for us about what we saw or on what we ought to check out on future flights is greatly appreciated.  Just This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with it.

MORE PHOTOS from Oct 05 ADDED TODAY (20121016):
Here are more photos from Oct 05. The first is a distant view of the chronic Taylor Energy pollution site, only about 12 miles offshore from Louisiana. (More photos of the Taylor slick can be seen in the article from our Oct 06 flight for whale sharks, and in numerous other of our articles -- just search the keyword on this website).  The next eight photos are all of the surface oil in the Macondo area. (The photo filenames will tell you the date, time, and area of each photo.)  The next three after that, taken around 1227 CDT, are about 15 nm east of the  Macondo.  Then, at 1245CDT, we have two more photos of the Macondo area, as we circled back to the west.  And one photos taken 3 miles northwest of the Macondo.  You can start to see what natural seeps look like, compared to what we were seeing in the Macondo area and eastward!  

To see more natural seeps, look at the next six photos, those whose filenames say MC294, MC709, GC600, or GC767.  Some of these are expansive surface slicks, but we typically do not see the rainbow sheen that we are seeing in the Macondo area, indicating less of a flow.  Finally, in the last photo you'll see a platform slick about 20 miles south of Timbalier Bay -- an all too common site around platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. 

 

 

********   On Wings Of Care Flight Log for 20121005 Friday   ******* 
Survey of Gulf of Mexico known natural seep sites plus DWH, Taylor Energy, and recent reported slicks

All waypoint numbers below refer to the GPS tracks shown in today's article at OnWingsOfCare.org.
Times are given in CDT.  
Lat/lons are given in degrees and decimal minutes.
Aircraft & Personnel: Dr. Bonny Schumaker with Dr. Ian MacDonald and Samira of Florida State University, Tallahassee.
Seas and weather:  Seas 1-3 ft, scattered high clouds, 5-15 kt winds from the northeast-north.
Visibility:  Air fair, sea good, scattered thunderstorms and low clouds throughout.
Flight time:  6.1 hours
Flight route: KNEW - Taylor Energy & vicinity- DWH & Seep Sites in vicinity (~10-nm radius circumference) - MC709 - GC600 - GC767 - Grand Isle - KNEW

*****************
20121005 - Waypoints of Interest (#s 0410--0424 are new; smaller numbers are sites noted in previous flights and revisted today; * denotes photos or videos)

0245. N29 32.846 W89 07.534
Slick west of platform, about 100 ft wide (N-S) x 800 ft long

TAY3. 1135 CDT.  N28 56.170 W88 58.134
(Taylor Energy chronic slick). 

0410.  1137 CDT.  N28 55.971 W88 58.020
Southwest end of Taylor Energy slick, tracked it NE (060°), approx 1 nm SW-NE, ~400m SE-NW

0286. N28 51.896 W89 03.163 
(West end of Taylor slick at prior sightings.)

(Planned but did not overfly.)VK989.  N28 58.382, W88 37.56 (where whale-shark LDWF people will be on 10/05)

0405.  1200 CDT. N28 50.771 W88 29.761
Oil still here!  (From 20120914, 1633 CDT:  OIL.  ~50m by ~500m, running SW-NE.)

MC166. 1209 CDT.  N28 49.340 W88 17.660
OIL. (Surface line of sheen)

*0411.  1211 CDT.  N28 46.086 W88 20.654
(Macondo area, ~2 nm northeast of the DWH site)  Rainbow sheen here, much heavier than MC166.
(Photos 020-200, 240-260, 220-240).

VK1001. 1222 CDT.  N28 46.035 W88 03.000
OIL -- N-S and E-W -- see #0412.

0412.  1223 CDT.  N28 42.991 W88 05.209
~2 NM N-S.  (Photos 150, 160-163)

0413.  1234 CDT.  N28 39.570 W88 11.196
Large shallow sheen, E-W.

MC123. 1236 CDT.  N28 38.494 W88 15.000
Diffuse, sub-surface layers.

0414.  1243 CDT.  N28 42.300 W88 22.021
Blue/white vessel, large slick W-E. (West end if #0415, 070° to E end at #0416; photos 195-213).  Another line of oil south of it.  Large thundercloud to the north-northeast of this area, which precluded our getting closer to sites of oil in this area.

OC26. 1243 CDT. N28 42.450 W88 21.700

0415.  1243 CDT.  N28 43.900 W88 22.284
OIL.  West end of slick.

0416.  1245 CDT.  N28 45.268 W88 19.999

OIL.  East end of slick (stopped by weather here)

0395. N28 43.209 W88 20.487
(From 20120914: Platform flaring, BP - MC474A.  Sheen nearby.)

120917- NOA. N28 44.500 W88 22.500
(From 20120914.  Research vessel here near MC252.)

0394. N28 44.297 W88 22.828
(From 20120914, 1514 CDT: Surface oil sheen, ~ 100m wide, ~400m long, SE to NW.
Also another smaller surface slick about a mile farther to the SE, ~50m wide, ~100 m long.)

0417.  1247 CDT.  N28 47.447 W88 17.620
Supply vessel, black/white.

0244. 1255 CDT.  N28 41.143 W88 28.587   &
MC294. N28 41.620 W88 29.090
OIL.  Ground track 170° (magnetic), about 0.5 nm long.

(Note: Did not overfly previously observed slick from 20120914 south of here, extending about 50 m from the west side of the “Thunderhorse - BP” platform south of here at former GPS #0400. N28 12.166 W88 29.970 MC331. N28 38.800 W88 49.770.)

MC331.  1307 CDT.  N28 38.800 W88 49.770
OIL.  Small group of “pancake” oil patches.  No photos, dodging thunderclouds here!

LENA.  1315 Z.   N28 39.775 W89 09.465 (platform)

MC311. N28 38.560 W89 47.650
No oil seen in this vicinity.  (This is near the platform with the tall tower on it, and another platform to its north.)

MC709. 1348 CDT.  N28 14.440 W89 42.610
OIL.  ~ 1.5 nm, E-W.  Four sets of lines, all E-W.  Just to the north there was a HELIX vessel, with another vessel.  Laying cable, or working with a submersible?

0418.  1400 CDT.  N27 56.717 W90 10.303
MODU “Discoverer Americas” and four supply vessels.

0232. 1415 CDT. N27 43.756 W90 32.907
OIL.  Ground track ~240° (magnetic), plus a larger slick further east that extended ~200°.  Platform to the northwest with three vessels.

0233. 1419 CDT.  N27 33.932 W90 34.923
OIL.  Two parallel lines, each about 0.75 nm long by ~50 m wide, ground track 210°.

GC600. 1430 CDT.  N27 21.910 W90 33.850
OIL.  Large slick, ~ 3 nm long.

0419.  1433 CDT.  N27 15.895 W90 38.562
OIL.  Extending to south of this point, a crescent-shaped slick.

0420.  1441 CDT.  N27 11.870 W90 48.086
OIL.  At least four separate lines.  Drill ship to the north.  Many more isolated lines between here and GC767.

GC767. 1448 CDT.  N27 12.270 W91 00.500
OIL - lots.  This point is the North end of a 5-7 nm long slick!

0421. 1453 CDT.  N27 18.180 W91 01.493
OIL.  This is the south end of another slick running N-S, about 1 nm long, x 50 nm wide (E-W).

0422. 1507 CDT.  N27 44.072 W91 05.902
Slick, W-E, ~ 1 nm long x 500 m wide.  HELIX Explorer there, with ROV.

(Planned but did not have time to overfly.) ST3.  N29 00.000 W91 52.000
(20121002-NRC#1026165 -Passing thru platform 21830, massive sheen, Sky truth estimates ?2,736 gal, South Marsh Island 288.)

0423.  1547 CDT.  N28 50.745 W90 28.844
Stuff that looks like sediment in this area coming from vicinity of a jackup rig.  Drilling mud?

0424.  1551 CDT.  N28 57.015 W90 24.972
Slick from platform.

0231. 1553 CDT.  N28 56.558 W90 23.271 
Significant slick, ~ 300 m x 50 m, platform at east end of it.
(Coincides with recent NRC Report 20121002, “ST2”)

ST1. N29 00.000 W89 51.000
Saw nothing here, but we didn’t take time to check carefully. (20121002-NRC#1026219. Said 1 mi by 1 mi, >684 gal. sheen estimated by Sky Truth.)


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!


 

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!
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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!) 
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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!

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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! 

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

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Last but not left!  20130106
Happy Update - 20130311

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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.

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A Letter From Your Admirers! 20121231

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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!   
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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.
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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!

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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!

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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!  
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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. 
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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!

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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!

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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
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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.
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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

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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!

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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.

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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).  
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And here's a photo from the happiest reunion ever!
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More photos and updated videos here!  

 

Ten dogs from death row to Canada!

(2011 July)

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

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Jeremiah - a true friend finds a new lease on life!
(2011 May) 
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Two Giant Dogs & three cats reunited
with their family on Whidbey Island, WA
(2011 April)
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Chihuahuas "Betty" & "JellyBean"
fly to their rescue in Bremerton, WA!
(2011 April)
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New Year's Rescue:  33 dogs & cats
are flown to rescue in the Pacific Northwest!
(2011 January)
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Hounds fending for themselves for years in Alabama fly to rescue in Arizona!
(2011 Mar)

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

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Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2013



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Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf - 2013

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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
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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
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Dominica - The Nature Island!

2012 May
On Wings Of Care
 flies to the Eastern Caribbean for whales and sea turtles!
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Read more here!

Humpback Whales!

And much more!

Cape Cod, MA 
2011 July
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Our Gift for YOU for 2011!

Click Here to Smile
from your heart, out!
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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.
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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

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