20121109 - Plenty of Oil Left Near the Deepwater Horizon!

2012 November 09, Friday
Gulf of Mexico, MC252 and vicinity 

UPDATE 2012 NOV 11, SUNDAY  (see in red below)

We weren't supposed to see any more surface oil lingering around the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster that occcurred over two years ago in 2010 April, were we? Well, today we did.  So did the scientists aboard the research ship Falkor, both underwater with their scientific instruments and on the surface with their small boat and sampling equipment. It was impossible to miss this large slick, located within a mile of the site of the DWH incident. It is quite a bit larger than known natural seeps within 20 miles of this vicinity. We did not see the thick rainbow sheen we saw here last October 05, so we hope that implies some progress in finding and arresting any leakage left from the DWH incident.  But this large slick rivals the largest of natural seeps we've seen and documented in the Gulf, and it is outdone in its horror only by the chronic Taylor Energy pollution monster off the southeast tip of Louisiana.  If it is not from the wellhead or residual leaking debris, have we a new "natural" seep nearby? Time and research will tell.

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UPDATE 2012 NOV 11, SUNDAY:

We flew this area again yesterday, Saturday Nov 10, and spoke again with scientists aboard the research vessel Falkor, who sampled the surface oil and, more importantly, have been looking under the surface to the seafloor with their ROV and taking samples from the ocean bottom and in the water column.  Here is some of what they told us (the quotes are from Dr. Ian MacDonald of Florida State University):  

"The bottom near the wellhead is totally transformed by drill cuttings and debris.  It was unlike any deepsea benthos I have ever seen.  Cutting breccia extending hundreds of meters away from the wellhead.  However, we saw no indication of oil or active seepage.

We found numerous pipes and rusted metallic debris.  However, neither the swath-mapping results nor our direct observations with the ROV turned up any evidence of ongoing seepage from the blown-out well or nearby sources.  We did not explore the coffer dam.  Although we are seeing floating oil slicks over the MC252 site, it appears that their source is not associated with the well.  The most likely source are what are probably natural seeps to the east, associated with a salt dome. ..."

 These scientists will be at sea in this general area for another week, possibly two.  Stay tuned for more information as we learn it!

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(continued from Friday Nov 9:) 

We have submitted a FOIA for the detailed physical coordinates of all sites sampled or videotaped in the past couple of months by BP, NOAA, and other authorized entities in this area, but we have not yet received that information. The detailed positions with photos and videos of all our sightings continue to be made publicly available almost immediately. (See the list of articles for Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf on the right side of any page of this website.) It will be interesting to correlate all of the positional information for where we've seen significant amounts of surface oil, and where investigation and repair work has taken place.

Our flight log is appended below in the usual way, and our detailed GPS flight tracks for today can be downloaded here (or under the main menu item "Flight Tracks").  Our first significant oil sighting was, of course, the Taylor Energy eyesore.  We then passed several slicks documented on previous flights (such as October 5 and September 14 of this year), some of which are known natural seep sites and some of whose source or cause have yet to be determined.  Maps of our flight and the spots where oil was sighted and documented are below, followed by detailed photos and videos.  If you would like higher-resolution photos or more information, please feel free to contact us by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

As you can read in the Flight Log, the surprise slick of decidedly unnatural origin was located near our GPS waypoint#0411, N28 46.086 W88 20.654, which marked approximately the north-northeast corner of the slick.  This slick was centered  within about a mile of the DWH site. (The southwest "corner" of this large surface slick was about a half-mile north-northeast of the position of the wellhead, according to scientists aboard the vessel Falkor.)  The slick ran mostly N-S, about 1-1.5 nautical mile, with many parallel streamers running E-W, each streamer about 10 m wide and about 500 m long (W-E).  The streamers were spaced about three times their width. The map of our flight tracks shows us circling and flying over the center of the slick several times, as we helped scientists in a small boat find their way to some of the streamers.  (Once they reached the heart of the slick, they needed only their noses to know they were in fresh oil!)

Lest we feed unwarranted concern, we note that we did not see the heavy rainbow sheen that we noted in this area about a month ago, on October 05, 2012. Also, if the observed surface oil were only about one micron thick, and we assume that the actual area of the surface oil was only about one-third of the area of the slick boundary, the total volume of oil we saw today could be less than about one-half cubic meter, or just over 100 gallons. The Taylor Energy slick seems worse than this by several times. (See calculations in the Flight Log below for waypoint #0411 and for the Taylor Energy slick.) But the concern we probably all share is that this does not appear to be from a previously existing or at least previously documented natural seep, and therefore if this is not still residual oil from leaking hardware after 30+ months, then is it coming from some new cracks caused by the Deepwater Horizon explosion?  And will this now be a chronic pollution source, much like the Taylor Energy source has been for so many years?  And how much of these kinds of pollution sources can the Gulf tolerate before we seriously compromise the ocean life and our fisheries?  These kinds of questions will only be answered with time and research, if indeed they can be answered.

Photos and videos are provided below.

MACONDO AREA (MC252):
Here is a video taken of the good-sized slick we found within a mile of the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster over two years ago. You'll also see the large research ship Falkor (about 83 m long in size) and a small sampling boat from it, with scientists who were sampling the surface oil in some of these streamers.

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Here are photos of the slick we saw today in the MC252 vicinity:

 

TAYLOR ENERGY, 20121109:
Here is a video taken by our "belly viewer" video camera.  The airplane wheel you see in this video is our nosewheel.  The short video following this one was taken obliquely from our windows.  Following the videos are some stills taken from our belly camera and also from the windows.

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*******  On Wings Of Care Flight Log for 20121109 Friday  *******
Survey of Gulf of Mexico MC252 area for surface oil slicks and known natural seep sites

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 Brayton Matthews of On Wings Of Care, Don Abrams of Ocean Springs, MS. 
Seas and weather:  Seas 1-2 ft, scattered high clouds, 5-15 kt winds from the northeast-north.
Visibility:  Air good, sea good, scattered high clouds.
Flight time:  3.9 hours
Flight route: KNEW - Taylor Energy & vicinity- Whiting Dome - MC166 (Mitchell Dome) - MC252 & vicinity - Mobile, Dauphin, & Gloria domes - OC26 & MC294 (Biloxi Dome) - KNEW

Maps of our route showing the following waypoints identified during our flight, plus some relevant waypoints from previous flights, are in today's article (including a link to our GPS track file and a Google Earth file).

Short summary:
Gulf flyover by On Wings Of Care to survey recently documented surface oil slicks and known natural seep sites in the vicinity of MC252 (site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 April), as well as the chronic Taylor Energy oil leak south of Breton Sound, and other oil leaks  near East Bay and the Louisiana southeast coastline.  Some of the locations of known natural seeps displayed significant surface oil, some did not.  Very significant surface oil was observed over an area centered less than 0.75 nm northeast of the DWH sinking site, which is not associated with a known natural seep.

**************  20121005 -  Waypoints of Interest (* = Significant Surface OIL) *************

KNEW - Lakefront Airport

EBAY1109.  1339 CDT.   N29 02.300 W89 16.900
Lots of small platforms, but no significant surface slicks noticed.  (We had been asked by Skytruth to check out possible leaks from this area near East Bay, Louisiana.)

*0410.    N28 55.971 W88 58.020
South-southwest end of Taylor Energy leak.  We followed it in a 030° magnetic direction (northeastward) for about 8-9 nm, average width 100-400 m.  If we use 8 nm for length and 250 m for average width, the approximate area of this slick would be about 4 square km, or about 1 square nautical mile.  If the average thickness of the visible oil is 1 micron, that corresponds to an approximate volume of oil of about 1000 gallons.

0417 = ADIZ Xing:  N28 55.8 W88 52.3  (KNEW-140° - 90 nm, ~1 hr if we do EBAY and Tay first).

*0405. N28 50.771 W88 29.761 Southwest of Whiting Dome.
Significant surface slick (also noted 20121005 and 20120914).  Many parallel streamers, ~ 2 nm by 50 m, running SW-NE.  (Note that a month ago it was only ~500 m long!)

MC166.    N28 49.340 W88 17.660 Northwest portion of Mitchell Dome.
Negligible surface slick seen here. (Only a narrow line was seen here 20121005.)

**0411.    N28 46.086 W88 20.654 (Macondo area, centered ~0.75 nm NE of DWH site).
Significant slick!  This marked approximately the N-NE corner.  Primarily N-S ~ 1-1.5 nm, with many parallel streamers running E-W, each 10 m wide and about 500 m long (W-E).  (See our flight tracks, as we flew over and around it several times, while we guided the small sampling boat toward some of the streamers as the large research vessel Falkor stood by.)  Note that we observed heavy rainbow sheen in this area a month ago, 20121005 (photos 020-200, 240-260, 220-240).  Estimated enclosed area:  1.25 nm x 500 m ~ 1.3 square kilometers.  Streamers were spaced about three times their width, so the surface area of the observed oil was approximately one-third of this, or about 0.4 square kilometers.  If the surface oil were 1 micron thick, the total volume of oil observed would be about 0.4 cubic meters, or a little over 100 gallons.

0416.     N28 45.268 W88 19.999 East of the large slick. 
No significant oil seen here.

0415.    N28 43.900 W88 22.284 Southwest of the large slick.   (Last 20121005 this marked the west end of the slick.)

0394. N28 44.297 W88 22.828 West-southwest of today’s large slick. 
(Note:  Last 2010914,significant surface oil here: ~ 100m wide, ~400m long, SE to NW. Also another smaller surface slick about a mile farther to the SE, ~50m wide, ~100 m long.)

0414 (& OC26).   N28 42.300 W88 22.021 Northwest of Gloria Dome, Northeast of Biloxi Dome, South of MC252.
OC26 is site of a known natural seep.  No significant surface oil seen here.

*0412.   N28 42.991 W88 05.209 North side of Mobile Dome.
Approximately 15 nm east of the large slick above, also observed last Oct 05.  Still significant surface oil here.  Three major lines, running Southeast - Northwest, each streak about ~30 m wide, ~ 2 nm long.  (See last 20121005, photos 150, 160-163.)

*0413.    N28 39.570 W88 11.196 Northwest of Dauphin Dome.
Significant surface oil here, as was also seen last Oct 05.  S-N lines.  About 11 nm southeast of the large slick above.  (Last Oct 05 it was more east-west.)

*0244.   N28 41.143 W88 28.587  
& MC294. N28 41.620 W88 29.090
Northwest of Biloxi Dome.
Significant surface oil seen again here (also seen last Oct 05).  Site of a known natural seep.  Approximately 20 sizable streamers running W-E, the entire block runs more or less SE-NW, about 0.5 nm by 500 m wide.  Similar to waht was observed 20121005.

*Taylor Energy -- see above.  Revisited on the way back, this time from the east end. The west end has the most rainbow sheen in it, and a clear beginning point.

*0418.  1551 CST.  N29 03.468 W89 04.475
Small surface slick about 1 nm east of this point, running SE-NW, about 0.5 nm by 100 m.

*0419.  1558 CST.  N29 04.787 W89 05.769
Small surface slick, ~ 400 m SW-NE, ~ 100 m SE-NW.



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!
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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!) 
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!

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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!

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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 - 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

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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!
1-20120514-Whales-6 

 

 


Read more here!

Humpback Whales!

And much more!

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

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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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