20121202 - Status of slicks from the Gulf's Black Bay to the Macondo

2012 December 02, Sunday
Macondo area, Gulf of Mexico

-- Many thanks to j. Brayton Matthews of Flightline First at New Orleans' Lakefront Airport for providing all photos and videos for this flight and this article. --

Since our November 9th flyover of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead and our publishing of the large surface oil slick there, BP has announced plans to begin further investigation of the wreckage and seafloor in that area, beginning tomorrow, December 3. Since the weather was perfect today and seas calm, we made a quick flight to see how things look out there, now three weeks since our Nov 9th flyover.  We were surprised to find a new drilling platform sitting almost right over the wellhead, and a large drillship also in the vicinity. We were dismayed to find many large surface slicks in the area, as well as some new ones along the eastern coast of Louisiana south of Black Bay. And of course it's unfortunately no surprise anymore to see the large, chronic Taylor Energy oil slick that has plagued the southern tip of Louisiana since 2004.

The new platform that has appeared over the Deepwater Horizon wellhead bears the name "ENSCO 8502" (photo on the right below). There was a fairly large slick about 2 miles northeast of it (photo on the left below), about 2 nm long and about 100 m wide.  But an even larger slick extended northwest almost directly from the new platform -- this one almost 2 sq nm (4 sq km) in size. In the maps below, the point marked "04221" is almost directly over the wellhead. The ENSCO platform was at the point marked "04381."  (Note: High-resolution photos are available on request.  These same photos appear in the galleries below, where they will show up in a larger view when selected individually.) 








In the first video below, you'll see the smaller of the above two slicks for the first 45 seconds, after which we pan to the ENSCO 8502 platform and the larger slick adjacent to it. There is another slick about 1 nm to the east, which is about the same size as the smaller one to the north (see photo on right below). Finally, there was yet another slick south of here, which was about 1 nm long (north-south) and about 50 m wide (no photo of that one is shown here).







About 10 nm south of the ENSCO 8502 platform and the wellhead, we found a large mobile drillship named "ENSCO DS-3" with two supply boats -- the C Legacy and the Jack Edwards.  A small oil slick was adjacent to this drillship running westward about 500 m, about 10 m in width.  Another 2 nm farther south was a working BP platform "MC474A", which was flaring and which also had a small slick extending westward from it, about the same size, roughly 500 m in length and about 10 m wide.  A video showing this platform is included below.





Here is a video showing the two slicks nearest the Deepwater Horizon wellhead today.  The rig toward the end of the video is the one new to this area --  the "ENSCO 8502."

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site

Here is a video of the small slick extending westward from BP's platform MC474A, about 12 nm south of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead:

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site


About 12 nm north of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead, southwest of Whiting Dome, we saw another large surface slick, near where we have reported seeing a large slick in the past (see, e.g., our articles from Sep 14, Oct 05, Nov 9, and Nov 10); it is shown in the photo on the left below. In the past we have referred to this  point as GPS waypoint 0405; today we marked the northwest end of this crescent-shaped slick by GPS point 0436, and its southeast end by GPS point 0437. (For exact latitudes and longitudes of these GPS waypoints, see the Flight Log below.)  This area is not included in a list of known natural seeps that we have surveyed for scientists in the Gulf, and we have not documented it in prior years, so more research is needed to understand its source and status. The photo on the right below is the ENSCO 8502 in the Macondo area, for comparison.








Here is a video of the crescent-shaped slick about 10 nm north of the Macondo:

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site


A new sheen south of Black Bay

On our way out to the Taylor Energy slick and the Macondo today, we came across a considerable oil slick off the east coast of Louisiana, just south of Black Bay.  Referencing our Flight Log below, the west end of the sheen was around GPS point 0429 (29° 33.095' W89° 30.990'), the east end at GPS point 0430 (N29° 35.048' W89° 29.503'). It looked to be nearly 3 nm long (west-east) and about 30 m wide.  Here is a video of it:

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site  

There was a large gas platform and numerous small ones just south of this slick.  Here is a short video of those gas platforms and some of the slick to their north:

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site


Taylor Energy

The chronic Taylor Energy slick still rages. We have seen no vessels out there working to clean it up or stop its source. The video and photos we have shown for many months (or is it years now?) speak for themselves, although perhaps they have spoken to deaf ears. Mysterious near-daily NRC reports from Taylor continue to appear, and they include quantitative estimates stating that this expansive surface sheen comprises a mere 2 gallons or so of oil, as judged from a flyover. (Who makes those flyovers is information not included in their reports to the public.) But the greater mystery is why this pollution is allowed to continue.  Is it so difficult to find and stop such leakage?  If so, are sufficient regulations and protocol in place to ensure that accidents like this will not happen with other wells in the Gulf? To whom can we even ask these questions to get reliable answers?









Here is what the rainbow sheen at Taylor Energy looked like today through our belly viewer (a view from directly above). Even though we flew over it at the worst time of day for lighting (around 1438 CST), the rainbow sheen was impossible to miss.

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site


To the east of the Taylor Energy slick several miles, just past the Nicor Energy MC218 platform, we came across some very strange reddish foam and thick discoloration covering a large area.  Here is a video of it:

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site


NRC reports, Flight Log and GPS Flight Tracks, and more photo galleries

 We have filed NRC reports for the Macondo slick, the crescent about 10 nm north of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead, Taylor Energy, and the new large sheen south of Black Bay.  Reports for the other sightings noted in our Flight Log below will be filed soon.  Many thanks to friend and devoted Gulf supporter Susan Forsyth for helping us get the NRC reports in promptly this evening!

Our Flight Log is transcribed below, with complete GPS coordinates and our notes recorded in real-time about what we saw. Our GPS Flight Tracks for today can be downloaded here. They will tell you our exact position and altitude at 5-10 second intervals, which can be used to verify the positions of any photos taken, through the metadata created with the photo.

Here are additional photos from today, the GPS positions for which you can find from the Flight Log.  If you click on any of these individual photos, you should be able to see a full-screen version of them.  If you want high-resolution copies of any of these for non-profit purposes supporting the Gulf of Mexico, we'll be happy to share them and any other information we have with you.


***** On Wings Of Care Flight Log for 20121202-Sunday ***** 
Overflight of Gulf of Mexico  - Black Bay, Taylor Energy, & MC252 areas

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 and guest Julie Dermansky of New Orleans, LA. 
Seas and weather:  Seas 1-2 ft, 10-15 kt winds from the south-southeast.
Visibility:  Air good, sea good, scattered high clouds.
Flight time:  3.1 hours
Flight route: KNEW - Taylor Energy & vicinity- Whiting Dome - MC166 (Mitchell Dome) - MC252 & vicinity - Mobile, Dauphin, & Gloria domes - OC26 & MC294 (Biloxi Dome) - KNEW

Short summary:

Gulf flyover by On Wings Of Care to survey a subset of 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 off the southern tip of Louisiana. Very significant surface oil in the form of many distinct large surface slicks was observed over an area within 2-4 nm of the DWH wreckage site, much of which we have not seen before in our surveys of natural seeps in that area. 


20121202 -  Waypoints of Interest

KNEW - Lakefront Airport

0429. N29 33.095 W89 30.990  1402 CST.
(South of Black Bay) West end of sheen with rainbow, ~ 3 nm west-east and 30 m wide.

0430.  N29 35.048 W89 29.503 1403 CST.
East end of above sheen.

0431. N29 31.350 W89 29.497  1407 CST.
Gas platforms and many small ones

0432. N29 29.289 W89 25.978 1410 CST.
Oil  - rainbow circle ~ 20 m radius, and many more like this southeast of here.

0433.  N29 05.449 W89 06.521 1428 CST.
Lots of reddish brown murky lines and patterns in the water, like plumes.  Sediment?  Algae?

Taylor Energy (near old GPS point 0410: N28 55.971 W88 58.020), 1438 CST.

0434. N28 56.134 W88 54.383  1440 CST.
Platform, Nicor Energy MC218, eastern end of Taylor Slick.

0435.  N28 56.283 W88 48.976  1446 CST.
Organic matter, long line of foam and thick discoloration, ~ 10 m by 500 m long.

0436. N28 52.796 W88 33.304 1457 CST.
Northwest end of a crescent shape of oil, running W-NW to E-SE, about 100-300 m wide and ~5 nm long.
0437.  N28 51.590 W88 29.782  1500 CST.
SE end of above (0436) crescent shape of surface oil.

0438.  N28 43.854 W88 21.587  1506 CST.
Platform and three large slicks.  Platform - “ENSCO 8502”.  One slick near the platform and to the northeast of it.  Another separated and farther north-northeast, less than 2 nm.  Another slick farther east ~ 1 nm. (See videos.) Note proximity to wellhead (approx at GPS point 04221). MC166 (a known natural seep) is nearly 10 nm northeast of here, not on our route of flight.

0439.  N28 46.523 W88 23.187  1508 CST.
West end of the slick just North of the ENSCO 8502 platform (see 0438 above). This slick is ~ 100 m x 2 nm long.  Yet another slick (#4 in this area) was south of the ENSCO 8502, which ran north-south ~1 nm long x 50 m wide.

0440.  N28 35.365 W88 19.160  1524 CST.
Large mobile drillship  (ENSCO DS-3) and two supply boats -- Jack Edwards and C Legacy.  This is about 10 nm south of the wellhead.  A small oil slick adjacent to and westward from this drillship, ~ 10 m x 500 m west to east.

0441.  N28 31.099 W88 17.216  1532 CST.
Platform MC474A (BP), approximately 12 nm south of wellhead. Slick extending westward from it, ~ 500 m x 10 m (similar in size to the one west of the ENSCO DS-3).  Platform was flaring.

0442.  N29 27.109 W89 23.944  1624 CST.
Gas platform, among many medium-size and smaller ones.  Also >100 shrimp boats southeast of here!

0443.  N29 36.199 W89 35.562  1631 CST.
Oil slick just east of here, ~ 300 m x 20 m.

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!





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!) 





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!








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!










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






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



Last but not left!  20130106
Happy Update - 20130311





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.


A Letter From Your Admirers! 20121231






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!   


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! 


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.


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!






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!  

Spindletop Scandal and the Search for Scarlett
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. 






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!







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!





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!







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




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.








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!









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.


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!



More photos and updated videos here!  


Ten dogs from death row to Canada!

(2011 July)


6-stevie2_0147 copy



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










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)

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

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









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





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



Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2013

Receive HTML?

Site Search


Get the latest on OWOC activities! 

Special Articles

How Dilute is Dilute Enough? (from 2011 Dec)

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?

Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf - 2013

Jul19-Aug21 - Wildlife Surveys
- 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
June 03
- OIL 
May 23-24 - WILDLIFE!
Tue Apr 02
Sat Mar 16
Wed Mar 13 - Bayou Perot explosion
Fri Mar 08 - OIL
Sun Feb 17 - Coal&Oil
Sun Jan 27 - OIL
Sun Jan 20 - OIL
Fri Jan 04 - OIL






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

Dominica - The Nature Island!

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



Read more here!

Humpback Whales!

And much more!

Cape Cod, MA 
2011 July

Our Gift for YOU for 2011!

Click Here to Smile
from your heart, out!

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.

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

By Invitation Only | Administration Login