2011 May 14 Saturday
Brownish-red subsurface plumes remain, and there is a 10-square-mile sheen around the defunct Ocean Saratoga platform.
Since showing you seven weeks ago the dramatically disturbing sights of brownish-red subsurface plumes and streamers spanning many tens of miles southwestward along the western shores of the Chandeleurs and Breton island (March 22) and a 10-mile wide, 30-mile long east-west stretch south of Grand Isle (March 23), we have revisited these areas three times -- April 21, April 23, and May 14. Although these subsequent flyovers have been brief and without our previous video and camera crews, they have been sufficient to show that:
1) the strange brownish-red plumes are still present in some areas west and southwest of the Chandeleurs, but they appear much less dense; and
2) surface sheen extends for at least 10 square nautical miles around the defunct Ocean Saratoga rig, located approximately 12 nm south of the southern tip of Louisiana (South Pass).
There has been no statement from the USCG or any other agency advising the public what all that brownish-red stuff was nor where it originated. However, we have learned for ourselves what was in it: relatively unweathered oil that was a close match to MC252 BP oil (the Deepwater Horizon incident of 2010 April 20), containing high concentrations of toxic polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). This is concluded from samples taken by boat on March 28 around Breton Island (Plaquemine Parish, Louisiana; coordinates 29.492667°, -89.171501°), by volunteers from the Louisiana Environmental Action Network. Thanks to funding from New Orleans resident Stuart H. Smith, complete laboratory analyses were carried out by the Boston Chemical Data Corporation and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. A full report of the of the laboratory findings may be found here, and an article summarizing these results may be found here; an excerpt from this article by Stuart Smith is included below.
On a flyover by us on April 21 (see our report here), and again on April 23, the plumes appeared to be dispersed and faded in color. The most distinct sheets of it still remained around Breton Island at the southwest end of the Chandeleurs. Winds had been and still were were high and the water very choppy, which affected the phenomena as it did our ability to photo-document.
We made another flyover this past Saturday May 14. We followed the Chandeleurs southward to Breton Island and then out to the site of a non-operational offshore platform known to have had a serious 'spill' in the spring of 2010, the Ocean Saratoga, located about 12 miles south of the southern tip of Louisiana (from South Pass). We found more of those reddish-brown subsurface plumes west of the Chandeleurs. Not as dark or dramatic as those documented in late March, and much more dispersed in appearance , but nonetheless distinct and obviously unusual to the naked eye. We also saw unmistakable surface sheen around the Ocean Saratoga. Thumbnails are shown here; a high-definition video and higher-resolution photos are included in the galleries below. Unfortunately we were late in the day and with no camera except a small digital point-and-shoot, but even with that, you will see these clearly. They are quite distinguishable from the darker cloud shadows across the water and obviously not associated with isolated convergence lines.
NOTE: Unless noted, no photos or video provided by On Wings Of Care are "photoshopped" or otherwise altered in any way that could degrade accurate interpretation of what we observed.
After the video and photo gallery below, we are including an excerpt from Stuart Smith's summary of the sampling and laboratory findings. Here are some notes on the gallery photos, which are shown in the order in which they were taken:
As we flew southward about 10 nm west of the chandeleurs, I noticed long dark-colored streaks. Not occasional rip or convergence lines (as you see in image number 3146 toward the end), and definitely not cloud shadows. I supposed these could be sediment coming out of the Mississippi -- except that they didn't appear until we were well south of the Sound, and they were more of an isolated set of bands. Also, their color didn't look quite right, I thought I saw some brownish or reddish tones. But it was already 5pm, the sun was low, the water was far from smooth as we had strong northerly winds, and I didn't want to jump to conclusions. So we just kept flying. And I kept following these strange-looking lines. Until we got close, really close, and we got into some areas of clear skies where the lighting was better -- and then we saw that the reddish color was real. Apologies that you can't see what we saw, because the only camera we had was my very old and inexpensive point-and-shoot digital camera. But it was plenty to show you the likes of what we were seeing. It looked to be a faded, sparse version of the ugly stuff we saw in this area in late March.
We then headed away from these lines, directly for Breton Island and then on to the non-operational platform Ocean Saratoga, infamous for its having leaked huge amounts of oil into the Gulf a year ago, while the Macondo well was getting all the attention. On our way there we saw a typical long 'convergence' or rip line; you'll see that in image 3146; it is distinctly different from the reddish-brown lines seen earlier. And you'll see a few shots of that active rookery, surrounded only 7 weeks ago by extremely dark, thick reddisih-brown hunk. Today it looked quite 'normal.'
Between Breton Island and the Ocean Saratoga, we passed sargassum weed floating in a convergence line. I have included these images here to show that this is definitely sargassum, even though it resembles the patches of floating weathered crude we photographed all over the Gulf last summer.
Reaching the Ocean Saratoga, the sheen to its west is quite evident. It extends at least 3-4 nm north to south and at least 2 nm west to east. Looking back at it as we flew northward toward home, it left a pit in my stomach as I recalled the miles on miles on miles of that ugly rainbow sheen we witnessed last summer. Enough is enough. Stay tuned for some video from today, which (I hope) will be of much better quality than these small photos!
Excerpted from the article by Stuart Smith:
"From Paul Orr:
By the time we made it to Breton Island the skies had cleared and the sun was shining brightly. The island was alive with spectacular flocks of birds. The spring bird migration is in full swing in coastal Louisiana. Unfortunately the birds were sharing the island with oil. Long trails of heavily oiled sand and scattered tarballs were found spread along the center of the island. The larger oil “patties” were 10 to 12 or more inches in diameter and looked like dark brown sugar with extra molasses mixed in on the inside but smelled like tar.
The beach sample Mr. Orr and his team took is remarkable, according to civil engineer Marco Kaltofen, because it contains crude oil that appears only slightly weathered – a puzzling finding in light of the fact that the Macondo Well was capped last July. The test results on the recent sample (taken March 28) look more like those from original oil seen in the early days of the spill, instead of the heavily weathered and degraded oil we’ve come to expect in recent days. But again, multiple observers reported on-the-surface oil slicks at the time of sampling.
The entire laboratory report from ALS Environmental is 20 pages of some of the most technically proficient data we’ve seen since the beginning of the spill in April of last year (see report below). The total petroleum hydrocarbons in the beach sands were present at 49,373 PPM (or parts per million). Total polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were found at more than 58 PPM. These PAHs are among the most toxic and persistent of the components of the BP oil spill.
According to veteran toxicologist Dr. William Sawyer:
Benzo(a)pyrene and benzo(b)fluoranthene levels in this sediment from Breton Islands are above the USEPA RSLs (without even adding all of the carcinogen TEQs together). And BP has completed their “cleanup”? Certainly high potential for bioaccumulation into commercial seafood, reproduction impairment (oysters) and human contact hazards. This sample on land would require remediation as it is no cleaner than highly contaminated oil field properties.
A forensic analysis was conducted on this sample to fingerprint the material in order to determine if it was BP Macondo Well oil. Eleven of thirteen known biomarkers for BP’s oil were found in the proper diagnostic ratio. Thus, this sample is a fingerprint match for BP oil.
The high levels of toxicity we found in this March 28 Breton Island beach sample have renewed our dedication to demanding a complete cleanup of our beaches, barrier islands, shoreline and marshes. We must hold BP accountable. Everything from human health to seafood safety to the healthy migration and nesting of seabirds hangs in the balance.
Here are the sample and test results:
Breton Island National Park – Sampling and Testing Data
Sampled by Paul Orr, Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper
Breton Island, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana
March 28, 2011 at 14:10
Sample ID: DWH663B/LMRK064
Tested by ALS Environmental in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Read more about the important work of the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, and its parent the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN): http://leanweb.org/
Read more about pilot Bonny Schumaker and the ongoing enviro efforts of On Wings of Care: http://www.onwingsofcare.org/
© Smith Stag, LLC 2011 – All Rights Reserved "
"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!
Read about our rescues under Rescue Tails!
Here are some samples:
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!
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
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!
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.
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!
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!
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
2012 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!
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!
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.
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).
And here's a photo from the happiest reunion ever!
More photos and updated videos here!
Sheba-Cosette - this lovely lady waited a lifetime!
Jeremiah - a true friend finds a new lease on life!
Two Giant Dogs & three cats reunited with their family on Whidbey Island, WA
Chihuahuas "Betty" & "JellyBean" fly to their rescue in Bremerton, WA!
New Year's Rescue: 33 dogs & cats are flown to rescue in the Pacific Northwest!
Hounds fending for themselves for years in Alabama fly to rescue in Arizona!
Romo & Stanley are flown to safe havens in Arizona!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2013
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 of Mexico - 2012
Sat Nov 17 - Platform Explosion
Wed Nov 14 - Barrier Islands 1
Sat Nov 10 - OIL
Fri Nov 09 - OIL
Sat Oct 06 - Whale Sharks
Fri Oct 05 - OIL
Fri Sep 14 - OIL
Sun Sep 09 - Hurricane Isaac
Sun Aug 12 - Whale Sharks
Wed Jul 11 - Whales & More
Fri Jun 29 - Whale Sharks & More
Dominica - The Nature Island!
On Wings Of Care flies to the Eastern Caribbean for whales and sea turtles!
Read more here!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2011
Sperm Whales & Whale Sharks:
Cape Cod, MA
Our Gift for YOU for 2011!
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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.
“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.”