2011 Aug 30 OWOC Gulf Flight - Oil Sharks, Doilphins, and SeaToitles -- Enough is Enough!

2011 August 30

Gulf of Mexico

We flew today to find whale sharks, so that scientists who were out there in a boat could fit them with tags that would report their gps positions and ultimately tell us more about them.  The seas were utterly calm, like glass.  The bait balls were glistening everywhere as we flew to open seas south of Grand Isle about 100 miles. We were so optimistic!  Alas, in over six hours of flying covering almost 600 miles, not a one was found today. Nor a single sperm whale.  We found two huge pods of bottlenose dolphin, one with over 100 individuals, another with at least 75.  And a couple of fine leatherback sea turtles.  But between those sightings -- and sometimes uncomfortably close to them, all we found was what we are so very tired of seeing -- more and more OIL.

In fact, we found so much oil out in the Macondo Prospect (near the site of the April 2010 explosion),  that we have an 11-minute video of it that never covers the same area twice! Not since last summer have we seen this kind of expansive surface sheen.  Metallic-gray and rainbow swirls  stretched for miles, mixed with dark-brown stuff  that resembled weathered crude more than sargassum weed.  And there were those round-shaped 'globs' of oil again, here, there, and everywhere it seemed.  We did not want to see this stuff anymore!

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.


IMG_0491-tc-large3 copyIMG_0519 copy 2


*IMG_4319 copy 2

  We notified two ships about this large area of oil today, and we gave them the gps coordinates where it could be found (waypoint #9175 below: N28° 53.426', W088° 11.022'). The first was the NOAA "Okeanos Explorer", who seemingly unbeknownst to them, was cruising alongside and then right through a line of those oily globs. The second was the "Sarah Bordelon", who told us they were sampling the oil for BP.   (Can BP say it's not there when they have a ship out there sampling it?)  We also reported it to the NRC after we landed, who of course reports it to the US Coast Guard (our report was incident #987845).   This area is about 16.5 statute miles northeast of the site of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe last year (MC252: N28°44.20', W088°23.23' per Wikipedia).

*IMG_0369 copy20110830-gulffltmap-webres

So while we had fulfilled our civic duty, we didn't feel like we had done much good.  What about the three bottlenose dolphins that we filmed swimming into the oil because there was no way around that huge slick? We watched as they slowed, then disappeared and never came up again. They were going to have to hold their breaths a long while and head in exactly the right direction to make it out of that stuff.  We watched for well over five minutes but never saw them again.  

Folks, we don't know what else we can do to help.  
We spoke with the NOAA scientists by email after the flight.  They are using sophisticated sonar systems to look at gas bubbles rising through the water column in that area.  They have mapped out what they believe to be natural seeps in the area of the Macondo site.  Gas bubbles usually dissolve before reaching the surface, long before then.  But they've been finding some much closer to the surface, and they suspect the reason is that they're coated with oil.  First question I had was, does that mean the use of dispersants greatly added to this likely coating process, and that therefore we now have much more undissolved natural gas nearer the surface? I think that scientists are not allowed to answer questions that hint at "policy" questions like that, though. Bummer.  In my idealistic college days, I thought that science would guide policy.  How did business get that job instead?  Sorry, I'm not supposed to editorialize here.  

Here's that long video of the big oil patch out there today.
Photographs follow; more to come later.  
The flight log as I wrote it on my lap in the plane is transcribed below.
You can get all of our waypoint gps coordinates and times by downloading the Garmin .gpx file, from the main menu item "Flight Tracks".  
We'll try to spell some of them out for you in an update to this article a bit later, to save you some trouble.

I feel like I should say "Sorry" rather than "Enjoy"!  But you can enjoy having the facts, at least.

Many thanks to Terese Collins and Don Abrams for riding along today and helping document all of this!  I promised them whale sharks and Hubig Pies.   At least they got the pies!

Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site  



FLIGHT LOG 20110820 Gulf of Mexico - OnWingsOfCare flight

SE of Grand Isle: Lots of bait balls! very calm seas. pod of dolphins. GREAT water visibility.

9153: 1025 CDT. Organic 'lace' line

9154: line of old sargassum.

9155: ship "British Emisary". TONS of jellyfish, everywhere!

9156: rig + 2 supply boats. Rig = "Noble Jim Day". w ship = Dionne Ch..rt (?).
Lots of sargassum patties.

(9157= pre-set for NaKika)

9158: Line of white foam, S-N-NE.

9159: oil 'globs', x 7.

9160: major line of green algae, foam, and sargassum

9161: Olympic Chellenger boat plus platform with red legs (LLOG-Opti-Ex) and two supply boats.

9162: Leatherback turtle and jellyfish everywhere (109 nm on 150 deg mag radial from KNEW).

9163: Black areas , subsurface plumes? (no clouds in sky!) Oily smell? (not clean sea smell, for sure).

9164: Long line of sargassum patties, lots of them.

9165: two very wide sargasum mats and lines

9166: "Sweet Water" ship - full of containers

9167: NOAA Okeana Explorer vessel. Oil globs near their starboard stern -- now a long line of them! Tried to hail them on the marine radio, asked about whale sharks (they said they had seen none), asked if they knew they were heading for that line of oil globules, but reception was bad.

9168: More oil globs

9169: More oil globs, plumes, sheen.

9170: >100 dolphins!

9171: 1250 CDT. Fishing boat, buoys.

9172: Oil globs

9173: Oil globs

9174, 9175: Lone lines of oil and sheen, some weathered crude or sargassum too? (Reported position of 9175 to the Sarah Bordelon at 1345 CDT. They were sampling oil globs for BP.)

(9174 = N28° 53895', W088° 10.986')

9175= N28° 53.426', W088° 11.022'. We later reported this also to the NOAA vessel at 1400 CDT, and when we landed to the NRC. Incident #987845, per Petty Officer Layman (Lehman?). Called NRC at 202-267-2675.

9177: Still videoing oil! NE-SW >10 nm, about 4 nm wide. geez, ugly! 3 dolphin were swimming into it, we watched them get very slow, then disappear. never saw them again. oh yuk, but even we couldn't see a way around it for them.

9179: oil slick, small

9180: oil slick, small

9181: >75 dolphins!

9182: oil globs and Sarah Bordelon - sampling water out their starboard side. Reported the 9175 coordinates to them, they told us they had seen no whale sharks. What was in all those containers on their boat? They said they were sampling the oil globs for BP. (So how come BP says there are none out there??)

9183: Normand Pacific

9184: Na Kika rig "MC447A - BP".

(9185 - preset to MC109 Amberjack rig)

9186: Leatherback turtle, big one!

9187: 5 schools of cobia and LOTS of bait balls again!

9188: At Amberjack rig, two boats and 3 mooring buoys

9189: Boat and old rig/platform. "LNPW3"

9190: Long E-W line - marsh grass? As in ~10 nm long!

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