Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Pictured above, Oil Containment Boom Protects Shoreline
Oil containment booms placed by BP contracted boats protect the waters of Biloxi, Mississippi to prevent oil from the Deepwater Horizon from reaching the beach. Deepwater Horizon was an ultra-deepwater oil rig that sank April 22, causing an oil spill threatening the waters near the U.S. Gulf Coast. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (EXW/SW) Corey Truax/Released)
What a trip! More dolphins than I ever would have expected after experiencing Grand Isle, LA, great surveys and data collection opportunities and NO OIL to be seen the entire week we were there. I also heard through the grapevine that commercial fishing was reopening where we were located. All in all, with these conditions, I left feeling extremely positive about the Gulf situation. There is still a lot to be done and wildlife in the area is still in need of help and restoration, but we’re moving in a positive direction and that is hopeful.
I could not feel more fortunate that I work with such a supportive group of people at the Aquarium that allowed my participation in the Gulf dolphin research to be a possibility. I appreciate not only the support of our staff, but also the community. This was the last trip that I will be taking to assist the researchers on this project. I know they will continue to do amazing work on this project and would like to send a huge thank you to that team for inviting me to be a part of such an important project.
Take care everyone and always remember, just because you’re miles away, you can do your part by living green! With that, I will officially sign off!
Monday, July 19, 2010
Photo courtesy of Deepwater Horizon Response Photostream- The Coast Guard Cutter Decisive steams through the Gulf of Mexico as dark clouds from Tropical Storm Bonnie enter the gulf.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Photo Courtesy of Deepwater Horizon Response Photostream- PORT PASCAGOULA, Miss. – Pelicans and other local fowl relax in Port Pascagoula, Miss., near one of the largest oil refineries in North America, May 6, 2010.
We woke up early this morning to grab a quick bite at the continental breakfast and headed for the lab for our first day of work. We had to get a special exemption to go out on the water today since officials shut down all work operations this afternoon due to tropical storm Bonnie moving in our direction. Knowing that the weather would be fine this afternoon specifically, they granted us leave until 5 p.m. We set off for a full day of dolphin sightings and came across so many; we watched as they indulged in aerials, tail slapping, and socializing of all sorts!! What an experience! We found two rather large groups that we spent the majority of our day with, and all of the excitement helped me to forget the stagnant heat emanating all day. I found myself a little sunburned, but nothing too severe. This experience was so different from the work in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Most of our time here was spent with dolphins. In Grand Isle, we were lucky if we had 2-3 sightings per day. Close to 5 p.m. this afternoon, we received a call ordering a mandatory end to our day. We returned to the lab, loaded up the boats and hit the road for some dinner. We stopped at a Ruby Tuesday and were all so thankful to have some sort of hot meal. I was running on a muffin and a banana that day—not enough and not usual- so I very much enjoyed ALL of my dinner this evening. We are still unsure as to what this weekend will bring. We have been told no one is working on the water for the next two days, so it looks like we will be waiting it out. I’ll keep you all posted!! Thanks as always for tuning in!!
Photo Courtesy of Petra Gustkey
Monday, July 5, 2010
What a week and a half! A great experience, but, again, a humbling one. It was amazing to see how many people from all over the country were pitching in to help with the spill. Some of these individuals have been helping down there for weeks and months, taking time from their family and loved ones. Seeing first hand how this spill has affected the environment is heartbreaking,
but seeing all of the effort people are contributing to help and correct the situation is encouraging at the same time. I am so appreciative of the researchers who allowed me to accompany and help them with this important project. Knowing efforts are continuing will help me stay positive in this otherwise grim situation. Always keep in mind that even if one feels helpless when hearing about situaions like this, there is always something one can do from home to help—keeping your mind Green and doing your part from home is always beneficial to wildlife as a whole.
Photo Courtesy of Deepwater Horizon Response Photostream- LAFOURCHE PARISH, La. – Workers, contracted by BP, clean up oil on the beaches in Port Fourchon, Louisiana during night operations
I appreciate all of the support from FOLKS (Friends of Lake Keowee) to the crew in Greenwood, South Carolina and beyond! I hope that you all enjoyed following along through my journey in Grand Isle. Stay tuned for future efforts and always feel free to send any questions our way! Take care everyone!
This is Shelley Dearhart, Educator at the South Carolina Aquarium- Sigining off!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Barataria Bay, Grand Isle -Photo courtsey of Flickr, JEFFERSON PARISH, La. — Containment boom and sorbent boom block a patch of oil from reaching an island populated by brown and white pelicans and many other species of birds in Barataria Bay, Grand Isle.
photo courtsey of Flickr - Warning Sign
Photo courtsey of Flickr - Outer bands of Tropical Storm Alex darken the sky
The forecast tomorrow (Sunday, July 4) is calling for high winds, not promising for good sightings, but we will have to work with what Mother Nature sends our way. I’ll keep you all posted on our progress.
Right now, his future is looking a little brighter I hope. An easy way to help a sea turtle or dolphin from your own home is simply to shop using reusable bags instead of plastic bags. Just like the one we found during our surveys, plastic bags are lost or trashed and make their way to ocean waters. They are often eaten by marine life who cannot digest the synthetic material and may suffer or die as a result. Many stores give reusable bags away or charge $1.00 to purchase. It is absolutely worth the dollar to save animals suffering from our trash and every time you use these bags you can think about how much you are doing to help! Until next time, keep marine life on your mind and keep that mind Green!
Friday, July 2, 2010
We had a few successful sightings and then noticed a fairly large storm system working towards us. We were working a site where we had seen about 4 or 5 dolphins when our other crew called us in. The storm was approaching fast and we did not want to get caught in the middle of it. To that point in the day, we had seen anywhere from 15-20 dolphins and still no oil. We waited back at the state lab for the storm to pass and then went back out for round two of surveys.