A view from the Gulf

OK, enough news from the high seas adventures of the South Atlantic, lets take a break over the holidays for a bit of local perspective. The youngest (age 12) member of Pangaea’s Team is Alexandra Towner from Atlanta. She is the kind of nature kid that has Croc Hunter pictures on her wall and a lizard named Blue in her bedroom. Alexandra recently went to the Gulf of Mexico shores to have a look at what’s happening now several months after the BP Deep Water Horizon well blew….


11-23-10 (day one)
I headed to the beach in the late afternoon, and I couldn’t help but notice a huge machine heading away from us. We later discovered that it was sifting through the sand and removing little bits of oil as part of the restoration. The effect was that the sand was really light and fluffy, perfectly groomed and really fun to run in with bare feet I was pretty happy that they were following up on the beach cleanup and doing a good job at it too. It looked like there was still equipment in place to block of any oil from entering nearby estuaries. As I neared the water though, the first thing I saw was washed up man-o-wars along the coast line. I hoped that this was a naturally occurring process and not something related to the oil spill.

11-24-10 (day two)
We went to the beach again today and I didn’t see nearly as many washed up man-o-wars as I did yesterday (11-23-10). I remained hopeful that the washing up of the man-o-wars was a natural process, unrelated to the oil. On a more positive note, we saw a large pod of dolphins about 30-50 yards off shore. My Dad thought there must have been 15-20 of them. It looked like they were both hunting and playing; there weren’t many big waves for them to catch but when the waves did arrive, the dolphins took the time to play and frolic. It was wonderful to see wild animals actually playing for the sake of having fun.


11-25-10 (day three)
It was a different story today; the place was a grave yard of man-o-wars. There must have been thousands that had washed up on our stretch of beach. My Dad went for a 30 minute walk in both directions and didn’t see any decline in the numbers. To my surprise, I noticed that most of the other people on the beach were not alarmed at all by the washed up man-o-wars. I couldn’t believe it, they were boogie boarding and fishing in the water with those things floating around them. My grandfather was telling me stories of my uncle getting badly stung off Corpus Christy when he was about 10. No thanks, I didn’t want to chance it, so I made a huge dolphin sculpture in the sand instead. Here are some pictures that we took of the man-o-wars washed up along the coast.