Thursday, November 4, 2010

Like Oil and Water

Since Anna June's Granny Annie asked about the oil on the beach in an earlier post, I thought I should address what we saw.

My dad reported that if we built a sandcastle, we should only dig up to 6 inches down, because the way they "cleaned up" was basically to throw more sand over the oil. I didn't see signs to that effect, though, so I'm not sure where he got his information. Dad spotted some blobs in the water but Mom and I maintain that they were all driftwood (based on one that we saw up close on the shore). Dad also stated that the residue on the water line was oil-related, but I think it was just bits of dirt, wood, seaweed, etc. - normal detritus.

However, we went down earlier on Sunday morning than we did on Saturday, and it seemed like the sand was dirtier and harder to wash off our feet, so there was probably some oil in there. In fact, you can sort of see a line of blacker sand in one of the pictures above. We're guessing it is oil-related. But there wasn't any visible sheen or anything like that on the water.

The ocean is vast and resilient. But some terrible things have happened, and are still happening. In fact, my neighbor posted a link to this article talking about animal deaths directly and indirectly related to the spill. The numbers are devastating, but I don't know what they were on a regular, pre-Deepwater Horizon day.

Not to downplay the magnitude of the accident, but really, compared to how many billions of gallons of water are in the Gulf, the oil spill will, overall, not be that damaging in the long run. It will take some time to clean up, but in a few years it will be completely back to a new normal.

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