Friday, May 7, 2010

Oil Spill Update

Captain John and I would like to take a
brief moment to

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Note: All the pictures in this post are of our beach, we live in Ocean Springs, MS.
I took a break from it for a few days, it got a little overwhelming for me. For those of you who don't know, the swing is in the yard of the same house, less than 1000 yards from The Gulf of Mexico, that I have lived in since I was a year old. I am a little spoiled in the fact that the beach is really not a big thing to me, in a sense It's an everyday occurrence in one way or another of my life. Don't get me wrong, we fight, for our animals and oceans like no others, but still when something is a way of life, it looses it's glimmer.

Oh say about 30 years ago or so, we were skimmers, long before the word was ever created. We called it water scooting. Four of five of us would run down the hill to the beach, with anything that would work to skim across the shallow waters. Trash can lids, frisbees, Mamma's big Tupperware lids, Daddy's stadium seat cushion, any form of a flotation device was fair game. As a teenager, we went to Ship Island nearly every weekend to develop the tans of yesteryear, the wrinkles of today. My first kiss was on that beach, bonfires to celebrate the milestones of our lives, peace when my foolish young heart was broken. My tanned sweaty friends and I could fix any problem, sitting on that seawall, with the saltwater winds blowing in our face. It was our, new boyfriends galore, half dressed and tan, just pick which one you liked. Daddy threatened to take the keys away, for all the trips up and down our beach, and using so much gas to cover 3 miles. If we sat still, we might miss something, besides cruising was cool, and we thought we were too!

My first date with The Captain at 31 that ended with a really long walk in the edges of the water of The Gulf of Mexico, our footprints left in the sand for miles, paw prints too, even way back then. Nowadays, I live to be The Gilligan on our many rides upon the waters. Our finances tied up in The Catch of The Day, or who's hiring out there in those waters. The oil is nearly here, could it really be that all this is gone? Really? Some miracle was going to happen to make this go away. Really? The shock has set in for two true lovers of the sand and water we call home. I want you all to understand how this feels for us, the lump in our throats, the slight hint of a tear in our eyes, when we see the dead turtles on the shoreline. The pain in our hearts for everything we know and love. The disappointment in the boys, because they don't get to go to the beach again today.

Yesterday, we closed it out, for almost an entire day, save a few cellphone calls The Captain had to take, but only while traveling. Instead with spent the day on the streets of New Orleans, with a Pink and Preppy Lilly Lover. Great food, great friends, lots of laughs, a few cocktails, and a long, long, hug at the end of the day. In case those of you, who know her here in this world are wondering, she's even more beautiful in person. We were so excited to see that Lilly dress sashaying down the Riverwalk toward us. A little bitty thing, so full of life, and charm. What a blessing her spirit was for us during this time. Everything a Southern Belle should be. It makes me want to meet so many more of you.

This morning, it's back on it. Captain John has spent the rest of the week, out there in the boat, we have known that the oil was on the shore side of the barrier islands since Sunday. We called BP, they said no we are mistaken. We asked them if they would like to see the white towel (my freaking white Egyptian Cotton Towel) he dipped in the water just 8 miles south. We called the newspapers, thank you for the information, will make a note was the reply. Called the TV stations. No reply. The local authorities, a nod of the head, with no reply. Still they continued to report it as being 30-35 miles south, safe from our shores.

Captain John says there are hundreds of dolphins between the shore and the oil, are they staying away, or getting trapped? Can't determine that yet, but none to our knowledge have washed ashore. There were hundreds of dead fish on our beach on Wednesday, and the sea turtles that have washed up are somewhere around 40 the last we checked. Continue the good hopes and prayers, you know the one, it's become or motto of sort:

Swim, Swim, Swim, Fly, Fly, Fly

This is turning out to be long post so rather than posting articles are links, I'm just gonna give you some of the most attention grabbing headlines I am seeing.

The Sun Herald received a report from Ocean Springs attorney Scott Taylor that what appeared to be tar balls were washing ashore in great numbers at Sand Island, one of the smallest of the state’s barrier islands, near the eastern end of the chain between Horn and Petit Bois islands. Ummmm wonder where he heard this from?

From The Sun Herald this morning:

As the first confirmed reports of oil washing ashore on barrier islands were
coming in Thursday, Obama cabinet members tried to reinforce the message
Mississippi leaders continue to give: No need to panic, yet. It might go away.

They even put in a plug for Gulf seafood, promising it’s still safe to
eat because they’ve shut down fishing in contaminated areas.

“As Gov.
(Haley) Barbour says, we don’t want to be Pollyanna-ish, but we don’t want to
predict Armageddon,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, joined
by Barbour and Commerce and NOAA secretaries. Napolitano said the Gulf oil spill
is “unique and still evolving and potentially an unprecedented disaster” but
offered that “possibly it won’t be.” So typical, DON'T PANIC, yet.

ON THE GULF OF MEXICO — Workers gathered to begin lowering a giant
concrete-and-steel box over the blown-out oil well at the bottom of the sea
Thursday in a risky and untested bid to capture most of the gushing crude and
avert a wider environmental disaster.

But the lowering of the box was
delayed late Thursday because of dangerous fumes rising from the oily water, the
captain of the supply boat hauling the box told The Associated Press. A spark
caused by the scrape of metal on metal could cause a fire, Capt. Demi Shaffer
said. Deckhands wore respirators while workers on surrounding vessels took
air-quality readings. It was unclear when they would be able to proceed, though
crew members were hopeful it would still be on Thursday night.
Still no progress in stopping the gushing of what they now say could be millions of gallons of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico.

OCEAN SPRINGS — More than a third of the 7,500 volunteers who registered on are from Mississippi and of those, almost 2,500 are from the Coast.

Yet Don Abrams, who set up the site, said Thursday he has been unable to deliver the list to BP or to get the company to acknowledge the list might be of value.

“I’ve offered it to them in any format they want,” Abrams said. But he said he doesn’t think the company is set up to deal with volunteers.

He said the local officials are aware of what these volunteers have to offer, but the people within BP who make decisions aren’t.~
God forbid let anyone local get involved enough to find out the truth.

We know this, the chemical dispersant is killing the wildlife, it reminds me of that part of the movie Erin Brockovich, where they realize that the chemicals in the water is what's causing the deaths, and the lady runs to the pool screaming for her children to get out of the water. I had a long talk with The Captain, about not getting the water on him, do you remember I told you he said it burned a bit when it was splashing on his face? Read this ya'll...unbelievable.


BP working hard to keep the damage hidden

The weather along the Gulf of Mexico finally cleared today, but with the
wind backing around to the north and east, the spill remains out to sea.

Retired University of Alaska marine conservation expert Rick Steiner
joined us today. He's worked on oil spills around the world, most significantly
on the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound Alaska.

Rick says
that the fact that this spill emanates from the bottom of the gulf (5,000 feet
down), where the water temperature is approximately 1 degree Centigrade (and the
oil is hot) means that by the time the oil reaches the surface, it has
thoroughly mixed with water and therefore does not appear to be the kind of
gruesome slick that is so famous from previous disasters.

It's a PR boon
to BP that this is so, because it means that the oil spill remains hidden from
public view. It does not, however, mean there is not a tremendous environmental
tragedy unfolding. As we speak about this, we need to make that point clear.
It's not just about what we can see from shore and that BP has been proactively
taking steps to keep the damage hidden.

The dispersant being used at the
wellhead – tradename “Corexit,” is nicknamed by Rick “Hidez-it” because the real
reason it is used is to keep the damage out of sight. He points out that oil is
toxic to wildlife, dispersant is toxic to wildlife, but the toxicity of the two
combined is greater than the sum of the parts.

A fisherman we spoke with
also noted that if dispersants are used, it saves BP money because they can hire
fewer fishing boats – at $1,500 per day each – to skim oil.

As we noted
last night, when dispersants are not used, the oil comes ashore and kills birds,
when it is not used, it stays in the water column and kills fish, but it's worth
noting that killing fish means killing birds eventually because of, y’know, that
whole food web thing.

On another BP front, we hear that BP is demanding
that fishermen who they hire in the cleanup sign gag orders, agreeing not to
talk to the media. Rick says it’s one of the many similarities to the Valdez
spill. BP’s reading from the playbook Exxon wrote.
This contract was sent to The Captain by BP and another environmental company interested in hiring him. Do I have to tell you they are sitting on our table still unsigned, I didn't think so. Every lawyer we know has a copy though, wink wink.

The rules are:

1 – Understate the amount of oil spilled and environmental damage done.

2 – Overstate the effectiveness of the oil company’s response (or more
accurately, the oil company’s “response theater”).

3 – Try to buy off
the locals for a pittance in exchange for waivers that they will not sue.

4 – Get as many people under a gag order as possible.

Can you believe this shit?

We are
warning the locals that it took 20 years of court battles to get Exxon to pay
damages to the people of Prince William Sound and that the final settlement was
only one-tenth of the original award.

Rick said, “Right after Valdez,
someone told me, ‘Lawyers still unborn will be litigating this spill’ and I
laughed at him. Well, it’s been 21 years and the litigation is still not
finished, so he may be right.”

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this exact view. This shot is a true glimpse into my world readers, I can see The Captain, hopping across the waves out there. Home truly is where the heart is, this is mine ya'll. This is our view.

That's enough for now, I can feel my blood pressure rising. Ya'll stay with us through the weekend, and I will keep reporting what's going on. Captain John is attending Hazmat training tomorrow to be certified, and I have a lot more to tell you. Stay tuned for more.....

I will do the Captain's update tonight for in the morning......

We love you all,

Captain John and his Bumpkin On A Swing


Simone said...

What an AMAZING post....I had no idea you had lived in the same house since you were one

So glad that you are writing all of this....incredible.

Thinking of you....

I'maNolaGirl said...

Keep writing! Keep sharing!!! Your voice is one of the only real and true connections most of us have to this awful event.

I am so glad yall were able to spend time with Miss Trish. Can't wait to be closer so I can partake in these amazing afternoons!

Mrs. Potts said...

This made me tear up reading. Such a lover of animals & this breaks my heart. Not to mention that the beach is sacred to me.

Nothing more wonderful than the sand & sun. The heat on your face (behind 50+ spf), the water lapping your toes.

I'm glad that she was able to lift your souls a bit. I have to say, that in the middle of reading this, I felt a twinge & realized it for jealousy. A bit jealous that in one of my favorite cities two of my fave bloggers were able to meet & I couldn't be there.

Then I felt truly shamed for feeling that when you need/deserve that little lift.

I'm so glad she was your smile. :)

Thank you for it all.

MCW said...

I cannot beleive they are still saying that is not that bad and don't panic...the damn thing is still spilling oil!!!!

Elle said...

thank you so much for telling us about the chemical dispersant... I was thinking it had to be something pretty nasty to get rid of the oil like that....

I am so tired of hearing people say that this oil slick isn't as bad as the others because the way the oil is disintegrating in the water.... all oil spills are bad period... grrr....have you seen green peace's number to call if you spot an oiled shoreline or if you want to volunteer to help in the cleanup? It might work best to volunteer through green peace, b/c I don't think they have to work in conjunction with BP... here's a link to their website talking about it

and here's the number to call if you spot an oiled shoreline or want to volunteer: 1-866-448-5816

Also, have you heard that one of the best things to do to prepare your beach for oil coming ashore is to clean up debris and large shells... don't remove anything living, but driftwood, garbage, large shells etc... all catch and trap oil... so the more of that you can remove before the oil comes ashore the better... the green peace website talks about that a little bit (i'm sure you probably knew that, but it might be useful info to share!).

Also, have you seen the Mobile baykeeper website... they're out of Mobile Alabama, and they have a lot of useful information on the disaster now too:

Also, they've been contacted by BP to help with the Bird rescue and cleanup, but they've also been forced to sign gag notices.... is another resource, it's a website that lets you take pictures of ecological disasters and it post the honest to goodness truth in pictures... they are updating their databases and preparing for the deluge of incoming images they're expecting to see from the gulf... I don't think they have any agenda but to get the actual truth out there, and to use the public to help! They also have a handy dandy iphone application that will let you take the photo and upload it directly to their website....

Hopefully you find this information helpful... I'll keep hunting around for what else I can find!

Swim, Swim, Swim, Fly, Fly, Fly!!!! (every time I read or type this I start crying!) Big hugs to you and the captain and your lovely shoreline Bumpkin! Kiss the pups for us from Austin!

So glad you had a great time with Trish!

LouBoo said...

Hi - this is just so poignant and real to read. Compared to what is on the news here - a whole ocean away from you. I so understand that feeling of home that you convey - its the only place you know and now its threatened. We are all with you...swim swim swim, fly fly fly. Louise x

Makeupthoughts said...

I love this post...I showed it to my dad who is a Sea Captain and knows how these things work and he totally agrees with you guys ..It's appalling that they are all still saying there is no reason to panic...I really don't want to think about the poor damn sad...

Thanks for entering my Lorac giveaway...:))))


Lori said...

I am sitting here with a lump in my throat and my chest heavy with emotion. I too have a beach that is near and dear to my heart and I can only imagine what you are going through. Please keep sharing and I will continue to read and pray ~ Swim, Swim, Swim ~ Fly, Fly, Fly

Cheeseboy said...

This needs to be posted... but it needs to be seen in an even larger light - worldwide.

(I'd love to see the skimming on a garbage can lid. Interesting thought.)

Trish said...

Honey you are amazing and I just loved every moment with you and John. I found myself missing you two all day long! Can't wait to do it again soon, it was the most fabulous afternoon I've had in a very long time, just wish my Matt could have been with us too - next time! You are such a lovely couple, even cuter in person than I could have imagined :) xox

Thank you for the update, we appreciate all that you both do to actively expose this situation and do the right thing to protect the poor wildlife that will suffer from this awful nightmare.

bananas. said...

wow. i keep hearing about this but i didn't realize the seriousness of this event. my heart breaks when you describe the dead animals...bah :*(

thank you for sharing and keeping us posted.

A Casa da Vá said...

you are blessed to have such a lifestyle and I envy your commitment to preserve the nature. I am sending many 'fly, fly, fly' prayers and please keep us posted, since we can not expect the real news to come from the newspaper! i even think you should keep video footage of all that - kinda the style of "Food Inc" - you have a valid and important msg that needs to spread

i also must say that you left the cutest comment ever in my blog! I also must own it =)
So that fabulous chandelier used to be only available in Europe because I looked for it before with no success, but today tcha da:


Short Southern Momma said...

What a great post lady! I am so glad you are here to keep us informed with whats going on. Still praying for y'all! How fun it must have been to meet Trish! I wish I were closer! Hope you have a wonderful weekend sweet friend! xoxo

Anne - Fiona and Twig said...

Hi Lisa,
This is such a heartbreaking situation. I cannot even imagine.

Stay strong and don't let anyone silence your voice.

Hugs and prayers,

sinnlighet said...


I follow this heartberaking situation through television. BUT you have made me understand in a different way. Thank you for this, my dear blog friend.

Your voice is strong and powerful, let it not be silenced. , I have sent this post to my friends.

Lots of love


Dustjacket Attic said...

Well it's hard to comment on a post like this honey, really hard! Words don't explain the anger and frustration at what is happening over there. Why do the govenment allow them to lie and hide what is going on, I just don't understand.

On a lighter note, that was SO Fabulous about Trish and you guys, I'm so happy you had a memorable time together, you both need some happy spots in your day.

That is just the sweetest thing about growing up there and the stories you can tell. I just love that as I moved countries and areas a few times so I don't have that beautiful memory of growing up in one gorgeous place such as yours.

hugs DJ

Make a Roux said...

Dearest Bumpkin,
I know this is hard for you, but please keep this up. We need to hear the truth from people like you and the Captain. It is the only way we can know the whole story. I am so sorry for what is happening all around. I feel selfish thinking of how this spill is stealing my memories, when it is stealing your home, your way of life and livelihood. :[

Bama Girl said...

Dear Bumpkin, sending you hugs and much love from Gulf Shores. We are so sad about what has happened, and still hoping for some type of miracle. We'll take anything at this point! Thinking of you and Captain. Keep us posted! XOXO
p.s. Love that you and Trish were able to hook up, and sad that I couldn't join you!

JDB said...

Oh my. I think of you every time I read the paper or watch the news. So awful! Thinking of you and sending prayers of hope.

Leah said...

I am praying for you! You are so uplifting and have the right attitude! Keep us informed!

Salt said...

You are doing so much for keeping the real story coming out for people to read and we all appreciate it! I know that I've been passing this blog along to lots of people that I know. :)

Your home sounds so beautiful.

Kayla said...

I'm going to the gulf coast this summer and I'm worried about what I'll see. It's unbelievable this happened.

shari @ little blue deer said...

Oh Bumpkin, I am so sorry to hear all of this. Once again I will say that I appreciate and trust you and the Captain for sharing THE TRUTH with us. I got choked up reading your post, just like when I saw the fisherman crying on CNN. Thank you for keeping us posted, and we will keep praying for you and the coast. Oh, and I know a lady doesn't curse, but how f'ed up is it that they made the surviving oil workers sign something stating that they were "okay" physically and mentally so that they couldn't sue in the future?? So sad. XO from Georgia.