The next two weeks will feature posts by two different guest contributors from New Orleans. This week Jerry Moran, a native New Orleanian and someone someone very familiar with Grand Isle, reports about a couple of trips he recently made there and how he discovered what some might call hidden evidence. There is also a video Jerry made from a trip on skimmer boat and the problem the dispersants are causing with the clean-up. One of the big stories of the Gulf disaster is the mostly successful attempt by BP to limit the media and photogrpahers from discovering the full extent of the damage as well as the true amount of oil that has been gushing from the leak. Keep in mind that BP will be fined based on the amount of barrels reported leaked and the damage done, so it is their best financial interest to help low ball both those figures. -Peter
Made 2 trips down to Grand Isle, the first was on Tuesday 5/25/10. Spent some time initially on the West End of the island by Caminada Pass……things looked pretty clean at first, Anderson Cooper of CNN was arriving that day so this is no surprise, we started to find oil in very strange places, one being on the dry side of the jetties, which appeared to have been moved out a bit. I am very familiar with the area having spent a considerable amount of time shrimping and fishing on Elmers Island and Grand Isle, we have a family home down there….I was accompanied by friend and fellow photographer Andy Levin on my trips, when I suggested we stop looking on the sand and go back towards the marsh grass, he seemed a bit puzzled, but knowing the mindset of the locals, and trusting my gut, I felt that if there were shortcuts to be taken, that would be the place to look.
Immediately upon entering the brush, the STRONG stench of death overcame me, and this is where we found at least 13 Bull Redfish, whole bodies, some covered in oil, discarded and rotting. No one would ever throw away such a catch and it was obvious to me what the cause of death was…additionally, we found the exposed freshly rotting head of what appeared to be a dolphin, at the top of an unnatural sand mound about 20 yards away.
On my return trip, I attempted to dig, but the smell was overwhelming, all kinds of bones were surfacing and it was obvious to me what was under there. To me that would explain many strange occurrences at the west and east end of the island, namely solid oil being exposed under some places where one would walk, under the sand…….so how does oil get under the sand…….behind the jetties, the scary thing is that these are hearty fish. Redfish this size would take 20 to 30 minutes to reel in for a fisherman, yet they apparently succumb to oil rather easily, as dolphins apparently do too. Why hasn’t anyone heard about this, and why is BP burying such things without any reporting or warning, things are not as they appear through the media, and I am afraid that it will get a whole lot worse sooner than later….. And btw, on my return trip 5/28 the Dolphin head was nowhere to be found.
Trip 2… On my second trip to the island last week, we were treated to another crafty production by BP and the cleaning army, the only thing is that there was nothing to clean, the island had been sanitized before Anderson Cooper Arrived on Tuesday. Accompanied by friend and fellow photographer Andy Levin, we approached the “cleaners” on many occasions, asking them who they were there for, how much they were paid, etc……mum was the word, no one wanted to talk, one poor guy said, “Please Mr. don’t make me talk to you, they told us not to say anything”…..eventually, found out, BP put up fliers in Laplace and Houma the day before, and were able to corral about 400 people into 8 or 9 public school buses….we actually thought they were with a church or something at first.
Meanwhile while the production was going on pretending to clean on the beach, oil coats all of the rocks across the on the bay behind Grand Isle…..all you had to do is turn the top rocks over to see, and even more disturbing were all of the small hermit crabs, trying to escape the water exposing themselves to terminal heat, (72 degrees is all they can take and it was in the 90’s)….the water had a milky tone to it, kinda reminded me of the Audubon Park Lagoon when it was polluted years back…..So you say what’s the big deal, hermit crabs are dying (btw thousands reported in same shape in Elmer’s Island), I assure you, much, much larger animals have been succumbing to the oil……
June 11. Just wanted to let everyone know we hit the MOTHERLOAD today. This is the most I’ve seen since being out here, even from the first hitch when there was no containment dome. OMG, it’s easily a mile wide and stretches towards the Eastern horizon. The other skimmers are converging on our location. Our tanks are full, full before noon. The fleet racked in 38,000 barrels (4,000 from us) and plenty more to skim up in the morning. We were all wondering how the oil suddenly just showed up after days of dispersants and sheen, especially since BP is claiming success each and every day. Did it get trapped under the thermocline and take longer to reach the surface? Are the other leaks popping up? How long does it take oil to climb the water column from 5,000′ mixed with dispersant’s and pushed around by ever changing currents? I imagined many variables.