Hello! June has passed as quickly as I anticipated. Unfortunately, that has made it so that this is my first blog post in almost a month. I’ll try to make up for it though, with the story I’m about to write.
Just so everyone will know, my vacation to the Florida coast turned out to be a heck of a lot of fun. The Pensacola beaches were white, the sun was bright, and the water was very clear. I don’t think I got more than one jellyfish sting in the whole week, which is probably a record for me (I usually get stung by jellyfish at least three times while at the beach). Any trace of BP’s oil spill seemed to be gone (or buried); if you took a step back and took a panoramic look at everything, they appeared to have done a top job on the clean-up. Upon sticking your toes into the mushy sand on the shore and glancing down, however, tarballs of varying sizes -from about as big as a dime to one as large as a quarter- begin to pop up. I picked up a few shells floating around on the sand only to throw t
hem away in disgust as they were coated in oil. Where is it coming from? I wondered, looking around at the otherwise pristine beach. Many scientists are saying that the oil has not been removed, it is simply lying deep underneath the surface where sand-digging organisms and crustaceans run risk of mining a deadly underground slick. There were still more telltale signs of lingering oil as you walked along the beach. Settling down in shallow waters for too long gave some people in my group long stripes of sticky oil on their legs; as you exited the beach on one boardwalk, a scrub brush and a bottle of oil removing soap sat next to the hoses usually reserved for washing just sand off of your legs. Yes, the vacation was fun and the white sand distracted many visitors from looking too deep under the surface, but it also brought a dark shadow in my mind concerning the future of the Gulf of Mexico. Could there still be big oil slicks out there, despite the oppressive silence from the media concerning the remnants of the 2010 oil spill? Is it all a cover up for BP to keep claiming its halfhearted clean up efforts are true, or is the oil really innocent, washing up coincidentally? Only time will reveal the true story behind the otherwise glittering beaches.