Did You Get In?

Did you get in the water?

What was it like?

Nope, we didn’t get in not even wading.

But at first it was hard because the children wanted to and it was so tempting.

We did play in the sand, away from the water,

and we spent plenty of time swimming in pools.

But many, many people did swim,



even despite the red flags and other warnings.

By Saturday, Gulf Shores public beach was flying a double red flag

and saying it was illegal to be in the water.

However, the flags are different each day depending on the oil coming in.



Our first real clue that things were different was the boardwalk washing station.

Dawn soap dispensers and notes encouraging everyone

to wash before leaving the boardwalk.

The tar from tar balls would leave marks when someone stepped through it

and the tar was hard to get off of feet even when using Dawn.

We just tried to stay out of the tar ball area ourselves.



I had no clue what a tar ball would look like. 

But here is a shiny one which is easier to recognize. 

Some are dull and look like rusty balls of metal. 

They all squish and are oily with no real noticeable odor. 

We saw these the whole time in varying quantities.


But later as we walked around we began noticing many little things

 that were different than in previous years.

First there was a serious lack of birds.

We normally see flocks of seagulls

which we laugh about having meetings on the beach. 

But we only saw an occasional seagull.

Typically we see large flocks of pelicans fly over

but we only saw maybe 10 the whole time.

Pelican feathers in the beach line debris. 

I’m not talking one or two but lining some areas.

Dead Fish



Dead Crabs, lots of them!



Noticeable oil streaks in areas that weren’t cleaned daily.

Black streaks


 Reddish brown streaks



The last evening a strange white debris was on the beach.

My best guess is that this is fish scales. 

They had the same texture and smelled very fishy.

This was lining huge swathes of the beach the last evening

before the large amounts of oil rolled in.

We never saw a dolphin the whole time.

Typically we watch the dolphins swim up the coast in the early AM

and then watch them swim back as the morning progresses. 

 They are almost like clock work but no dolphins at all this trip.

Seems the animals were staying away from the oil.

I’m not the only one noticing the strange animal behavior.



This was the oil rolling in our last morning. 

We had never noticed any odor even when near the water the whole time. 

However, the last morning as the day was beginning to heat up

some of us noticed a slight odor.

The best I can describe it is it smelled like hot, cheap new plastic. 

That may sound strange but some plastic smells really are noticeable and bother me.

It was a note worthy field trip that the kids will remember

and be able to say “I was there when ………”.


But no we didn’t get in and after seeing some of the things the kids didn’t ask.


6 thoughts on “Did You Get In?

  1. We have been @ PCB all week, no oil no dead sea creatures and the water was crystal clear…. but we did notice there were no sea gulls. We used to be able to get them swarming around eating chips out of our hand. Sad to think our beaches may never be the same again.

    Berean Wife Reply:


    Glad your trip wasn’t bothered by the oil. We have friends going to PCB this next week and hopefully they will have a nice trip. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who noticed the lack of animals, especially the sea gulls. Wish I hadn’t though, because there is no telling how many years it will take to get the beach areas back to some semblance of what it used to be. 🙁

    Berean Wife

    P.S. Leftover French fries is what the sea gulls liked from us in years past.

  2. It looks daunting, just from your pictures. I do hope the cleanup and nature’s restorative properties combine to bring back some semblance of the former beauty of the Gulf Coast sooner rather than later.

    Berean Wife Reply:


    I guess we can’t even begin to guess how long it will take or what the true damage will be until the oil is actually stopped. The way things have gone lately I’ll really be surprised if they stop it with the relief well in August.

    Berean Wife

  3. Wow. That is so sad. We had wanted to go to Gulf Shores this summer, but it will have to wait. Maybe Myrtle Beach or something.

    Berean Wife Reply:


    I know the economy in Gulf Shores really needs the money and the tourists. But honestly it is hard to plan because sure as you schedule things may get worse. 🙁 But the rental places are bending over backwards to get business. They are giving you the right to cancel right up until your stay, cancel the remainder during your stay if need be, and even rates similar to off season rates. As long as the air is not adversely affected and you don’t mind staying out of the water (or don’t worry about the water contamination potential) then you can visit for a very reasonable price. It is also no lines no waiting at even some of the big restaurants and activities. But no matter what it is risky to plan. 🙁

    Berean Wife

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