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 Crabs, lots of them!
Noticeable oil streaks in areas that weren’t cleaned daily.
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.