Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gulf Of Mexico

I have been avoiding the subject of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  It is painful for me to think about the destruction of something so close to my heart, much less write about it here for everyone to see.  Maybe I have been waiting for it to hit my beloved Texas coast and until it did I wouldn't have to admit how horrible the damage really is.  I've been thinking though that it isn't a matter of IF it happens but when. The oil has now begun washing up on the Mississippi and the Louisiana coastlines.  Dolphins are washing up on the Mississippi shoreline and wildlife and aquatic life will be  affected for years to come.  That beautiful coastline will be a virtual dead zone for many years to come.  The Valdez Spill twenty years later is still felt in Alaska.

The long term effects of this spill are yet to be realized.  Already people are losing their abilities to make a living.  There will be a backlash of economic devastation to areas already hit hard in this part of the country.

The shrimpers and fishermen are already feeling the effects of this disaster.  What will become of them when they can no longer sail the coastlines to make their living?  Many of these folks have lived on the water for generations. Made their living from the sea. It is a daily struggle for many of them to eek out a living even during good times.  The hours are long and the work is hard.  How will they survive all this?  I don't have any answers... only an underlying feeling of despair for what is about to befall these good hardworking people.

And what about all those who depend on tourists to make a living.  I'm not just talking about the hotels and restaurants and charter boasts and businesses that depend on tourism to survive. What about the little guys?  The bait shop owners and the boat rental places?  The mom and pop stores that cater to those who come for a little fun in the sun?  Those little motels and RV parks,the bars, the fresh fish markets, most of which are family owned and operated? And then there are the good folks who make a living working for those businesses.  The waitresses, cooks, dishwashers, oyster shuckers, and even bartenders?  The maids and motel clerks?  You see, there is a far reaching effect that alot of people don't even consider.  If there are no tourists there are no jobs for thousands who have catered to the industry for years. How will they be able to stay afloat when there is no "floating" to be done?  

I spent the first half of my life on the Gulf coast. I spent countless hours on the beaches and in and around those waters as a child and a young adult.  I've lived all up and down the coastline of Texas and even spent some time in Louisiana. Now I wonder if I will ever be able to wade fish for flounder and redfish again. Or toss a cast net for bait?  Or eat oysters fresh off the reefs armed with a good knife and a bottle of  Tabasco.

Of course most of this has not yet come to pass.  Unfortunately, I believe that it is only a matter of time.  Fishing and Shrimping have already been affected and I feel it is only the beginning. There is no way that that much oil spewing out into the Gulf will not have adverse reactions on the people and the creatures of the sea. 

(image from Google Images)


  1. I live on the coast near Galveston. It is a terrible situation and my daughter works as an accountant for a huge coastal food and hotel chain. She is already preparing lay off lists. It is a sad situation...

  2. It is very sad and scary. We are wondering about our favorite "Destin, FL".

  3. We should be OK here. The current is fixin' to do it's spring north to south flip flop. If it gets here before that, the barrier islands will protect the bays. The Ixtoc spill was much worse, and did make it here. Aside from some extra tar balls on the beach for a few years, there were no ill effects. The LA/MS/AL/FL coasts will take the brunt of it. Bad news for them, real bad...

  4. I feel so bad for the people in that area. I can just imagine how it's going to be.

  5. Just the thought of one tar ball on my beloved Clearwater beach makes me cry. And Destin....
    God help us.

    See Ya.

  6. Oh, God, it's so hard to read this because it's all about to happen. You've written so eloquently here... possibly one of your best posts ever. I,too, grew up on the Gulf Coast of Texas and sailed, motored, waded and fished (and worked on offshore rigs) in the waters from Port Aransas to Big Shell. It hurts so bad to watch this unfold. Few know that my original dream was to live on a sailboat around that area rather than live in the Chihuahuan Desert. But David really wanted the Desert, so because he helped me raise the girls and sacrificed so much of his own plans to do that (we married when the girls were 13, 12 and 10), I decided that it was his turn to live where he wanted (and I love it here, to be clear). I sure do miss the water. Daughter #2 is moving back to the Padre Island area next week for the summer.

    The ripple effect. Too bad BP didn't have a plan to handle a disaster as they said they did in order to get the drilling permit.