A speckled crab is almost completely encased in a thick layer of oil just offshore of the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Baldwin County, Ala. Discarded items, such as this American flag, are similarly encrusted with the thick, goopy oil found hugging the seafloor in several locations along the Gulf of Mexico beach.
Video footage shot on June 18 by Ben Raines of the Press-Register and uploaded the following day captured both oil in the water and a Gulf water teeming with sharks. The video closes with a view of a discarded American flag in the water, clotted with oil like the crab in front of it.
The video has been shown on ABC's "Good Morning America," CNN's Headline News and Fox News with Shepherd Smith. Raines has been interviewed on "Good Morning America" and other national news shows about his experience covering the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as both the Press-Register's environmental reporter and a Gulf Coast resident who spends much of his life on the water.
"I spend a lot of time in the Gulf, especially along the beaches," said Raines. "I commonly see sharks as I cruise the shoreline looking for cobia and other fish, but usually no more than five or 10 during the course of a day. Most of them are small sharks, typically blacktips or sharpnose sharks about 4 feet long. During the spring and fall migration periods for the sharks, I might see a few more than usual.
"Friday was a different story altogether. I was looking at 20 or more sharks at a time in shallow water, and most of them were more than 5 feet long. Several were 8 feet or larger. Instead of the small inshore species, I saw bull sharks, hammerheads and one large shark that I think might have weighed more than 400 pounds.
"The sharks were so numerous I was able to hold my camera over the side of the boat and film them as they swam within four or five feet of the lens. Whether they were driven toward shore by low oxygen in deeper water remains an open question. But, there were definitely an unusually high number of sharks swimming just off the beach."
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab measured large areas of low oxygen water just off the beach at Fort Morgan earlier this month, beginning in water around 20 feet deep. Monty Graham, a University of South Alabama scientist, theorized that the population of oil-consuming microbes had swelled, and those tiny animals consumed lots of oxygen.
Sea life begins to die if oxygen drops below two parts per million. Those levels may explain the dense aggregations of fish seen in the surf zone. The turbulent area near shore is naturally high in oxygen due to the influence of the breaking waves.
F37R's take on this:
Here's an honest report with visual references.It's not raining oil. Never has. The beaches are indeed a mess,I have been there both volunteering and being paid to help (one needs a Hazmat Certification). Weird as this sounds and probably obvious to many...while working on the shore and in the Surf Zone, I have never seen so much as one protester,not one "Green Conscious" or so called civilian environmentalist working or helping.No Greenpeace,no Sea Shepherd and no Sierra Club. Don't get me wrong,you do see alot of Tie Dyed protesters all over,But they are far away from this Oil Disaster and the Beach, Well inland downtown flapping their arms and lips for personal attention.
|Liveleak on Facebook|