Warm Gulf Water Memories- Something My Kids May Never Have

The Tide is OUT

My cousin introduced me to a friend working directly on the horrific oil spill in the Gulf. I don’t know this man well, so I’m not sure, entirely, of his character, but I do trust my cousin enough to exchange a few emails with his buddy.

I’m not going to sugar coat it…the more I learn, the more I realize nothing will ever be the same. I’m not going to identify this man who “specializes in radio-isotope technologies to provide real-time diagnostics” in order to protect this source…but from time to time I will share our emails.

“Our way of life is permanently changing before our eyes. I’ve been in meetings all day in *city redacted* and it’s bad. Very very bad. I’m watching some lives feeds online right now and I can already see the hydrates forming. This latest attempt I’m afraid will be a complete failure. I feel sad for us, but I feel especially sad for my girlfriends 3 1/2 year old boy.

This is very very bad.”

And then this:

“I’m currently scheduled to head out to the *redacted* boat…which is currently deploying 2 work class ROV’s…
I imagine my goal when I chopper out on *redacted* will to be monitoring
the new lower marine riser package (LMRP) for hydrates. Hydrates are ice
formations created when natural gas and seawater combine in such depths,
pressures, and temperatures. This was what happened with the first
containment dome was lowered to the leak sight. With the LMRP I suspect
that the same thing will happen because the LMRP will not and cannot
create a watertight seal. I suspect that this package will freeze very
quickly. A couple years back I monitored a hydrate plug in a natural
gas pipeline in which we injected over 5000L of methanol into the
pipeline and it still took 19 days to break free and start melting. I
just can’t see their theory of being able to use methanol to prevent
hydrates in this new package being successful.

What does all this mean to me? This means to me that anything and
everything they throw at trying to contain the oil coming to the surface
will be a failure until the relief wells are finished. Do I think the
relief wells will be done by August like they are saying? Absolutely
not! With the upcoming hurricane season coming, and the pressure
problems they already encountered with the well when the Horizon
exploded and sank, I suspect that the relief wells will not be complete
until late fall or early winter.

BP and the government I think are doing EVERYTHING in their power to
try and contain this and stop the leak, but the options are limited. BP
and the government have the best technology and people working on this.
I’m confident with that statement. I’m just afraid that they DO KNOW
these techniques being tried will be failures but need to perform
anything available for the public’s sake. I’m afraid that we’ll be
waiting for the relief wells to be completed before the oil will stop

Will that all being said, I hope I eat my words and they can contain
the oil with the techniques I mentioned above in a timely fashion. I
wrote this pretty quickly so I’m sorry for any grammar errors. Feel free
to ask any other questions you have, and I’ll try and keep in touch
while I’m out there and possibly get you some pictures from the onsite

And when I told him I was freaking out…

“I’m freaking out too. I think everyone should be freaking out a bit at
this point. This oil that has leaked out already will impact the rest
of OUR lives for sure. I’ll keep in touch”

My kids may never play in the Gulf again.


  1. Interesting interview! Thank you for sharing. From what I’d read on a few sites, all the initial attempts by BP focused on saving their wells, not actually capping the oil. If that is true, I don’t see how that means they were doing everything. However, I can imagine that at this point that they are and that the leak is just too massive for anything to be done until the relief wells come, like your contact said.

    It is all so, so, so sad. The pictures of the animals break my heart.
    .-= MarfMom´s last blog ..Friday Favorites =-.

  2. The ecological damage is going to be far reaching. I am wondering how this is also going to effect all of our health. Those of us who live here. All kinds of stuff getting poured into the Gulf. Toxic chemicals.
    We have heard from those who work on the oil rigs. They say it has to run its course. Just as this man has. We know people who work in Emergency Management, who are not sure what to even plan for. This is bigger than anything they have dealt with. Bigger than Katrina or other Hurricanes that have touched our cities. Now we are in Hurricane season. Life as we know has changed. And we don’t know how those changes are going to impact us and our children.

  3. I live in a land-locked province and I even feel affected. Heartbroken. Saddened for the state of the water. The animals. And mankind. That we could have ever created a situation where this could even occur. I hear people saying that there are 5,000 offshore drilling sites, ‘only’ one incident is good. How can any incident be good when it has such dire consequences? That’s not good statistics… that stupidity. To not have fail safes because there’s ‘no chance’ of failure. There is ALWAYS a chance.

    It seems, to me, that BP is concentrating too much on a solution that concentrates on pumping the oil. How about just STOPPING the oil? Oh right… because there’s no profit in that. I imagine when they see that gushing crude they see dollar signs floating away.

    If this had happened in China the BP execs would be in jail, facing execution (re: tainted milk/toys). So why are these guys in charge of this? I concur with your source… it seems as though they’re wasting efforts just to put forward a good image. So they can say “but we tried so hard, it’s not our fault”. They’re company, save for the spill site, is relatively business as usual. Shut them down, then see how fast they get this fixed. Oh wait.. but we can’t because we ‘need’ the oil.

    I normally try to avoid environmental issues because statistics can be interpreted so many ways and there are so many factors and so much conjecture and hearsay. But there’s no avoiding this… this is such a shame. I am sad for us all. For what we have become, as a civilization. This isn’t just BP’s fault. We all did this. I only hope we can make it right.
    .-= The Last Girl Standing´s last blog ..doppelganger? =-.

  4. Erin–thank you for sharing this. My husbands family lives down in the gulf, and Plaquemines Parish is his birthplace…it’s decimated. Worse than Katrina, though I feel unsettled in even suggesting the two are comparable.

    My kids will never swim where their Daddy did as a boy. 🙁

    I do look forward to reading more of the exchanges w/your cousin’s friend.
    .-= Margaret´s last blog ..The Irony of Standardized Testing in a NCLB World =-.

  5. As an island and ocean girl and mother of a two year old…my heart is broken in such a deep way. For days I’ve been crying. For him mostly.

    But also for us.
    Because at the root of this life changing disaster is a demand and dependency on oil. Demand leads to profits leads to greed leads to money over safety.

    Look at what’s happend to Toyota…a brand built on quality control so blinded by a desire to be the global car leader that it expanded beyond its control and now, God knows how many lives have been at risk? And do you know all the ENERGY and OIL that have gone to waste and now will be wasted once again to identify and correct the problem?

    This country is blinded by individually packed sugar packets and single serve broccoli and peanut butter sandwiches. We are so wasteful. How inconvinient is it to separate a bag of frozen broccoli into two portions or to make a PB&J sandwich? Our houses must be perfectly heated or perfectly cooled, they must be perfectly sented with gadgets that automatically midst freshner for us!

    How much plastic, aluminum, chemicals and yes, energy are created to indivually package, wrap, and ship our food or automatically midts our homes with clean linen scents?

    How many of us turn our cars on just to go to Starbucks and buy even more outlandish concoctions?

    I don’t mean to sound judgemental…I’m guilty as charged.

    I’m a somewhat greenish person in that I am concious..I line dry when possible, I made the least amount of 1-5 items to store, I turn my AC just until the rooms are cooled then off and turn the fans…I do “my” part…but suddenly…with this oil spill…my part seems dismal.

    We’ve already changed our ecosystem forever…what more will we do?

    And when will Capitol Hill get Big Business out its bed and take a REAL pro-LIFE stand by protecting all of our lives, our children’s lives, and our planet?

  6. Very insightful about them probably doing all they can, probably knowing it won’t work, but needing to appear publicly that they believe. It plays well into our short attention spans and even shorter-term memory. The long-term story is, in my opinion, as of yet unimaginable.
    .-= Maggie, dammit´s last blog ..Lights Out. =-.

  7. One of the storylines that hasn’t gotten a lot of press is a number of seismic reports that suggested the oil reserves in the Gulf might equal or perhaps even dwarf Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay. The Gulf prospect could have provided high grade petrol directly into the New Orleans production facilities with minimum new build, and hence, minimum impact to the environment (since any new construction by definition is not carbon neutral). So this disaster is an unbelievable fail for many reasons.

    As someone who was once a little boy playing in the Gulf waters, I am aghast that this happened. My hope is that this plays out like Mt St Helens, once written off as a catastrophic ecological disaster, but today, an incredibly vibrant and diverse ecosphere.

  8. I’m trying to remain hopeful – I know they were able to reverse the damage with smaller leaks – but yes, the more I read, the more I worry.


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