What an incredible day!! I learned so much and was able to experience some aspects of the Gulf first hand, I was able to help feed some baby pelicans out on Rabbit Island in Cameron, LA!! [Which, ps, is practically Texas]
I feel so honored for this to have happened, because of the bird project and the intent of soon contributing to the area I was able to volunteer for the Audobon society. Massive heartfelt Thank Yous!! to the amazing Lexie, the powerhouse behind coordinating volunteers to help in getting the birds to where they need to be. I rode out on a boat early in the morn with her, the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Department members, and the GPS team [gulf pollution services]. Some of the Oil Spill’s rescued pelicans are being released here at Rabbit Island and the LA Wildlife & Fisheries teams make daily counts of how many birds are there as well as how many tagged Pelicans are in the area [Pelicans that are survivors of the oil spill].
After they did their count, we threw birdchow from the boat to the Pelicans on the island, including many baby pelicans! There a few hundred birds in refuge there and the island is a couple hundred acres, so we threw the fish [pogies] around the perimeter of the island to the recently released birds. They will be weened off of the provided fishies as they re-acclimate. It was a wonderful feeling to see so many pelicans together in such a beautiful marsh, healthy and not blackened with oil. Evidently, there have been some oil balls nearby that have been identified with the BP spill, but thus far and to most people’s knowledge, this area has not been affected, and hopefully the dispersant which I am now dubbing “Oil Spill Clear” will not raise its ugly head in the pelicans’ new home. [As it is still unknown what its effects will be and is illegal to use internationally.] We did a morning and afternoon feeding and it felt great to be helping in some way.
Another delight, there are so many dolphins here! On the way out one of the first things we saw was the pink dolphin, Pinkie! swimming with a grey mamma & baby dolphin pair. He or she has been here since Hurricane Rita and is truly bubblegum PINK! Evidently Pinkie is an albino dolphin and when swimming the blood vessels rise to the surface which creates the pink color of skin! Completely magical.
It was great to see the dolphins playing, one was hilarious playing with its food. We watched as he or she threw the fish around that it had just caught, spiralling through the water and sounding as if laughing hysterically in his/her own entertainment. Looked like fun! The dolphins also love to surf, when the big ships come through they all race to the middle of the channel and dive in front of the big ships coming down the channel – they surf the waves and are clearly thrilled. One dolphin would surf the ship’s waves and then dart ahead to do flips out of the water!!
The channel that goes into the lake from the gulf is also a shipping channel with MASSIVE ships passing through from around the globe. You can see oil refineries in the distance and drove through oilzillions of them on the way to Cameron. The refineries are so dense in the area, as well as Halliburton signs, and oddly named drilling fluid companies [such as BJ Drilling Fluids]. It seems odd that right next to or part of the wildlife refuge is refinery world. This is also a huge fishing area, so the channel is also lined with fishing boats heading out to the gulf and returning with their catches. Driving to the boat launch in the pitch black of the early morning w/ the full moon still up above, the land twinkles thick with refinery lights. The beautiful bayous are being clamped, manipulated, and over-harpooned with oil wells, studding the unique landscape, seemingly as common as the trees. Everyone seems to be sharing the same spot for very different purposes.
I am inspired by the people here working so hard and dedicated in helping to right things. These dear, tired, relentless people are working around the clock and without a clear end in sight, 90+ hour weeks 7 days a week, doing their best to rectify this environmental disaster. There are so many parts of the story: fishermen who have been working in the water through bloodlines, environmentalists wanting to help the animals and the environment, petroleum workers bringing in the oil which has infiltrated every aspect of our lives. This is such a mess and an entrenched, tangled net snared and embedded with the almighty dollar.
Listening to the radio on the way back after feeding the pelicans, the radio is filled w/ tragic stories around the world: disastrous flooding in Pakistan with far less aid received than Haiti, planecrash in China, 33 miners trapped in Chilé, the largest egg recall due to factory farming, attacks in Somalia, drug killings in Mexico, Jimmy Carter travelling to North Korea for a hostage release…good god that’s the short list.
We have to think farther ahead than this month, year, 10 years, or 40 years. We are living in such short sighted societies, how can we change this? I strongly believe that ethical and sustainable methods are the only way that we can all share the same space. Focusing on the positives and finding the possibilities in re-building for the future, sustainably and healthily. We need to use preventative, common sense thinking combined with the realities of our natural world in replacing our industrial age technologies and systems with truly sustainable solutions. How many breaking points are required to stop shoving the same broken key into the tired, long broken lock? As the old dutch saying goes, “How many feet can you put into one boot?”
At the end of the day, my head feels full with ideas and newfound inspiration for the keepsake at the center of the soaps. I feel informed by the landscape and inspired to move full steam forward.