destinations Diver Education

Gulf Coast Oil Spill

My husband Matt and I belong to a Jeep Club in San Antonio. They had arranged a trip to Corpus Christ and Port Aransas last weekend. We had been so slammed during the week, we thought about not going on the ride, since it was a 6am start and we wouldn’t get back till late that night. Then however, we thought about the oil spill in the Gulf and how it hadn’t reached Corpus Christi or Port Arthur yet and we should go down and enjoy the beach while it was still clean.

So we got up at 6am and headed to the meeting point on the SE side of town. We met up with another 5 jeeps and headed south. When we got to Corpus, we met up with the local Corpus Christi chapter. So we now had about 10 jeeps cruising up and down the beach.

We set up some easy ups and everyone sat and relaxed for a bit after the drive. The weather was perfect. It wasn’t brutally hot, there was a pleasant breeze, and the water was a balmy 86 degrees. Everyone took advantage of the crystal clear water, while discussing the possible effects of the oil spill hitting the coast line.

We saw little four wheelers going up and down the beach with turtle flags on there. Matt actually saw a large sea turtle swim next to him while he was out in the water. It’s currently turtle season, and the four wheelers were a sea patrol dedicated to making sure that when the turtle beach themselves that they don’t get run over by people like us driving up and down the beach.

I’m really hoping the spill doesn’t make it to the Texas coast. When I first moved to Texas 10 years ago, there was lots of oil on the beach. They actually had cleaning stations where they provided alcohol to wipe your feet before going back to your car. I had a pair of beautiful shoes ruined by the oil. There’s been a real effort to clean up the gulf and keep it clean. Scuba Divers even use the oil platforms to dive on. I can’t imagine the effect of the oil spill on the Scuba industry. With so many places to dive in the gulf, from the artificial reefs off the coast of Pensacola in Florida down to the Oil Rigs and Hammerhead dives off South Padre Island. In between the two are many Scuba shops and dive centers who’s livelihood is going to be severely affected by the spill. Then there’s the affect to the marine life.

Sure, there’s a small amount of oil leaking naturally in the gulf all the time. But nothing of this magnitude. From the abundance of wildlife on the Texas Flower Gardens to the manatees off Central Florida, the impact of the spill is going to be huge. If you live near the beach, go enjoy it while you can. Once Hurricane season starts, there’s no guessing where the oil will end up.

There are several civilian efforts to help clean up the coast. If you’d like to get involve with the cleanup, check out some of these places.

If you have a better list of volunteer opportunities, please reply below so that we can share the word.