Monday, April 22, 2013

Beauty and the Beast, Flowers and Tar Mats, Grand Isle 2013

Renita knelt down among the bluebonnets and as I took the image the sweet smell almost overwhelmed me. We had met Janet and Lennie yesterday and they had told us that they had chased us, while reading our blog, in Alaska but had never crossed our paths. How amazing to meet them and to see their burst of blue in their Grand Isle front yard.

We had just finished walking the beach and it had been a pleasant walk on a long and vacant strip of sand. There we had seen a family crabbing in the surf, their strings attached to pieces of chicken. The father would wade out and net blue crab that refused to release their grip on the tasty meal. The waves were rather large, so it wasn’t the best day to crab but he was catching them anyway. The waters color had a green hue that I hadn’t seen before and I wondered what it was from.

Offshore, large slab shrimp boats were plying their trade, (and the shrimp boats all are getting ready for the butterfly shrimping soon to happen in the pass, (we hope it starts soon and we can fill our freezers with fresh shrimp). They butterfly when the large shrimp are migrating inshore and the boats lower their nets to catch the tide borne schools.

We stopped to read the crosses, with the names of those lost during the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Three years ago, almost to the day and we were here as the smoky clouds covered our camper at the state park. Gary told me we had passed the deadline to file a health claim and I told him I would probably never live long enough before BP would ever pay a cent,(right now the trial to place the blame has just begin and the judge will now determine who is/was responsible).

A sanderling ran away from us and we saw the carcass of a huge dead jack creville,(not caused by the spill, just a common sight to see large dead fish). Back from the beach Connie and Gary pointed out the tar mats, still visible in the sand. Digging down six inches, we still hadn’t reached the bottom and the tar and sand smelled with the stink of money, (you could pick it up and walk on it without staining so time is exacting a change).

It had still been a pleasant walk on a cool day and our shoes were clean. The least terns are starting to congregate on the beach near the state park, preparing their nests in clean sand and beach shell. Later we walked the Nature Conservancy woods and saw scarlet and summer tanagers.

During the walk, Connie pointed out the telltale blue of a female indigo bunting and Gary spotted a pileated woodpecker. We saw more yellow billed cuckoos and later drove around to see all the shrimp boats. If you are ever here, and notice wooden bells on some of the houses, that means that the house is over one hundred years old.

We talked with several fisherman and lots of redfish and huge black drum are being caught so the plan is for early start tomorrow and then fishing. The tides are really small so it’s not a good sign for catching, but the winds are supposed to lay down so I look forward to the next day’s adventure.

This place is so beautiful, and we love it here, even with the nightmare that happened. It’s much less visible but the scars are still here if you look close enough. I write of them not as a reminder but only as a witness to the changes we have seen taken place. There are still a few places closed, but Elmer’s Island is open and again the fish are being caught. I am reminded of the commercials that the Gulf is back and while I wouldn't agree its back, it is slowly returning, even with the tar mats and tar balls we have seen as far away as Florida. Clear skies.

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