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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Subsurface Investigations

Lowandbehold rockandrollas!

I can see more clearly now. I have had an opportunity to dive beneath the bullshit that lives on the surface.  The truth of the matter is that the ocean has taken a massive hit.  A sucker punch straight to the neck.  But she is strong, she is gorgeous and proud, and with a little support and intervention, she can get back on her feet; with some active retaliation, she may be able to thrive again.  To regain her glory and her confidence.  It is essential...without her, were all goners.  Her fate will remain to be seen.., depending upon how many jump in to kick her when she is down, or how many jump in to come to her rescue.

I jumped in yesterday, and went scuba diving on an exxon/mobil oil rig out of southwest pass, offshore of Venice, Louisiana.  These rigs, aside from being the bastards that rape the ocean, also strangely enough, provide structure to create an artificial reef system.  Corals and barnacles attach to the pilings of the rig, and provide some habitat and shelter for the ecosystems of the Gulf.  This was the first time that I have dove in the Gulf of Mexico, and the first time that I have dove an oil rig, though I have well over 500 dives under my belt.  So truth is, I don't really have any thing in my repertoire to compare this dive to, nor a baseline to judge it against.  But I do have to say, that I was quite shocked at the amount of sea life swirling in and around the rig.  I half expected everything to be dead or dying.

The first 15-20 feet were a brackish murky green/brown layer of freshwater, as it sits on top of saltwater. Freshwater is less dense than saltwater, and therefore floats on top.  There is typically a layer of freshwater in this vicinity due to it's proximity to the Mississippi River.  This year in particular they released a lot more water out of the mouth of the Mississippi, to create a flushing effect, and push the oil back away from the shoreline and wetlands as much as possible. This is not without it's own set of problems. But I digress...  As always in this fiasco, there was a layer of surface shit to excavate, before the blinders come off.

Once beyond the 20 ft mark, I began to see the structure of the rig unfolding before me, and was immediately entranced by a blacktip reef shark. Most of you know that I have a real fond affinity for sharks!  Damn, it was good to see him!  I followed him as quickly as I could to a depth of about 70 ft, till Cap'n Al started banging on his tank to hail me back in.  I reluctantly turned around and made my way back up toward 50 ft.  We proceeded through the rigging and observed a good amount of fish life, a couple a barracudas, and ah! At last! A Kemp's Ridley sea turtle!  My first sighting in the gulf. She appeared to be healthy and was zooming around, looking cute as a button.

As it became time to surface we had to levitate through the shit layer to come back to the real world. I took a few moments on my safety stop to observe the sediment, and other strange detritus floating in the brackish layer.  I noticed traces of oil and some dispersant looming in the water table.  I felt a minor irritation on my skin, and surfaced with a small headache, but both quickly passed, and I feel fine. 

Cap'n Al and Scott Porter, both local hardcore divers, informed me that they typically would see a lot more turtles on this dive site, and that the sea life and reef have suffered a pretty large blow, but they are noticing a marked increase in water clarity.  ...If not water quality.  We took several samples of the water, and I am anxious to send them off for analysis.

Isn't it funny how I'm starting to sound more like a scientist, hanging out with these dudes all the time?!  Don't you worry!  I'll be back to my ol' swagger in no time, because my main homey Dr. Chris Pincetich, lead turtle biologist and organizer of this stage of the mission has got to return to Cali tomorrow and start applying his findings.  I'm gonna miss him alot.  I have learned a ton from him, and will carry the torch in his honor.

Thanks for listening.  Your support means everything to me.  Try to find new ways to use less fuel, and cut plastics out of your daily routine.  There is always an alternative, it may not be the most convenient, but it is worth it.  This is how we come to ma oceans rescue!

 ~ If we were logical, the future would be bleak, indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings, and we have faith, and we have hope, and we can work. ~ Jaques Cousteau
Everything worth anything lives beneath the surface.  

Love, Brock

Sent from my edge of the Revolution!

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