Flying from the Source directly to the coastal area of eastern Alabama, the team discovered the shocking fact: the flow of oil from the Source was a constant slick all the way to the shore of Alabama. Slow and steady, a mixture of dispersant and crude oil was yards from beach lines that had people sunbathing in beach chairs. The most shocking realization was that everyone had bits and pieces of information, but really no one had any idea where it was going, when it was going to hit and who was safe. [...]
One of the ways BP controlled the media coverage of the oil spill was booking up virtually every available seaplane hour in the Gulf coast area. Luckily, our seaplane captain Dickie was fed up with how BP was trying to control the airways. A lucky situation arose which gave this rogue pilot complete flight clearance, even to the `Source'. Dickie and his seaplane was a rare find for the Gulf Coast during this time. [...]
When we departed the Deepwater site and Dickie communicated to the Orion (call sign "Omaha 99") our intent, the controller came back quite quickly saying, "You've created a hell of a ruckus with your flight today. We've got flights in and out of this airspace and you've been interfering with them." We got chewed out for several minutes straight. The funny thing is that we hadn't been given any advisories or instructions by the controllers the entire time we were orbiting the site. Furthermore, there were no other flights that came or left the immediate area while we were there. We'd have photographs of them if there were. Something tells me that we weren't quite welcome there and our presence was merely tolerated. [...]
The shed was deserted. A small sign read "Come see the truth. I will take you there. Boat trips for photographers and journalists. Call Al at..." I called Al.
"I switched to the other side. I work for BP now. Sorry, I can't take you out or talk to you."
Apparently this isn't an isolated incident. BP's buying up every boat and every boat captain they can lay their hands on. It makes our jobs a lot harder.
Current Music: Madonna -- Die Another Day (Deepsky Mix) ♬