I Am Sixty, Part Two: The Oil Stain August, 2013

My friend told me stories about her yearly trips to Sanibel, Florida. After hearing her stories, I was longing to go there, especially after viewing all the gorgeous shells she had collected during her visits to Sanibel with her family.
Sanibel Island in Florida is a vacation destination dream place, but the reality of the ocean’s condition there since the BP oil spill in the Gulf is extremely sad. The sea water is cloudy brown and the shells that used to line the beach have disappeared. The entire shore is utterly devoid of shells except for tiny bits and pieces.
My friend and I searched all along the island’s beaches for three days. We hit every beach on Sanibel Island; plus, Captiva Island and came back with empty sand pails. We did fill a three ounce bottle with tiny shells which we collected at midnight when the tide was out.
The excitement I felt at going to stay at an ocean front hotel to celebrate my 60th birthday was tempered by the still visible damage that was supposedly cleaned up in the Gulf Coast. Why is it still showing its ugly face in the brown ocean waters of Sanibel? When I asked the hotel management why the ocean water was brown and a little sudsy, they told me that the “town” had put something in the ocean a few days ago to help keep the ocean clean. Mmmmm. Really?
When I got home I did some research and found websites manned by Gulf Coast residents explaining the still ongoing pollution residue left behind from BP’s oil spill, the mess from the disbursement solution included. Oil sitting in puddles in their back yards, sea life and plants diseased and dying off.
I did have sand dollars all over my feet and legs when swimming at Sanibel. I enjoyed meeting them and scooped them up by the handfuls, said hello and set them back into the sea.
My friend, standing beside me had none near her, so in addition to being a gecko and butterfly whisperer, I am now a sand dollar whisperer.
Sanibel is still a beautiful island to visit but it was so sad to witness the ongoing damage from the BP oil spill and I was furious when I recalled BP’s recent commercials stating that there was no lingering damage from their oil spill.

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