Most people don’t really think of the beach when they think of Texas, but this state actually has a huge coastline. It takes about 8 hours to drive all of it.
The closest beach to our house in San Antonio is about 2 1/2hrs south at Corpus Christi, and another half hour out to Port Aransas on Mustang Island. If we want to go to a really nice beach, we make the 6 hr drive down to South Padre Island, near Brownsville and the Mexican Border.
I was hoping that this year we’d get to lots of diving in the Gulf. There’s quite a few spots that are world known. The Texas Flower Gardens National Marine Sanctuary, the oil rigs, the Matagorda Island Liberty Ship Reef and Seven and One Half Fathom Reef are just a few of the places to go diving in the gulf. Whether you want to see coral, fish, hammerhead sharks or do some wreck diving, Texas has it all. It’s just starting to get warm over here. I’m a wimp about cold weather diving, so I was excited about the warm temperatures coming along. Now, however, I’m not sure we’ll get to do any diving in the gulf this year. The oil disaster is just growing by the day. Right now, it’s headed towards Florida, which is devastating for them. However, all we need is one eddy to spin off, or for the Hurricanes to start, and who knows where the oil will end up.
Matt and I went to Corpus Christi with the Jeep club this weekend. We thought about not going, but we thought we’d better enjoy the beach while we could. The water was beautiful and clear and almost body temperature. It was choppy, but it’s so shallow for so far out, it’s not too dangerous. It’s turtle season, so the turtle patrol was going up and down the beach. Matt actually saw one out in the water as it swam right by him.
So, now David Ulloa, my other dive buddy and Going Down partner and I are trying to work out how we can best help with the civilian volunteer clean up effort in the gulf. David moved to Florida last year, so right now, it’s headed towards him. He’s from Texas, so either way, it’s also going to have a personal impact on him. Matt and I are looking at how fast it’s moving, and are preparing to head to Florida if it hits there first. There’s some great civilian volunteer efforts going on. From hairdressers donating all their clippings which get made into booms, to people donating their boats which are taken out to scoop up the crud.
The biggest problem is how toxic the oil is. You can’t just go out there and get dirty. It’s extremely poisonous. You need hazmat suits, special equipment and all that jazz. It’s crazy how something that so many people are so dependent on can do so much damage.
So, right now, David and I are watching and waiting for the best opportunity for us to pitch in and help without getting in the way. I’m hoping that they can get a cap on the thing before it gets too much worse. People are already being affected. Fishermen, diving groups, people who live on the shores in Mississippi. We’re so used to getting our oysters, shrimp and fish from the Gulf, but now they’re not all safe to eat. Divers can’t go to certain areas anymore, incase they come into contact with the oil. Oil rig diving is huge here. I’m guessing that may get canceled for a while….
I guess all we can do for now is hope they get the leak stopped and that we can all pitch in and help with the cleanup. I know I’ll be there, trying to save some manatees!