On Day 3, the White Lab decides to break less rules than intended. (Except that no more doughnuts rule; we did make a doughnut stop before our first site. So that rule was broken.) At our first site, in Grand Isle, we collected oil soaked sand patties as usual. There were people at the beach even though the sand was brown and muddy, the sun was not out, and it was muggy. The second site, the state beach at Grand Isle, was even better. On our way in, there were more cat tails and puddles than humans on earth, and Max met up with his best friend (a dead fish that looked like an aligator). The pier here was incredibly long, and on the beach there were tarballs galore. The wetlands are different than anything I have ever seen, and seem almost mystical. Also at this site, there were dolphins close to shore! (This trip seems to be filled with sampling and dolphin sightings, both of which are pretty great. Here, Helen spoke to a local and her daughter about the spill and Hurricane Katrina, as well as the changing beaches. Hearing about the spill from someone not in academia was really interesting. After searching for sand patties on the dunes (which we probably weren’t supposed to be on), and successfully finding a few, we left for the next site, Elmer’s Island!
Upon arrival to Elmer’s Island, the gates were closed, and two men were telling us to leave. Supposedly, there was oil spill cleanup occurring on the beach (making us want to access the beach even more now), and nobody was allowed to enter. Local fishermen were planning on heading down to the beach after the spill workers left, but something told us we shouldn’t try to break and enter (well, the “something” was actually the voice of Chris Reddy). After this attempt to collect samples failed, we made our way to Port Fourchon, which is the beach that Helen and Pat got kicked off of for sampling last year. As we approached the gate, there were about 10 signs that stated that anyone who entered without permission would be arrested, so once again, we played it safe and headed back to New Orleans.
For our last night in NOLA (I keep seeing signs that call it that), we went to dinner and then to a hotel lobby to hang out with the Reddy Lab. It was just like that R. Kelly song but not really. Today is our last day here, and we’re all going exploring with Big Bob, which should be exciting! And then everyone will head back to Haverford, where we can analyze all of these samples.
Also, check out our twitter! (twitter.com/HKWLab)