Deepwater Horizon Day 16: The Blank Space

Well, I thought I had avoided the wall by having Greg do a post yesterday (and a fine job he did, too!  Thx G-man). But, as I sit here staring at the blank screen, I comprehend vaguely that it and my brain appear very much the same – a wide canvas of white with very little interesting populating it.  So, this post will be short, sweet – and I know you have heard that before! – and bulleted on the key activities of the day.

  • No apparently oiled dolphins, sea turtles, whales or manatees (and yes, we are counting all four groups!) have yet to be recovered by the OMTU (and yes, Sherri, it does seem like a Tibetan chant in a way).  However, well over 100 dead turtles and more than 6 dead dolphins have been found and sampled.
  • We (and I use this word very loosely, as this was a Herculean task done by Brian Stacy and his tech Jennifer Muller) have completed the initial phase of more than half of the turtle necropsies, with Brian now compiling the information.  Final results will take quite awhile though, as the tissues themselves will need to be looked at microscopically to see if there are leasions that might be associated with oil exposure.
  • The “A” team of Teri Rowles, Jackie Taylor and Sarah Wilkin in Houma (with Liz Touhy-Sheen in Mobile), and a cast of many in all corners of the East and Southeast, are getting the Unit even more ready for action – finalizing orders (with Jackie compiling the SuperList of ordered supplies and equipment), working with our facility partners to ensure we are ready to respond, relaying the incoming calls to our wonderful state and regional stranding coordinators for rapid deployment, and compiling better and more comprehensive planning documents.
  • Working with the field capture specialists from USFWS and Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries (especially Todd, the nicest field general you would ever want to meet) to collect and transport any observed oiled turtles in distress, as well as transmit coordinates for dead animals for later collection.
  • Actually leaving the Command Center in the daylight (and you know when you have been on a spill too long when you do a 13-hr day and feel guilty about leaving too early) to have a farewell dinner with Dr. Rowles, who rejoins the land of the non-oiled tomorrow.

There are far more things that were done today – conference calls, side meetings, coordinating with NRDA on turtle/mammal research, overflights, caffeine forays – that I can’t begin to recall in my blank-mindedness, so will leave for another time. Please forgive the scattered nature of this post, the far-too-frequent use of parentheses and dashes, and the lack of pithy comments and sage wisdom. I will leave that for another day.

– Mike

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