As the outer-most bands of Hurricane Alex began to churn the surf all along Pensacola Beach this morning, we traveled down the beach a bit, alternating between a movie camera and a still camera.
First we went to "East Park," the county-owned beach just beyond Portofino. There, what we found washing ashore in the churning surf were large and small black tarballs of weathered oil mixed with fresh orange oil mousse in patties as large and thick as a three-pound package of ground hamburger.
Hurricane Alex is hundreds of miles to our west. Just try to imagine what things will look like if a hurricane comes close to or strikes Pensacola Beach.
Later, we traveled to Ft. Pickens Gate Park, the picnic area on the western-most side of Pensacola Beach. The surf there was slightly more vigorous. Thick, heavy streaks of orange mousse over-washed the entire beach, from the surf to forty yards or more inland.
A small regiment of bulldozers was trying to scrape the surface clean. But their heavy tracks left behind evidence that much more oil lies just beneath the thin veneer they'd scraped.
Click on the photo below to see a closeup:
As we were leaving an eleven year old boy "going on twelve," who was visiting with a dozen family members from Oklahoma, proudly showed us his new collection of oil refuse.
"What are you going to do with it?" we asked.
""I'm gonna show it around and keep it," he answered.
"It's a souvenier," his mother said proudly. "We'll split it up so everybody in the family has some."
"It's historic," added the father.
"It also contains carcinogens," we pointed out.
"Really?" the mother gasped. "No one told us that."