May 7th, 2010
02:05 PM ET

Gulf oil spill from the air: Like paint covering a floor

You hear it's massive - but that word oftentimes is used too loosely. In this case, it is sadly the right choice.

We had just left Houston's Hobby Airport when the captain came on saying if the clouds weren't too thick, we'd be flying right over the oil slick in the Gulf on our way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  He'd let us know.

Less than an hour later, he's back on the speaker, "If you're sitting on the left side of the plane, that's the mouth of the Mississippi."

We were flying at 39,000 feet, he said.  With the clouds only scattered, we'd have a good look at the slick out of both sides of the plane.

From that altitude, I wondered how much I would see - probably not much.

Within minutes, it was below us - the oil stretched out in long, rust-colored streaks, tentacle after tentacle like the arms of a dozen octopus.

To put it another way, think of what it would look like if someone took a gallon of paint and threw it across a floor.  The Gulf is a large body of water, but this was truly massive.

I heard the folks at window seats around me just sighing in disbelief.

As we flew, you could periodically see a boat or two moving between the strings of oil. They looked like ants caught in molasses. There were places where the rust color thinned to a sheen on the water.

But then we'd fly over a few other spots that were imbedded in the rust color. The water was black. I don't know what the folks on the right side of the plane could see. But the captain had said, they'd see even more.

We weren't over the area of the spill for more than 10 minutes at the most. As we moved farther east, the color returned to that beautiful Gulf blue.

As we made the turn down the west coast of Florida, the white sand beaches stood out as they always do - and hopefully that's how they'll stay.

soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Chuck Fellows

    It seems to me that we're wanting big government to regulate and meddle now that there's a problem in the Gulf. Not too long ago many posted that a reduction in government was in order and I heard "drill baby drill."

    May 7, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mobilly

    God created this world to do as we please. We have souls not animals. I church supports the republicans because of their moral values. Profits are Gods way of showing us how much he loves us. Trust me he will cleans the oil spill and there will be another Bush for president one day. Praise the Lord!!!

    May 7, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ted

    I agree with Chuck, God is probably not too happy with our materialistic, pleasure minded society. We would all do a lot better and be a lot happier if we turned back to Him. All of us, not just the greedy oil companies.

    May 7, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jzbl

    Mobilly (and like-minded others), it is christians like you that keep me (and I suspect others) from being one.

    May 7, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. George

    The church is WRONG and has always been WRONG about man's place in the world.

    The Earth does NOT belong to man.......

    Man belongs to the Earth!

    If every human being died today,
    the Earth would go on just fine without us,
    but we will always need the Earth.

    May 7, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. George

    Hey Mobility.....

    I'd bet my hound dog has more of a soul than you ever will.

    And probably more intelligence too!

    May 7, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ernest j pfeifer

    Now we realize how fragil our world is!! ...Meanwhile the chain -reaction somehow unimagined: engulfing us in total nausium!!. How dumb are we people????Now we must stop international oil corporations,paid off politicians,and all other self serving paracites from ruining this side of the planet at least,I thought us americans were smarter than this outright stupidity:Offshore drilling is not worth the risk!!!!Look at the ghoast towns along the coast of Alaska!!!!There is no real way to clean up a mess of such proportions!!!!Wake UP America!!!Urge the Goverment you love- to protect the Enviroment .Remember its our childrens,childrens,childrens world also...I hope some americans out there still care about the future.

    May 7, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Isaac

    Jzbl I agree with you. It drives me nuts when Christians get on public sites and make a fool of themselves (I say this as a Christian). I mean the very least he could do is learn a little grammar. I also agree that probably the largest thing keeping people from becoming Christians are the Christians that they see around them.

    May 7, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jessica

    Could it be Mobility is using Sarcasm?

    May 7, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. George

    No.... I think he's actually that dumb.

    It's surprising I know that in the 21st century there are
    still people THAT dumb, but unfortunately it's true.....

    May 7, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sandra

    Chuck Lentine, Of course god did not make this mess because he does not exist.

    May 7, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. For Christ's Sake!

    I hate when people get all religious and start using it as an explanation for something that has nothing to do with religion, God, or any of the above aforementioned! Someone Eff'd up big time on that rig and it blew up. And now its dumping tons of crude into the ocean. Do you really think God did this or is going to help BP clean it up??? To all the Bible thumpers out there, try thinking with an open mind and not like a cult member...

    May 7, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DPRotating

    Lets see, they were flying at 39,000 feet and saw 'one or two boats'. I flew over there, and was within 5 miles of the Horizon site, and on a hazy day (about 6 miles visibility), I counted 39 boats within sight. Just because you can't see it as you rocket past doesn't mean its not there.

    May 7, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nattronix

    leave religion out of this you moron

    May 7, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sunny

    Being a Christian I look at this forum and my heart is saddened to see EVERYONE fighting. We should shut our yappers, stop placing blame, pointing fingers, rehashing the past, and help and/or encourage the cleanup of this horrible accident! Regardless of your political, religious or non-religious beliefs, it has, and will continue to affecting our environment and animals until it’s cleaned up. Shame on you for arguing about who's right and who's wrong…..WHO CARES? This fish and birds don’t care.

    May 7, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
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