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These pictures were taken on Pensacola Beach at dawn this morning.  The rust-colored stains at the waterline appear to be oil.  They were more apparent before sunrise than after, although they were visible in the half-light.

Television camera crews were readying their first broadcast as we walked onto the beach at 5:30 AM.  As usual, the crews were setting up near the entrance to the pier or on the pavement forecourt near the music plaza.  They were not at the waterline investigating.  A few people strolled barefoot along the waterline, picking up empty soda cans and other trash.  When I mentioned the staining to them, they seemed not to understand me.  Once again, it was apparent that the general public defines “oil” by the presence of the tar balls.  Today, the staining was far more damning even as the main body of the spill moves southwards and away from the Florida and Alabama beaches.

The local news has just reported that the water is “clean and clear.”   If you believe my pictures show oil staining, what do you think?

The following picture exhibits different characteristics from the ones that precede it. I include it because I cannot decide if it is a more exaggerated example of the same or whether is it something else.

We continue to be perplexed by the behavior of the beach-going public.  They loll in the sand as clean-up crews in special protective gear pick up tar balls around them.   I leave you to decide for yourself what this says about the people who come out day after day to play in the stained waters of the Gulf.

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