Day 47 – New Orleans!

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Where to start! What a finish the other day, on Saturday, September 24th. I only wish I had taken photos of Andrew Whitehurst, Scott Eustis, and Eleanor who guided me in to the final destination, the backyard of a friend of Dita and Peter McCarthy’s who lives right on Bayou St. John. This little bayou was the original waterway into New Orleans, back in the day. One of my tasks for myself is to locate a book or books that can tell me more about it. The history is such a fascinating aspect, and one I’m craving to know more about. I sure hope my reference librarian mother doesn’t retire any time soon!

Scott and Andrew work at the Gulf Restoration Network. One of their many restoration projects is rebuilding wetlands in Bayou St. John. Anything which encourages the diversity which we’ve destroyed with our bulkheads, canals, golf-course styled lawns, pavement, and other impervious structures is a good thing, and they’ve already seen a difference in what they’ve created reflected in the bird population there.

Karen and Rick Gould helped me carry my gear down to the dock where my canoe sat waiting patiently, with my water shoes as bumpers. This marina is a big beautiful brand spanking new one built in the last few years. Neither it nor the canals with big modern homes and golf-course manicured lawns were here when I paddled through this area in 2009. I searched out my blog from that paddle and couldn’t believe I had nothing in it about the Crystal River in Florida. This wonderful new place in Slidell is certainly slated for the same water quality issue that the Crystal River currently battles because of degrading run-off and apparent unwillingness to take into consideration “best practices” for watershed management.

I explained this to Greg Worley, the kind director of marine operations there at the Lakeshore Marina, who let me keep my canoe there. I told him how a marina and dive ship owner in Crystal River, who grew up diving that crystal clear waterway (hence the name), and whom I had met, watched as the developers came in and did just what they are doing in Slidell, popping up homes with huge manicured lawns going right up to bulkheads-no buffers no nothing. I can’t believe I didn’t write anything in my blog back then about that mess, because I took photos of it and have used the shot I took of the algae clogged boat ramp at the marina there at the Crystal River and tell about the dive shop operators frustration at every single presentation I do because it is such a stark example of how poor planning and development can ruin a waterway. There are so many simply gorgeous examples of developing “right” that I can’t believe the developers of this part of Slidell got it so wrong. Steinhachee Landing along the Gulf Coast of Florida as well as Dita & Peter McCarthy’s home, and the gorgeous development where my family and I were hosted in Harbor Springs, Michigan, last year are all beautiful examples of development done right. How does one ignore the science of clean water and build something like what I paddled through in Slidell with its man-made canals on a former wetland? I do hope that the marina operations manager and others in decision making capacity there can take a visit to that spot on the Crystal River as well as the places that have got it right with watershed management.

To understand the implications of watershed management and what it takes to limit negative impact on our nations water (and food–remember-what you eat needs clean water, too, AND wetlands, which provide food a habitat for fry and the young creatures which eventually grow into what we eat), please check out this video. Protecting our water resources does way more than protecting a pretty place in nature, it also protects our economy. http://www.wlox.com/story/33133648/usda-gulf-restoration-strategy-starts-inland-with-wooded-areas

Oh-just a note about the paddle in. In 2009 I remember paddling the Rigolets as being “no big deal” probably because I went with the tide then. Also, it wasn’t as hot. I remember the last day, going from Slidell to the beach on Lake Ponchartrain as being a hellish battle into wind and chop. This time it was the Rigolets leg that was horrible due to the current and oppressive heat & running out of water, and the paddle to NOLA was a sweet run with a light wind at my back, following seas, and having the right heading so I didn’t have to paddle forever around the airport bulkhead which juts way way out.

It was slightly death defying though, to cross the channel by the shore as there were cigarette boats going at like mock 10 in a race, and no one responding on the VHF about their float plan. I hung out with the sailboat regatta for a bit, figuring I could sort of use them as cover, besides, if I got hit by one of them I’d probably survive and it wouldn’t hurt so bad like it would if I got run over by a speeding cigarette boat.

When I managed to cross the channel I met up with Andrew, who kindly guided me into Bayou St. John and helped me cart my gear over the portage. He also knocked the biting ants out of my shoes for me, as I didn’t realized until too late that I had stepped in a nest of them. Shortly after, Scott and Eleanor arrived with their tandem kayak. Before we knew it we were gliding to the canoe’s resting spot in the backyard of Joe Swider.

So today Carl and I will bid farewell to Linda Vice, who has been my wonderful personal NOLA tour guide, and her fun friends Carl and I just met. It was such a stroke of luck that she planned to be here for a week and that she was able to meet my better half. I haven’t seen Carl and the kids since I left Medford Lakes on the 8th of August and my heart has been aching for them. The sweetness of being in my lover’s arms again overwhelms me, and I’m glad I’ve settled in my mind that this is my last journey ever where I’ll be gone from him and those funny young people at home-those strong minded maturing individuals that constantly amaze me and who I can’t believe are our kids.

Carl and I will leave NOLA today and take the scenic route to Birmingham, where we’ll hopefully arrive in a timely manner. Linda Vice pointed out to me that I am overly optimistic about my time constraints, and she is right. It’s most definitely a hereditary defect that even setting the clocks 20+ minutes ahead doesn’t seem to fix. We will try to make time where we can. It’s also why the OC1 (outrigger canoe), a racing vessel, is my boat of choice for these journeys. Sometimes you can make up for “gab time” with speed on the water (ha-but I AM the “slowpaddler,” I just have a fast boat!) I suppose this is also a rationalization for my lead foot….

Time to hit the road!

margo
609.678.6159

Sent from my iPhone….with typos and all….

Day 46 – Slidell

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The heat is back with a vengeance! My pleasant paddle with leaping dolphins and much active bird life turned into a “pound it out” to get to the Rigolets before a threatening looking cloud conglomeration did. The cloud had a dark angry underbelly and was piled high with dramatic fluffy mounds. As I made my way to the Rigolets, a wide river area that leads to Lake Pontchartrain, the cloud thankfully dissipated, I guess after raining in the Gulf.

By the time I hit the Rigolets the sun had turned up the heat. Going against the strong current in the intense heat of the day was made more difficult when I ran out of water with about six miles left. The only option at that point to cool off was to hop in the water, which I did multiple times.

I’ve been so lucky to have not had that heat, which zaps your energy, for awhile now. That has pretty much been a hallmark of this trip-intense heat. I’ve never paddled a journey where I’ve run out of water, so this is a first for me. Let me tell you, it sucks to have no water when you’re baking in the sun trying to pound it out against even a small amount of current.

I felt really bad for crashing out early at the home of Karen and Rick Gould, who I met last year in Michigan, at Carla and Neil Deitlin’s wonderful North Bay B&B. They had a little “happy hour” gathering of various friends that work for the Navy at the facility down here, whose name escapes me at the moment. We chatted and got to taste some of Rick’s amazing Scotch collection. I’m definitely a lover of the smokey and peety stuff. Between that and finally feeling clean and full of food I had to apologize for myself and crawl into bed at 9:30.

I’m a lover of heat but what this trip has been dishing out has been a real challenge. Everyone here says it usually gets better this time of year but so far that hasn’t happened. At least today is about on a 25 mile paddle. Once again I’ll fill up my water bottle and my water bag and see if it lasts. I think it should, but holy mackerel it’s been hot!

Yesterday I took refuge in a man-made channel that runs behind brand new construction. Well, it certainly wasn’t here when I was this way in ’09. Huge houses with huge lawns seem to be the rage along the water here. I don’t know when these homes were built but I wonder for how long these waterways will be stink-free with that much nutrients going into them. At least, unlike the Gulf which gets hit with all the nutrients from big ag further upstream, the issue here will be residential. But then, I do remember how even residential development now clogs the Crystal River in Florida. I guess some folks are destined to repeat mistakes, and when folks suffer crazy engine clogging algae growth then maybe they’ll see why lush lawns right up to the water isn’t such a great idea. Or not. Sometimes it seems as a species we don’t learn our lessons very well.

On to New Orleans where I also can’t wait to see Linda Vice again! She’s here for a week. I can’t wait to see her and to have Carl meet her. And hopefully we can get Karen and Rick to meet her and Carl as well. I love having Carl meet the wonderful folks I’ve met and they him! He’s definitely my saner, better half.

Day 45 – Pass Christian

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Yesterday I left the nice sandy beach of the Ocean Springs Yacht Club, where my canoe’s stay was sponsored by Judi and Ken Altman who are members there. As I geared up the boat, my phone rang. It was my friend, Maria Christianson, from home. So wonderful to hear her voice! We basically chatted about the kids , her son is also a freshmen in high school, and the goings on of the summer for the whole length of the bridge from Ocean Springs to Biloxi and a little bit beyond.

I hadn’t really remembered much of that paddle from Biloxi to Bay St. Louis back in 2009, except the wind and chop and my miserably handling boat which I didn’t realize was loaded with water. The damage was still apparent from Hurricane Katrina. I do remember it had been pretty barren looking. Certainly not like it is now with some of the towns having real harbor areas.  I remember Pass Christian just having nothing, nothing at all, and now they have a gorgeous harbor and they just broke ground for a new hotel.

Since I’m paddling along the mainland I’ve been missing the beauty of the barrier islands. My current hosts, Dita and Peter McCarthy, have a bunch of photos of Mississippi’s barrier islands on their wall. I’m really missing a lot by not going out there. Some of the islands are inhabited, but most of them seem pretty wild. I’d love to come back for a barrier island paddle and just camp there with the family. You could actually make a neat little trip of paddling from Pascagoula out to the islands, camp there for a couple of days, and then paddle the stretch back to Pass Christian, especially once the hotel gets built. That would be a perfect trip for October or early spring.

While I paddled toward Gulfport and Pass Christian, dolphins broke the glassy surface and mullet hurled themselves in the air, some more gracefully than others. Every now and then a different kind of fish would leap out in a perfect arc, as if to show the haphazardly leaping mullet how it’s done. Further off in the distance I even saw some dolphins leaping in arcs and close to me a baby lifted his head and pectoral fins out so he was sort of standing in the water, close to his mother. It was nice to have such a distracting spectacle to watch rather than the hulking mass of Gulfport to stare at for the couple of hours it took me to paddle up to it.

It is funny how perspective shifts on the water, especially when you are a low craft like a canoe. Big things that you think are next to another big thing turn into big things that are behind other things, like the massive LNG tanks in Pascagoula and the Chevron plant. You’d swear as you paddle up to these that maybe the gas tanks are on an island out to the side of the Chevron plant, but in reality they are the second thing you pass on that stretch of land.

Being on the water makes me more aware of clouds and weather patterns, as being able to figure out how and from where storms develop directly impacts my safety. Yesterday I watched clouds form over the Gulf from the start of the day. They moved inland but never got to the “threatening and concerning” stage. But I watched them and wondered.

Soon I’ll be back at the yacht club where I met some wonderful folks at dinner-Kathy and Allen, whose last names I’ve forgotten, and Jim and Gayla. Jim and Gayla had just gotten back from a camping trip with a seriously cool little tag along camper. I definitely want to look into that-it even had solar panels for the refrigerator and lights! I have so got to check that out.

The rooster is crowing and it’s time to leave yet another wonderful couple’s wonderful home. I can’t believe this trip is nearing its end. I’ll be in Slidell tonight with a couple I met last year during the New York to Chicago leg of this trip, in Presque Isle, MI, at a wonderful bed and breakfast, the North Bay Bed & Breakfast run by Neil and Carla Dietlin. We had s’mores and enjoyed a wonderful time with our hosts, and had exchanged information. From the archives-https://paddle4blue.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/day-39-sanborn-township-to-presque-isle/

Time to get ready to hit the water-and the Rigolets!

Day 44 – Ocean Springs, MS

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So far so good-the weather has been holding. The clouds do puff up over the Gulf by they don’t seem to really develop into anything until further inland. I’m so hoping that pattern continues to hold although after tomorrow I will be heading more inland as I paddle up to Slidell.

Yesterday Alice Baker and Eric Richards joined me on the water-it was a real joy to have them out there with me. We had a good following breeze and some wind swell to ride. They had taken me through a short cut thru the marshes which was way way preferable to going back out the busy harbor entrance of the Pascagoula River. I was really impressed by the Pascagoula area and am hoping maybe I can swing by there on my way home-will have to see what Carl says, as I also would like to do a pop in at Mobile and we need to head up to Demopolis to grab my gear which is currently being stored there. Then it’s on to Birmingham and home the next day.

Eric and Alice and I paddled into the Ocean Springs Yacht Club where we met up with Bill Curtis of the local Citizens Climate Action group, and Julia O’Neal of the Sierra Club. Kim Richards later joined us as did Cynthia Ramseur’s husband, George. Much lively discussion ensued about the best way to decrease our carbon-load among other things before we moved on to dinner where we were joined by Dr. Andy Clewell of the Society for Ecological Restoration and Nina. I’m now fully into Gulf Restoration Network’s amazing network-so many people committed to doing what they can do to help the Gulf of Mexico which oftentimes seems to be slated to be the “national sacrifice zone.” It is too chock full of life, with so many dependent on it for a living, to let that happen.

I wish I could remember all the details of our many conversations and the tangents we all went off on. There was certainly no lack of discussion topics. I’d love to get these folks to the Blue Vision Summit next May as I think they’d get a kick out of it and they certainly would add to the mix of the salty folks that usually attend that. Regardless of who wins this crazy ass election, next May’s Summit will be a great one to get to. Those of us who love our blue ocean planet will have our work cut out for us for sure. For more info about the Blue Vision Summit, please visit Bluefront.org . We CAN work together to keep our watery resources viable AND have a good time doing it.

Day 43 – The Pascagoula Riviera

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Yesterday I was joined on the water by David, the other half of my hosting team, and Penny, a paddling friend of Lori Bosarge at the start. It is so nice to have company on the water-I always welcome it, as this is often such a lonely endeavor on the water. Today I look forward to paddling with Eric and Alice. We plan to stop at the LePointe-Krebs house, built by a plantation owner back in 1753 out of tabby material-which is crushed oysters and Spanish moss to make a cement type mixture. This is the same tabby material used in the slave quarters that you can still find in parts of the South like Sapelo and St. Katherine’s Islands in Georgia.

Here I sit in the guest “all purpose room” of Eric and Kim Richards. They have a wonderful home and a separate high up boat house above their dock here in the “Pascagoula Riviera,” as their friend, Alice, calls it. Part guest room, part entertainment mini-hall, part playroom, it is a fabulous space looking over the marshes and back bays of the Pascagoula River.

Once again it’s another place I have to come back to, especially since, according to Eric, I missed the really good parts-I mostly picked a straight line to the Chevron facility which I felt like I was looking at FOREVER. I couldn’t help myself yesterday and had to take advantage of good wind at my back, blowing me West. There were surfable bumps to ride, and – even all loaded down more than it should be – the canoe seemed happy to be out in the wind swell and small chop of the Mississippi Sound.

Eric met me on the water on his peddle SUP board, which is out out by Hobie. It handled the little rolling wakes of passing boats just fine and seems to be a fun alternative to paddling a SUP. I had tried one at the Carolina Cup this past April and thought it was a lot of fun. So Eric came out to meet me and give me some history of the area, including the oldest building around that was built before the Louisiana Purchase. Today we’ll go visit it, as Eric and Kim’s friend Alice is very involved in the restoration of it.

After a fabulous dinner of salmon and wonderful salad (note to self-get the recipe of the salmon glaze and the the chick filet kale salad Alice made), fantastic local beer-“Lazy Magnolia”-we retreated to the porch of the guest house/entertainment room. There we were joined by Charlie McVeigh and his wife, Minon. Charlie had been fishing and enjoying the day on the water from his kayak. He had been out there with a friend and his little dog, who apparently is the kind of dog to take with you if you are camping in the backwoods and cypress swamps of Mississippi.  I’m hoping for one of Brent Taylor’s little rat terriers, but I’m a little worried with my bad Coco at home. She can be really nasty with other dogs at feeding times.

We had a great time just chatting out on the porch and looking at the lights on the water. I was surprised none of them had ever noticed the Southern Cross in the sky-it is something which I love to see but for some reason I never made a point of looking for it when I was in the South before. It’s just kinda cool to me to be able to see that constellation. I guess there’s something in my make-up, well, according to my Grandfather Howard, my Grandma Howard was a “Southern Belle.” She was from Texas, so who knows, is that special warm spot I have for this area in my genetic make-up somehow? I do really love it down here-the honesty of the people, their good heartedness, their willing to dig deep and help a fellow human. Sure you’ve got some rascals but it does seem to me the good outweighs the bad. And hey, no one down here wants dirty water, either!

Eric told me about some of the battles he’s been involved with to keep the areas waterways clean. He is very dialed into the Gulf Restoration Network as well as the kayaking world down here. They seem to have a great bunch of folks and get people out paddling and camping in groups, which is a really fun way to see the cypress swamps and smaller rivers. The thought of it makes me itch to come back and take more time to poke around-there is so much history here and beautiful places to see.

And the stories! I could listen all night to Alice and Eric and Charlie swap camping and water stories. Well, maybe after today we’ll have some more stories-Alice and Eric are going to join me on the paddle to Ocean Springs today, where I’ll be staying with one of Eric’s friends, Cynthia Ramseur. Actually, she connected me with Eric. I’m really looking forward to meeting her.

I better get moving! The sky is getting lighter and I’m sure Eric and Kim have breakfast going, although I’m STILL stuffed from last night!

Day 42 – Coden, AL

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I’m enjoying a fit of good weather with yesterday’s paddle down the Fowl River to the Mississippi Bay. As I write this, tho, it is overcast and raining. According to the weather for Pascagoula it’s supposed to be sunny!  Oh well, sometimes I’ll take the rain over the harsh sun and of course I’m always happy if it’s just rain and not thunderstorms.

Lee, a boat builder and ace sailor I had met at the yacht  club, came out on the water to row with me a piece. I thoroughly enjoyed his company as he skimmed along in the  rowboat he made to keep himself in shape. At 73 he definitely could do circles around guys half his age! We chatted and paddled/rowed for a bit before he broke off and went back, leaving me once again on my twisting way, this time following sticks as markers out to the bay rather than USCG channel markers.

Seven years post-BP oil spill and folks down here still fight the the battle for justice. Lori Bosarge, a local activist who’s been working on fighting for the folks who STILL suffer from the fallout of the BP disaster, has been filling me in on how folks have been impacted. It seems the oil spill was the least of it.  The Corexit, the dispersant that was used, has cause real physical damage to people.

That the dispersant was used at all is a tragedy, that BP continued to use it even after the EPA told them to stop is criminal. I’m going to have Lisa do a blog because there are so many moving parts to this that I don’t want to misrepresent info.

But for now I’ll go with what I got and what I understand. I did, happily, get a chance to talk to Steve Johnson, the wonderfully kind man who put down his work to help me in ’09 after his cousin, Victor Zirlott, plucked me out of the Mississippi Sound with a snapped rudder cable.

After BP, I was sad to discover, Steve lost everything-his shrimping and crabbing business, his boat repair and making business. He, along with Lisa Bosarge and others, were actually DIRECTLY sprayed on by planes applying the dispersant to the Mississippi Bay AFTER EPA told them to stop. There was no warning, no prior public notification alerting residents to not go by the water, before they did this. Hell! We even get alerts (well, I do remember one occasion we in Medford Lakes DID NOT) when they spray for gypsy moths and bT isn’t nearly as bad as COREXIT! These folks were sprayed-and harmed as a result.

Lori has a ton of information she’s been collecting from local residents and their health issues many blame the Corexit for. The swelling and discoloration of her leg, and another guy’s leg, really make one wonder. The doctor’s reports they have and their experiences seem to beg a major investigation with folks doing jail time at the end.

The folks here have horror stories-like damages done to themselves and their docks but because they happened “on the other side of the Coden bridge” BP excludes them from compensation. One guy I met even told me that he was contracted to clean the 200 boats a day that wrecked his docks and boat ramp, and he was never told the boats he was cleaning were covered in Corexit-never given proper protective gear or anything, and never compensated for the damage to his ramp and docks nor for his health which was impacted by the dispersant.

On top of insult to injury, the locals told me of callous workers hired to take in complaints and work the piles of paperwork that would enable them to submit claims to BP. Of course BP brought down folks from the north who often times treated the locals disrespectfully and with no kindness. These are folks who suffered injury enough already, who were bewildered and severely impacted, and having no where else to turn to but surly strangers who did not seem the least bit interested that their lives had been ruined.

I cannot imagine, losing everything because of an oil spill, incurring health issues because of the criminal application of a dispersant, and then having to deal with mean out of town folks who don’t give a damn about the people or their lives or the area, never mind the long term suffering ahead. Talk about insult added to injury!

I’m sure I’ll be collecting more of these horror stories, even as I re-discover the beauty  of this place, as I paddle today. Tracy Lannie, my host, is busy making breakfast while I gather my gear. Her husband, David, and another friend who I met last night at dinner, Penny, will join me on the water. Lori Borage and her husband, Dennis, will join us as we get my boat from the wonderful folks who do Mercedes repair and rebuilding by the river. Tina and Matt work exclusively on Mercedes and have hearts of gold. They can also tell BP related horror stories, as many can in this area. I was concerned with them helping me take the gear off my boat because of the crooked beaten up dock-which is their dock-was a tad treacherous. Apparently that damage was from the 200 boats a day going in and out of their boat ramp that BP contracted with – and for which they were never compensated for. Despite it all they remain upbeat and happy and always ready to help out folks in need. Truly there are good people here in Alabama!

Day 41 – Mobile Bay Yacht Club

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Today I’ll sadly be leaving the Mobile area. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my time here with Justine Herlihy and her little Schnauzer, Marley. Yesterday I did a short but a tad harrowing paddle from Blue Gill Restaurant where we enjoyed a wonderful lunch the other day to the Mobile Bay Yacht club, where Justine met me out on the water. This was my first foray back into the saltier water of the Bay as I near the intracoastal parts of the Gulf.

The clouds looked pretty darn threatening as I paddled toward the busy commercial side of the Mobile Bay. I had a slight “oh shit” moment when I looked south and saw the angry dark clouds accompanied by a fog that swallowed some of the land and appeared to be moving north toward me. I changed tact and headed to where it might be easier to asses how best to cross the channels and run down the Mobile side of the land and out of the way of the big vessels.

With my radio on I inched my way forward, watching the storm, watching for barges and cargo ships. I took shelter among the crab pots, where a couple-husband and wife? Boyfriend and girlfriend?-worked their boat, harvesting crabs. I asked them if they were Zirlott’s, the family that had rescued me back in ’09 (http://archive.onearth.org/blog/healthy-oceans-paddle-day-36-good-samaritans-on-the-water?device=mobile ). They were not, but they did confirm for me, though, the safest place to cross the channel which was the route I had picked. Yay for that!

It’s always a little tense for me in unfamiliar busy waterways to figure out what’s going on and where the best spot to cross the channel is. I was pretty lucky, because once I crossed the channel and was snug against the  Mobile side below the USCG station I watched as the vessel traffic dramatically picked up. I had really gotten out there at the nick of time!

There were some good rain showers, plenty of pelicans-my favorite bird-and when I finally caught up with Justine, we saw a pod of dolphins. One even popped out of the water to look at us better! What a treat to see these guys fishing and hunting.

At the yacht club we enjoyed a snack and local beer served by Jacob Merritt, who also let me store my boat there, and had the great fortune to meet some of the members, including Josh & Corinna Murray, and a boat builder and ace sailor, Lee, who showed me a short cut to Coden. So today I’ll paddle down the Fowl River, which will save me about six miles and have me go by the Zirlott docks where my rudder cable was repaired thanks to the Good Samaritans there.

I also learned a sad fact about pelicans at the yacht club. Yacht club member Josh Dupree told me that they die because they eventually go blind from diving the way they do. You starve if you can’t see your food! They make big KERPLASHES when they hit the water; they are not nearly as graceful as terns or ospreys, and apparently that constant jarring takes a toll on their eyes. Funny, woodpeckers have evolved so that pecking wood for bugs doesn’t rattle their brains. You’d think evolution would treat pelicans better and have somehow allowed for an anatomical answer to their eye issues.

Today Justine and I will meet up again with KC Callaway, the head of the Mobile Baykeeper, for breakfast and then I’ll gear up with all my gear once again and be off. Mobile Baykeeper has its hands full in this area-issues abound and the big polluters are fierce, but they have a large groundswell of support and do a fantastic job of engaging their local supporters. I’m wearing a hat from one of their projects-the 100/1000 project where they planted oysters all around to help clean the water and create reefs to help prevent coastal erosion. That is a big deal down here, and will only get worse as I head toward the Mississippi basin and New Orleans. Just google coastal erosion or coastal land loss and Louisiana and you’ll see how Louisiana is losing its coastline and valuable marshes. “No wetlands no seafood” is the water counterpart to “no farms no food.”

I’m really excited to be back in this area-I’ve thought often about the Zirlott family members I met as well as the folks at the Biloxi Seafood and Maritime Museum that I met in ’09, before the BP oil spill. Such a blow after finally getting back on their feet after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The folks down here are resilient, tough, and resourceful, but BP was a real blow. Those that committed suicide because they lost the only thing they knew what to do will never recover. So many lost everything. The issues are ongoing, and the settlements continue.  Can we really afford to keep allowing one industry to “mess up” and ruin our water, our air, and our food and ruining lives?

We know there are better ways to get energy. We know we can do better to be more efficient users of energy-we just need our elected officials to see the light, and that won’t happen unless we all become, even in the smallest ways, activists.

Please keep those prayers coming-the weather DOES look like it’s improving!