Do you mind swimming with the fishes on your Gulf vaca?

There will be no need to pay to swim with the dolphins if you vacation in the Gulf this summer.

AP reports that due to the massive oil spill much of the sea life is heading toward shore trying to escape the noxious liquid.

From the AP story:

“Dolphins and sharks are showing up in surprisingly shallow water just off the Florida coast. Mullets, crabs, rays and small fish congregate by the thousands off an Alabama pier. Birds covered in oil are crawling deep into marshes, never to be seen again.”

“Marine scientists studying the effects of the BP disaster are seeing some strange phenomena.”

“Fish and other wildlife seem to be fleeing the oil out in the Gulf and clustering in cleaner waters along the coast in a trend that some researchers see as a potentially troubling sign.”

“The animals’ presence close to shore means their usual habitat is badly polluted, and the crowding could result in mass die-offs as fish run out of oxygen. Also, the animals could easily get devoured by predators.”

” ‘A parallel would be: Why are the wildlife running to the edge of a forest on fire? There will be a lot of fish, sharks, turtles trying to get out of this water they detect is not suitable,’ said Larry Crowder, a Duke University marine biologist.”

This story moved on the AP wire about 9 p.m. and coincidentally about two hours before that my hair stylist Stephanie was telling me about her vacation last week to Destin. She said there were sting rays everywhere and all kinds of marine life all around them. She said the lifeguards agreed there were way more marine animals closer to the shore than normal.  So even if your beach doesn’t have oil or tar balls on the beach, beware of the sea life close to shore.

So what do you think: Do you mind swimming with the fishes? Will if freak your kids out or is it a good chance to study some sea life up close and personal? Will the sea life being close to shore affect your vacation plans or the amount of time you’re willing to spend in the water?

44 comments Add your comment

John

June 17th, 2010
5:31 am

If you can’t deal with the animals, which are in their natural environment, then stick to the hotel pool. Or better yet, stay away completely. The animals are trying best to deal with the screw-up that humans have caused to their home and your concerned about how they are affecting your vacation or how your kids would react.

I thought "swimming with the fishes"

June 17th, 2010
7:03 am

…was a mafia term meaning you were soon to be terminated?!?!?!?

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Photius

June 17th, 2010
8:02 am

The question should be, “Do you mind swimming in an oil slick and have your children experience the death of marine life before thier eyes?”

Vacation this summer in the Gulf…. that’s nuts.

JJ

June 17th, 2010
8:07 am

Theresa, you need a vacation BAD. Step away from the tv, the telephone, the computer, and power down for a week. Go north where there isn’t any ocean. Go to the mountains and hike with bears.

I think you are desparately in need of some serious down time. Go techno-free for a couple of days. I do it every weekend.

G.R.I.T.S.

June 17th, 2010
8:19 am

you could take it as a learning experience to show your kids how humans can really screw up nature. or you can stay home. what i worry about is that these marine animals will be killed, they may die naturally due to the fact that they are being so crowded as the article says. but lets wait to hear of shark attacks and how the sharks are being killed for attacking the people who arent smart enough to stay out of their way. the ocean is THEIRS!!! if people dont use caution it is not the sharks fault. a similar thing happened here in NC a few weeks ago. a man got too close to a bear and wad biten on the leg or ankle…guess which one got shot? the bear of course. really pissed me off.

Becky

June 17th, 2010
8:22 am

Like John, they are in their home, so? If there wasn’t anything dangerous like the sting ray, I wouldn’t mind (much)..But, as I’ve said before, I’m not really a beach person, so I’m with JJ on this one, go to the mtns..

There are so, so many other things to do other than go to the beach..Of course, there are beaches other than in FL., so why not find a beach that might not be affected by the oil spill..We are taking our two to a fishing tournament in N. GA. this weekend..Talk about thrilled to the dickens, they are..

G.R.I.T.S.

June 17th, 2010
8:25 am

if i had a guld coast vacation planned i would still go. if the water was dangerous i would stay out of it. there are lots of things to do at the beach and if i was going to the beach the guld would be where i was going…its beautiful. the only bummer would be i would be so sad to see in ‘real life’ the damange done to one of the most beautiful places…

G.R.I.T.S.

June 17th, 2010
8:26 am

gulf not guld

JJ

June 17th, 2010
8:38 am

Well, here’s a novel idea…,.instead of “swimming with the fish” in the gulf, why don’t you really educate your kids, and go and help SAVE the animals?????? Why not go down and volunteer your time to help out? THAT would be a better education for the kids, than running rampant at another beach.

G.R.I.T.S.

June 17th, 2010
8:42 am

well said JJ…i think this whole thing should be used as a lesson to kids who are soon going to be the ones running our world.

Lori

June 17th, 2010
8:51 am

Check out satellite photos of your favorite beaches. Many of them show there are sharks lurking just outside the “swim zone” at normal times. Not sure now is any different.

This whole situation is heartbreaking. I hate seeing images of all those poor animals covered in oil :-(

Danny Noonan

June 17th, 2010
9:55 am

I’ve got news for you – the sharks, crabs, stingrays, etc. are always there. I use a beach seine on the Georgia coast regularly. You would not believe the number of critters lurking in the surf.

JJ

June 17th, 2010
9:57 am

What’s a beach seine?

JJ

June 17th, 2010
10:07 am

Ok, you all need to go read this article and tell me what you think…..Be afraid, be VERY afraid.

http://www.drudgereport.com – New Bill Gives Obama ‘Kill Switch’ To Shut Down The Internet.

There you go…….

Shakalakaboomboom

June 17th, 2010
10:16 am

*Sigh* – I don’t even know where to start with this one. We drive too much, we waste too much stuff, blah, blah, blah. You get it or you don’t. If you have even an inkling of concern for the Gulf you will immediately figure out ways to cut your consumption. If not, then all the boo-hooing and pity parties in the world won’t be enough to restore balance to this place we regard as our personal playground.

G.R.I.T.S.

June 17th, 2010
10:20 am

well if they mess up my online college classes ill be pissed

G.R.I.T.S.

June 17th, 2010
10:22 am

seriously that doesnt surprise me at all…i guess i thought the government already had that power…JJ have you read the book “this perfect day” by ira levin?

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 17th, 2010
10:37 am

I was thinking it was the mafia term at midnight when I wrote it but I then I realized it’s “sleeping with the fishes” so close but …

Do you remember when the Exxon Veldez spill that people took their vacations up there to clean the animals — I’ve been thinking about that. Should families be going later this summer to clean animals? (There was a Simpson’s episode about it.) I was picturing my family doing that and I think they would be terrible at it — the baby especially. Maybe it would be a good youth group or service points projects for teens?

motherjanegoose

June 17th, 2010
10:40 am

I remember the year my kids counted 83 starfish, swimming right near them in the gulf. I realize they were not dangerous but my kids thought it was awesome.

We were at St. Augustine 2 weeks ago. I have been to Washington, Idaho, Montana, Texas and now Oregon in the past week. We usually go to Marco Island but it did not fit into our plans for this summer, as I promised my daughter we would go to Boston and the Smokey Mtns. I feel horrible for for all of those affected by the oil spill, as I do know how fragile it is to own your own business and have the rug pulled out from under you. The environmental affect is way beyond my comprehension!

catlady

June 17th, 2010
10:49 am

Florida and Alabama need to hurry and put large fans out there to blow the oil back to LA, since they have reaped the rewards of allowing off shore drilling. I grew up near the beach and cannot fathom (hahaha) the devastation.

My family had seriously thought about a little trip to St. Geo. It has been 5 years since we had a vacation. But we bagged that immediately and are going to the mountains (less than 50 miles from my house) for time together–3 “children” and spouses, and 3 grandchildren. Maybe a granddog also.

JATL

June 17th, 2010
10:50 am

If we were going to the Gulf this summer, then no, I wouldn’t be freaked out about the sea life near the shore. I’m a diver and an avid snorkeler and I’m raising my kids to enjoy those things as well, so areas teeming with sea creatures are something we actually seek. If the coast guards say there are shark alerts, I wouldn’t go jumping in -people need to use some common sense. However, I think it’s beyond sad and depressing that these animals are starting to cluster into shallow waters where they’re eventually going to run out of room. Every day this disaster becomes even more depressing.

As far as taking the family for a vacay to help clean up -I think it’s WONDERFUL if your kids are old enough to be a help and not a burden. Don’t show up with a toddler or a 4 or 5 year old who isn’t really able to do much or capable of fully understanding what’s going on. They need real, solid help down there. I would definitely want to do it with my kids if they were a little older though.

@MJG -how was St. Augustine? We go almost every year and will be returning in late July. I can’t WAIT! I love that beach because it’s so wide and great for biking.

HB

June 17th, 2010
10:50 am

The “kill-switch” is a tricky issue that I believe has been around for several years — it’s not a new push by the Obama administration. I think most of us would say we don’t want the government censoring our internet activity (which is not the purpose of this bill). The fact is, though, cyber attacks, for example on our financial system, are a serious threat — guns and bombs aren’t the only big weapons these days. If an attack begins, I lean toward the President having the power to defend us by pulling the plug. My understanding is this bill would require a specific division of DHS to declare that emergency and then the President would make the call on flipping the switch. That would be my biggest concern — that the power is limited to emergency measures against specific attacks and can’t be used by whoever is in office to shut things down in an effort to censor information. That said, I don’t know enough about this to say if the limitations stated in this specific bill are adequate.

G.R.I.T.S.

June 17th, 2010
10:53 am

my sister just told me that you have to be wildlife certified to go help with the cleaning of the animals. she said it doesnt take long to get the certification. she was sad because she cant do it because she is battling cancer and is about to have surgery. she is an avid animal lover and it is very sad that she isnt able to do this. but if anyone is interested im sure there is info on the net. you probably donthave to be certified to do other types of cleanup, just in dealing with the wildlife.

JJ

June 17th, 2010
10:58 am

Theresa – take the older kids and leave the baby at home with a grandparent. Or better yet, leave her with Michael……let him handle one of his own kids for a week.

DB

June 17th, 2010
11:01 am

I’m a bit speechless — you go to the beach, and you’re suprised that there are critters in the water? How dare they? :-)

motherjanegoose

June 17th, 2010
11:13 am

@JATL…we always went to the gulf, until I had a meeting near St. Augustine. The beaches are quite different, as you may expect. I love to walk on the flat beach there too. We ( drive) take our little schnauzer and while she feared the ocean itself last year, she loved it this year. Stood at the door of the condo and looked out to see if we could GO out.

I do enjoy the shells on the gulf, as Naples FL has awesome shelling! We had a great time. I wish we could purchase a condo there…maybe some day!

DB, if one is worried about the animals in the ocean, what should one worry about if they go to the mountains….LOL????

ABC

June 17th, 2010
11:36 am

Again, Theresa, please, please, please stop calling your 3-year-old a baby. It’s really annoying, and probably not good if she is hearing you say that in her presence.

DB

June 17th, 2010
11:40 am

@MJG: Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Not to mention a few snakes, the occasional skunk, mutant turtles and killer rabbits. . . . :-)

YUKI

June 17th, 2010
11:41 am

Oh yes, put a large fan blowing all the oil back to LA because they are the ONLY ones that have enjoyed the benefits of offshore drilling. It’s all LA’s fault.
You cannot be serious.

FCM

June 17th, 2010
11:48 am

JJ— Got to love these two being one right after the other on Drudge too:

JOBLESS CLAIMS RISE SHARPLY TO 472,000…

OBAMA, BIDEN CELEBRATE ‘RECOVERY SUMMER’…

uconn

June 17th, 2010
11:49 am

You know what would be great? If everyone stayed away from the beach… Still go and swim in the pool, but let the poor animals (fish, sharks, etc) have some peace….It breaks my heart to see these birds drenched in oil, I can only imagine what the fish and dolphins are going through. It would be as if someone came to your home and filled it with just enough smoke, so that while you could breathe, it would be difficult and then the only small place you were able to go to get away from it was filled with other people! It was their ocean first and now we just want to make money from it… If my dad were alive, I can guarentee he would be down there scrubbing the birds and helping, and he was a republican! But oh how he loved animals!!

Actually...

June 17th, 2010
11:51 am

My parents live in Gulf Shores – when I spoke with them Sunday they said the ocean was somewhat yucky but not too bad when they were there on Saturday. However, when I spoke with them Tuesday night they said they had just returned from the ocean where the scum on the surface and on the beaches had completely disappeared – and they emphasized COMPLETELY! Go figure….

uconn

June 17th, 2010
11:58 am

Oh and buy Dawn dishsoap ( i think someone may have said that before) but it does help!

Thanks, Theresa...

June 17th, 2010
11:59 am

…for clarifying the “sleeping” vs “swimming” with the fishes comment – my bad…

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

June 17th, 2010
12:11 pm

ABC — I need to stop — she is fully potty trained and we have dumped all the baby gear from the house — I no longer have a pack-n-play (which I changed her on) in my family room!!! I will work on it — I guess in my mind she’s the baby of the family — but she is not a baby! She’s been at VBS this week during the morning and she is just like the big kids. Doesn’t even blink when I leave her! and so happy and having so much fun. The church is good though basically giving all of the little ones a teenager to be with them so they are really keeping up with the little ones. But she is loving it!!!
Had no idea they had to be certified to clean the animals —- I bet when Valdez happened they didn’t have to be because you heard and saw that all the time people just going to help — well since I’m not certified I don’t have to feel guilty about not going now so that is good info all the way around!!

Actually — they were talking about the radio about nature being pretty amazing at filtrating and purifying so maybe the ocean’s own natural cleaning whatever has kicked in – I don’t think it will handle it all — or maybe the tide took it down the beach a few miles – probably more likely.

beaux

June 17th, 2010
12:44 pm

If you do go, be sure to do the “Sanibel Shuffle” by shuffling your feet slowly as you enter the ocean. In that way you can alert stingrays (and other animals) to your arrival, and avoid stepping on them. I can attest that a puncture from a stingray, even a very small one, is one of the most painful events ever!

Geesh!

June 17th, 2010
4:35 pm

So, your so suburban and so insulated that, to you, this trillion dollar disaster that will change millions of people’s lives forever, means only that your children might have to be closer to the yucky fishes?? Do us all a favor, stay away from the beach, and your keyboard!

irisheyes

June 17th, 2010
10:35 pm

“So, your so suburban and so insulated that, to you, this trillion dollar disaster that will change millions of people’s lives forever, means only that your children might have to be closer to the yucky fishes??”

I agree. My concern for this disaster that will affect lives in the Gulf Coast for DECADES does not extend to whether people’s beach vacations won’t be as fun as they used to.

Give me a break

June 18th, 2010
2:36 pm

This blog is horrible. You’re whining about marine life being close to shore and the reality is that you probably won’t go more than 20-30 feet into the water anyway.

Most (not all) parents could do everyone a favor, including themselves and especially their kids, and stop whining about every little thing related to being a parent. It doesn’t do the kids any good to hear it (sometimes it does harm) and the people without kids would respect you a lot more. And yes, I am a parent.

ZachsMom

June 18th, 2010
5:22 pm

JUST GOT BACK FROM JOHNS PASS FLORDIA and the beaches are still beautiful and the water was very clean, We watched to dolphins every night at sun set, ate some great sea food and drank a lot of beer. We went out on a dolphin cruise to Egmont Key and found some pretty shells, whole sand dollars and snorkled with some funky looking fish. Had an awsome time alll around.

G.R.I.T.S.

June 18th, 2010
9:57 pm

nature may be pretty good at filtrating and purifying and regrouping…but we have taken away so much of their territory…nature doesnt have a lot of resourses left to be able to regroup. i hate to bust some bubbles here…but the effects of this disaster and the things that are being done to try to fix it are going to be more long lasting and are going to affect a lot more people than a lot realize. this is a huge huge disaster…

newblogger

June 19th, 2010
11:51 am

What makes some of you think that just because one is concerned about their family vacation, that they are not equally concerned about the environment? Can’t we be concerned about both? My heart breaks for the people/animals/delicate balance of nature that this disaster has affected and I am truthfully looking for ways to help. However, does that mean I abandon all thought of my own family’s happiness and safety in search of time away from it all? Why does it have to be one or the other? I love reading this blog and am always intrigued by the comments. It baffles me as to why some need to be so condescending towards others in order to make their point.

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