Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Lights on the water

When the kids were younger, we spent a week or so each year on the beach in Florida, soaking up the white sand and letting the kids get thoroughly sunburned before it was time to go back to school. They needed something to write about for that first essay.

We never made it down to Grand Isle, the Cajun Riviera. This was my first trip, I believe. I've been to Holly Beach, near Cameron many times, but I never made it to Grand Isle.

This is the moonlight on the water from Grande Isle, taken over the barrier dune. Milady and I went to the Daquiri shack and met friends on a motel balcony. Those lights on the horizon are oil rigs. I counted 33 across the arc of the horizon, yet somehow they didn't intrude on our party. I've looked at the lights on the water from various shore locations and wondered about the men and women manning the ships that move offshore of our nation. Here, it was oil rigs. Pumping the lifeblood of our nation. 33 rigs from just one beach perspective. And those are the ones you can see from the beach. There are a lot more you can't see, over the horizon.

Yet the moon on the water was just as beautiful and the lights on the water were just as compelling, each having a story to tell.

There is a lot of industry along the Louisiana coast, amongst the marshes and bays and channels. Most of it oilfield service.

Here, a view from the main ship channel of Port Fourchon, LA, where we put out of. The waterway is absolutely bumper to bumper with ship traffic, repair facilities, docks, piers, dry docks, and shipyards. There is lots of money made every day in Port Fourchon. Eighteen percent of all the oil coming in to the United States flows through this little port. The port also hosts the service for the Lousiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), a huge offshore pumping station that offloads oil tankers too big to get in to shore. Via pipeline, LOOP directly connects to 35 percent of US refining capacity.

Oil, and oil field service are huge industries in Port Fourchon. Yet the fishing is great. Port Fourchon is also home to commercial and recreational fisheries professionals who take folks like me out into the water.

Here, a view of Southerner, a sister ship to the one we chartered. These are 57 foot long charter fishing vessels that can accomodate 15 passengers a day. We didn't see Southerner except early in the morning and again when we met her in the afternoon, coming in. As a matter of fact, we didn't see any other fishing vessels that Sunday at all. Southerner's catch was mainly shark, so they were fishing other waters.

Look at all the industry on the shore behind her.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice post!

Do you know someone who works at the Lousiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP)? I wanted to get some information about the port.