As I suspected, the work site I was working at has been closed as of yesterday (Monday). I rode down there and only a skeleton crew was there. They were loading items for removal.
Actually this is a good thing, I hope, because it means the threat of oil in the Bay has passed. Lots of talk about large areas of oil beneath the surface in the Gulf waters, time will tell.
My summer vacation has been one to remember. It was a unique and satisfying experience. Plenty of memories and new friends. Most of the photos were taken during the last few days I was working which was the week before last. We had most of the boom pulled in and loaded on the barges in a matter of days. My crew, John and Amanda, who were boy/girl friends were Alabama fans. I was always quick to remind them in an affectionate way who the Captain of the boat was and that they needed to respect the Orange and Blue. They were 2 of the best workers, heads above all of the other workers. I was fortunate to have them.
The one photo captioned “Barge beached” was actually true. We had to rapidly seek shelter one afternoon and as luck would have it the Capt. of another boat with me that day lived very close by so we took shelter at his home on the Bay.
The tide went out during our wait and left the my barge stuck in the sand. Had to go back the next morning at high tide to get it off the beach. I could easily tow a couple of thousand feet of boom with the barge. Much more than the smaller work boats. With so many boats towing boom to the larger barges the larger barges would be overwhelmed in a short period of time so they began to limit us to several hundred feet per trip. Thus it became a slower process for us with more trips.
The anchors in the photos are “Danforth” anchors and weigh 40 lbs a piece. I would not want to guess how many thousands of these were used to hold the boom in place. Dropping them over board was an easy task compared to retrieving them after they had been mired in the good old Mobile Bay bottom for weeks.
My summer has been comprised of many hours on the water, numerous bottles of sunscreen, multiple tubes of chap-stick, eyeglass wipes, sweat towels, bottles and bottles of water and Gatorade, learning new skills, making new friends, being with some old friends, enjoying the many natural resources around us, and being THANKFUL we never had to deal with any major oil problems. It has been a learning experience for me and one I will remember. Now it is time to return to the Loveliest Village to enjoy old and new friends. Auburn football season is the perfect time and excuse to do just that.
Marvin Ussery ’74