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Old 06-21-2015, 09:26 PM
 
Location: St Thomas, USVI - Seattle, WA - Gulf Coast, TX
811 posts, read 840,405 times
Reputation: 2299

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisafer144 View Post
I just got back from Port A and the trash on the shore was horrible. The tar sands are pretty gross. The yellow sea foam on the sand smelled like sulfur. the water is warm and you can go out super far and so can the kids since the waves are mellow. Not much in the way of anything to do other than go to the beach, but some people love that, others like a nightlife or boardwalk kind of thing.
I've been meaning to ask about these tar blobs that are everywhere... I was pretty blown away by that. Yuck-o. A couple of weeks ago, I thought the beach on Mustang Isl. was lovely and enjoyable (I live in the Virgin Islands, so I'm a tough critic, I promise, but I didn't see any trash during the time I was there either), except for these tar blobs peppering the beach. Does anyone have any info on them? What the heck are they? I've never heard any mention of them and they are everywhere! It seems unbelievable that something like that could just be accepted as "normal"!

To the OP, yes the water is murky, but it's perfectly lovely as a vista (no Caribbean, but still perfectly lovely). If you're looking to dive or snorkel, that's not the place for it.
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Old 06-22-2015, 12:42 AM
 
Location: Smithville, TX
553 posts, read 854,410 times
Reputation: 501
Quote:
Originally Posted by IslandCityGirl View Post
I've been meaning to ask about these tar blobs that are everywhere... I was pretty blown away by that. Yuck-o. A couple of weeks ago, I thought the beach on Mustang Isl. was lovely and enjoyable (I live in the Virgin Islands, so I'm a tough critic, I promise, but I didn't see any trash during the time I was there either), except for these tar blobs peppering the beach. Does anyone have any info on them? What the heck are they? I've never heard any mention of them and they are everywhere! It seems unbelievable that something like that could just be accepted as "normal"!

To the OP, yes the water is murky, but it's perfectly lovely as a vista (no Caribbean, but still perfectly lovely). If you're looking to dive or snorkel, that's not the place for it.
Mysterious Tar Balls Wash Up on Texas Coastline | News Talk 550 KTSA

KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi - Tar balls pose a risk to sea turtle nests

Rust
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:12 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, USVI - Seattle, WA - Gulf Coast, TX
811 posts, read 840,405 times
Reputation: 2299
Thanks, Rust!

Still a "mystery", three years later, huh? Wow.

The ARK (animal rehab keep) at MSI is a wonderful operation, by the way! I really enjoyed walking through there during my visit.
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:49 AM
 
548 posts, read 353,442 times
Reputation: 1110
There have always been some. These are probably from natural seepage. When the big offshore rig in Mexico exploded in the 80s there were a ton for awhile because we were down current from them.
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Old 06-23-2015, 07:21 PM
 
9 posts, read 8,381 times
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The Gulf is really a giant washing machine with clockwise surface currents. There is a south easterly wind the majority of the year which pushes all the garbage/ jetsam that is offshore directly to the beaches of Padre Island. There is no way around it. Some of the beaches are cleaned up by municipal crews.
During the spring, Sargassum, a form of seaweed from the Sargasso Sea is pushed by these currents through the gulf and onto the Texas coast. A lot of it to the beaches on Padre Island as well.

There is natural oil seepage from the Gulf floor. There are still remnant oil deposits from the Ixtoc I oil rig disaster in 1979. Pushed by the Gulf's currents, much of that crude was found on Padre Island throughout the 1980's and early 90's. We used to take WD-40 to the beach with us to get the oil/tar off our feet.
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Old 06-23-2015, 08:00 PM
 
Location: St Thomas, USVI - Seattle, WA - Gulf Coast, TX
811 posts, read 840,405 times
Reputation: 2299
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackalope48 View Post
There have always been some. These are probably from natural seepage. When the big offshore rig in Mexico exploded in the 80s there were a ton for awhile because we were down current from them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PINS View Post
The Gulf is really a giant washing machine with clockwise surface currents. There is a south easterly wind the majority of the year which pushes all the garbage/ jetsam that is offshore directly to the beaches of Padre Island. There is no way around it. Some of the beaches are cleaned up by municipal crews.
During the spring, Sargassum, a form of seaweed from the Sargasso Sea is pushed by these currents through the gulf and onto the Texas coast. A lot of it to the beaches on Padre Island as well.

There is natural oil seepage from the Gulf floor. There are still remnant oil deposits from the Ixtoc I oil rig disaster in 1979. Pushed by the Gulf's currents, much of that crude was found on Padre Island throughout the 1980's and early 90's. We used to take WD-40 to the beach with us to get the oil/tar off our feet.
Both of you say that this is probably/potentially natural, and then site oil disasters that caused tar blobs. So you're saying that there is always a tar blob here and there due to natural seepage, but when we have spills, there are many more? There are definitely many right now.

Too bad we can't collect it and use it for something useful! Potholes? Roofs? Just a thought...

We get hefty amounts of Sargassum in the Virgin Islands as well. Many/most Caribbean beaches do, from the Leewards to the Yucatan. We also get Saharan dust hazes in the VI. Sea and wind currents are definitely very interesting things.

Thanks for the info!

Last edited by IslandCityGirl; 06-23-2015 at 08:09 PM..
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Old 06-23-2015, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Smithville, TX
553 posts, read 854,410 times
Reputation: 501
Quote:
Originally Posted by PINS View Post
The Gulf is really a giant washing machine with clockwise surface currents. There is a south easterly wind the majority of the year which pushes all the garbage/ jetsam that is offshore directly to the beaches of Padre Island. There is no way around it. Some of the beaches are cleaned up by municipal crews.
During the spring, Sargassum, a form of seaweed from the Sargasso Sea is pushed by these currents through the gulf and onto the Texas coast. A lot of it to the beaches on Padre Island as well.

There is natural oil seepage from the Gulf floor. There are still remnant oil deposits from the Ixtoc I oil rig disaster in 1979. Pushed by the Gulf's currents, much of that crude was found on Padre Island throughout the 1980's and early 90's. We used to take WD-40 to the beach with us to get the oil/tar off our feet.
That is too much for natural seepage. It could be from BP's Deepwater Horizon, or, the Mexican oil well explosion in Bay of Campeche April 1, 2015:

Mexico says oil spill avoided after deadly offshore blaze ...
fuelfix.com/.../2015/.../mexico-says-oil-spill-avoided-after-deadly-offsho...
Posted on April 2, 2015 | By Associated Press · Print ... nearly nine months to cap the well, and a great deal of the oil contaminated Mexican and U.S. waters.

Sargassum is a summer visitor. A large mat of sargassum was identified in the straits of the Yucatan two weeks ago. It will be showing up pretty soon.

Tracking Sargassum From the Source


Rust
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Old 06-24-2015, 06:26 AM
 
Location: Boerne, Texas
6 posts, read 9,662 times
Reputation: 35
I have to agree with Rust that the oil blobs stem from a source other than the natural seepage I've witnessed over the years. I first started visiting the island just after the bridge was opened from the mainland in the early '50's, and have had to deal with the messy blobs from the start. In all that time, the largest size tar balls were seldom larger than 4 or 5 inches. Mostly just little droplets that accumulate on the high tide mark and blacken my feet/hands/clothes/truck floor.

With the massive amounts of oil that came from Ixtoc and other Mexican drilling mis-adventures, the currents would have a tendency to stir things up enough to send the blobs our way. They are messy, and almost any solvent will remove them quite easily. Like PINS said, WD-40 works well. It's also about the least expensive way to clean up. Another trick I always used to clean sand off my hands and feet was a simple can of talcum powder. Sprinkle it liberally on these areas and rub. It cleans down to the skin. Makes you smell good too.

In my opinion, all the negatives we have to deal with concerning the island don't outweigh the positives. With the National Seashore, we have a treasure in our back yard that we can visit as often as we choose. Just being able to drive down that lonely curving island in my truck brings a freedom almost as great as climbing in my Supercub and flying low over the countryside. I love the solitude, and the mystery that the tides bring in each time as I drive the beach from Bob Hall pier to the Port Mansfield jetties. There is nothing quite like it.

Cubdriver
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:58 AM
 
548 posts, read 353,442 times
Reputation: 1110
Island yes that's what we are saying. Overall our beaches are great. I've been to "famous" beaches in Cape Cod made of rocks where you can't walk or sit down. People complain about the sargassum without understanding that its a big part of why we have wide beaches that are sandy. It's generally what holds everything together. There has been a huge amount of improvement lately in how and how often the beaches get cleaned. As an earlier poster said much of the floatsam is the result of offshore current.

Overall our beaches are fantastic. Especially so because they are public and don't require owning a mansion or staying in a hotel to access.
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Old 06-24-2015, 07:10 PM
 
1,050 posts, read 741,460 times
Reputation: 1265
Rockport Beach has won a Blue Ribbon Award for its design and quality. The horseshoe shape and long shallow water makes it fun for all. Not as many spring breakers though or partiers.

Some of Port Aransas Beaches and Padre Island are also pleasant and clean.

Those inside CC get bad marks environmentally.
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