Posts Tagged ‘Spirit’

Conflicting Emotions, part 1

Saturday on Grand Isle was definitely different than anything I could have imagined before we embarked on this journey.  There is definitely a spirit here – one that defies description. It was this spirit – the spirit of the people in this community and many others like it that drove us to come on this amazing journey.

We got up early to catch the sunrise over the beach behind our ‘camp’ – this is how the locals refer to the compounds that are essentially houses on stilts that are full of bedrooms with multiple beds in each bedroom.  The camp we are staying in has 6 bedrooms, and more beds than we could even think about using. Josie at the Port Commission found this place for us after all of the cabins and motels we called were totally full (mainly with BP cleanup workers, Coast Guard, etc.).  Josie has truly been the most helpful resource we could have asked for here on Grand Isle, and we can’t thank her enough!  So, Saturday morning bright and early we walked out onto the beach to get some pictures.  I got what I believe are some very beautiful images of a fisherman wading in the tide at sunrise.

Grand Isle at Sunrise 8.21.10

Part of the team had already ventured down to the Gulf Stream Marina prior to sunrise and were already talking with some fishermen that had driven down from other parts of the state.  Nathan and I decided we would walk down the beach and meet up with them.  Not long into the walk, we saw a golf cart stop on the beach to pick something up.  Curious, I walked over and discovered that the man driving the cart had stopped to pick up a tar ball.  When I asked him if I could take a picture of it, he told me that I could take a picture, but I had to hold it because he did not want to be photographed.  He handed it to me on a glove and drove away.  See the video we recorded below:

We met up with Kim and Terrell who had been hanging with the fishermen on the pier and talked with a group of fishermen that had just arrived and were getting ready to head out on their boat (video to come soon).  They didn’t seem bothered by the oil fallout and were happy to be back out fishing.

Terrell Clark on the Gulf Stream Marina

After our quick chat with them, we regrouped back at camp before heading out to the East side of the island where we quickly ran across a very poignant scenes that was a harsh reminder of the magnitude of what happened here in this region and just how much of an impact it has had on the lives of those in these communities.

The Soul of Grand Isle, LA

Earlier, I had made some phone calls to arrange a boat to take us out into the Gulf, including one to Captain D, who Josie told us about Friday evening. Before leaving on this trip, we knew we wanted to get out and see the water and shoreline from the perspective of the local fishermen.  Their stories have been particularly of interest to me personally after my conversations with a few of the local fishermen in Venice a month ago.

Since the oil spill, the fisherman have not been able to so what they love to do most, fish.  So basically, you either sign up in the Vessels of Opportunity program (work for BP) and hope to get picked, or you don’t work.  Some of the people that did sign up on the VOO program were not picked to be utilized.  After a few phone calls, we ran across one of them, Kenny from Bent Rod Offshore Fishing Charter.  We made it a point early on in the planning stages of the Sprit of the Gulf Coast expedition that we were going to try to support the local economies as much as possible, and since fishing is such a huge part of the economy, chartering a local boat and having the time to connect with one of the people on the front lines as he gave us a peek into his world was a no brainer.

There are limited areas of the Gulf that have been reopened to fishing in the last 2 weeks, so some fishermen are back out on the water.  But that doesn’t mean things are back to normal.  Kenny would normally have a full calendar of charters this time of year, but today we were able to call him up and get out on the water a couple of hours later.  In my next entry, I’ll describe our 3-hour trip out into the Gulf with our incredible tour guide, Kenny, along with video footage of oil sheen just offshore and barely detectable, but nonetheless present crude oil droplets. Stay tuned for more to follow soon.  In the meantime, here are a few photos I took on Flickr.


08 2010

Come Along for the Ride Pt1

In our first full Day on Grand Isle we were filled with so much beauty, insight, and emotions it was hard to put into words. So we’re giving it to you in pics. This is the first of many in a series of just some of the things we took in while on this trip.

It started by waking up to this sunrise.


And hanging with some guys who were heading out to fish


Then heading back to our camp before hitting the road


We came across some public art.


There were definitely a strong statement being made.


And made an impression on all of us


No words.


After exploring the island for a bit, we got some grub.

Then proceeded to take a boat ride none of us would ever forget.

And yes, you are going to have to check into pt 2 to find out more. There is so much more to tell so stay tuned.


08 2010

Gulf Spirit Challenge #1

UPDATE – new challenge timeline. See below:

UPDATE # 2 – we have a winner! See below

We were rolling through Laurel Mississippi on the way to Grand Isle and the team just had an awesome spontaneous challenge for our followers. Check it out:

The donations we are receiving are critical to our mission, and Terrell has offered an 8″x10″ print from the forthcoming Spirit of the Gulf Coast fine art photo collection to the first person to donate $75 or more by Midnight Friday (Aug. 20). The winner will also be able to pick the image! Donations are accepted via the PayPal link on the website.

In the meantime, we want to know what our supporters want to see and hear while we are on the ground along the coast. Leave us a comment here or shoot us a tweet at @GulfSpirit with any topic or question you would like us to explore. We are here because of your support and we want to provide the best info we can to those who made this trip possible.

We can’t say thank you enough for the incredible support we have received. We take this very seriously and we are honored to be doing this work.

Stay tuned for more info from our journey.

In Gratitude,

Andy, Brandon, Kim, Nathan, and Terrell.
UPDATE: We received a generous donation from Sean Solowiej from the Expedition Blue Planet: North America team!  Expedition Blue Planet is part of Alexandra Cousteau’s Blue Legacy initiative to engage individuals around the world through telling the story of our water planet.  We met the team at the Bridge Side Marina on Saturday after our offshore charter, and had a great time speaking with Sean later that evening at our camp.  Congratulations Sean!  We look forward to sending the print of your choice to you!


08 2010

Countdown to the Coast

We are 4 short days away from our trip to the Gulf Coast, and I wanted to take a moment to check in quickly.  Check out the video below and please consider making a donation if you are able to.

We look forward to sharing stories from the local coastal communities with you in the days ahead, so please do follow along.  If you want to keep up with live, we will be posting as we go on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and here on our blog.  Thank you so much for your support!


08 2010