fish market closures following gulf coast oil spillAs promised, I wanted to give you an update of my travels on the Gulf Coast.

Yesterday I was supposed to go up in a small plane to get an aerial view of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. But on Tuesday afternoon, just as I was getting ready to go, some thunderstorms rolled in that canceled my flight.

I took some time see more of the beaches Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. I went over to Okaloosa Island and down to Panama City Beach, and I was very happy to see these beaches exactly as the others — no oil or tar balls that I could see.

I had to cut my trip short and fly to Atlanta on Tuesday night for a Wednesday morning interview with Fox and Friends (to talk about the oil spill). My family lives in Atlanta so I thought it would be nice to pick up some fresh seafood so we could enjoy the fruits of the sea. I called my favorite fish market, Shrimpers, to place my order. Their answering machine picked up and said, “Sorry, we are closed due to the oil spill.”

The closed fish market hit me like a load of bricks! I guess it was because everything else I “saw” was eerily exactly the same. The stores were buzzing with tourists, the boardwalk had people walking and running as usual, the restaurants were crowded, and yes, they even had seafood on the menus (I suppose shipped in from other parts of the world).

Every beach vacation is virtually the same — enjoy the beach, play in the sand and water, get a sun tan, go to the fish market and cook up a freshly caught seafood feast. But not this time. As I sit here writing this blog post, I feel deeply saddened by this. I am wondering why the closure of the fish market had such a profound effect on me. I suppose it’s because no matter what I see or hear about the oil spill on TV, somehow that’s surreal, a bit more difficult to believe. Perhaps my brain can only believe what I see. The bottom line is whether I can see it or not, the oil is affecting my beaches.


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