John & Anne Wiley

2015/06/30

Lompoc Mesa Fire

Filed under: Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,People,Random,SB Region — John @ 03:49

Taking off from Oceano Airport near Pismo we looked South into this beautiful view along the beach and dunes.

6133 Oceano Dunes

6133 Oceano Dunes

Though I didn’t say anything to Anne, already I was pondering our route thinking those “low clouds” across our path might portend more as we approached SBA. But soon it was obvious that these were not clouds but smoke.

6149 Smoke Over SMX

6149 Smoke Over SMX

That’s the Santa Maria Airport (KSMX) just left of center, beneath a smoke colored layer that we could smell by now. Climbing to get above it, I was talking with ATC asking where the fire was. “Near LPC (Lompoc Airport),” came the reply along with an alert that water bombers were working the area so I increased our climb. Soon we could clearly see the fire area half a mile below, with a plane and a helicopter supporting many ground crews, and smoke far off into the Santa Ynez Valley almost obscuring Broadcast Peak.

6155 Mesa Fire Perimeter

6155 Mesa Fire Perimeter

In some places we saw open flames, but it appeared that the bright red-orange PhosChek fire retardant dropped by planes had helped ground crews establish a perimeter. As we passed the ridge line and began descending toward SBA, it was a relief to see the clearer air and the welcoming colors of home.

6211 SBA Welcome

6211 SBA Welcome

2015/06/25

Plumbing Fixes

Filed under: Flying,Has Photos,Nature,People,Random,SB Region — John @ 06:40

While the Plains All American Pipeline is shut down for repair and spill cleanup, there seem to be many other repairs to the plumbing going on in the pix below. But first I’ll share this pic of Gaviota that I really like.

4577 Gaviota Beautiful

4577 Gaviota Beautiful

The wind and oil on the water add such texture & depth, if this were a Spring pic with green grasses and maybe wildflowers…

As for the plumbing, on the hill to the left of the pic above is this new dirt road with several pipe projects showing.

4574 Hill Pipe

4574 Hill Pipe

At the bottom is a barrier fence to stop rocks that roll down from the dig you can just make out above. Just at the edge of the green there’s a blue water trailer you’ll see in another pic, and between these two features is a new looking pipe head sticking up that you can’t make out in this wide pic. First here’s a closer look at the dig just above this end of the road.

4570 Downhill Dig

4570 Downhill Dig

Guess it was a weak spot in the pipe they dug up and repaired, and working on that steep slope must have made it fairly interesting. Here’s that pipe head I mentioned.

4556 Pipe Head

4556 Pipe Head

Someone on Edhat said there’s been lots of equipment and activity on this hill since well before the spill, so maybe this is a bypass line or they’ve shut down the whole pipeline occasionally to work on sections. Speaking of sections, next to that blue water trailer there’s this long section of pipe. Is it waiting to be installed, to be used as a bypass to a section in the ground, or maybe an old section they’ve pulled out and replaced already?

4551 Long Section

4551 Long Section

The smaller white pipe along the top of the road is apparently for water to the blue trailer tank, and it runs from another blue trailer at the bottom of the hill near the coast clear to the bottom barrier at the northern end. Along the coast East toward Santa Barbara there are two digs on the main pipeline next to Hwy.101. This one’s a little over half way from Gaviota to Refugio.

4545 Halfway Dig

4545 Halfway Dig

Then about a mile toward Gaviota from Refugio there’s this one not far from the spill site.

4525 Pipe Repair

4525 Pipe Repair

This one looks very much like a pipe repair, with the sun shade frame still there from when they were working on it. Maybe it’s awaiting pressure testing or inspection before they bury it again. Further along the coast below the refinery at Las Flores next to Hwy.101 this section of pipe is dug up.

4665 Las Flores Dig

4665 Las Flores Dig

This one’s perpendicular to the highway and the main pipeline. Maybe the refinery folks are adding or upgrading this pipe while everything’s shut down. It’s interesting to see all the work, especially since there’s been so little reporting on all this. I’m impressed with how organized and careful everything looks, in contrast with the apparent lack of attention and prevention that led to the spill and inadequate initial cleanup. What I’ve seen and read indicates that if the oil had been contained and removed from the water immediately, the strong winds wouldn’t have spread it across the Channel.

2015/06/16

Gaviota Hill Work

Filed under: Flying,Has Photos,Nature,People,Random,SB Region — John @ 22:55

In response to a question in the comments on an “Rock Groups” Edhat item from me, here’s a pic of the work going on atop the hill above the old Gaviota settlement. This view is from offshore looking North where hwy.101 turns away from the coast, taken 5/27/2015.

2588 Gaviota Hill Work

2588 Gaviota Hill Work

Rock Petting

Filed under: Flying,Has Photos,Nature,People,Random,SB Region — John @ 17:25

The May 19, 2015 oil spill by Plains All American Pipeline near the Refugio Beach park is said to have spread more than a hundred miles along our beaches. The most obvious signs of it still visible from the air now are on beach rocks between Refugio and El Capitan.

4098 Rock Party

4098 Rock Party

Rock cleaning parties like this are scattered along many beaches, as crews of white suited workers sprawl  chatting as they scrub tar off and bag it for disposal.

4072 Slow & Steady

4072 Slow & Steady

Where there had been many boulders wearing dalmatian decorations of tar, now most have been cleaned nearly back to their pre-spill appearance. Thousands of bags filled with tar from boulders, beaches, and boats collecting it off the water are being trucked away.

4052 Bag Brigade

4052 Bag Brigade

Even after all this work by hundreds of people, there’s still far more oil and tar on our local waters than we’ve seen before. Some or all of it may be due to increased natural seepage due to pressure buildup deep beneath the sea floor when oil production was shut down.

3920 6/15/2015 Tar Globs

3920 6/15/2015 Tar Globs

2015/06/03

More Oil

Filed under: by Anne,Has Photos,Nature,People,Random,SB Region — John @ 08:53

We were surprised to still see so much oil in the water Tuesday afternoon at Goleta Beach, and even more startled by the weird color out beyond that thin dark line along the beach.

3044 Goleta Beach, June 3

3044 Goleta Beach, June 3

The beach facing southwest from Devereux had some dark black water along the shore, especially just beyond the surf. I hope if anyone’s swimming in that it’s safe for them.

3385 Devereux Black Water

3385 Devereux Black Water

If like us you’re interested in the May 19 oil spill aftermath, check out the new pix I’m uploading to my “Photo Page” (link in right column). Included there are a section of IV beach, a good view of the spill path cleanup at the 101 lane closure out past Refugio, and new looks at Refugio and El Capitan from this flight.

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