Oil On Water

From my living room I can see boats in the marina, and I watch them come and go every day. It is a very pleasing view.

At a recent get-together of neighbours, I was invited to join a small group that swims here in the early evenings. I have occasionally watched them stride into the water by the kayak launch area and swim out into the sea channel, and I feel tempted to participate. I even bought a bathing suit, but I haven’t actually tried it on yet.

This evening, as I glanced out my window, I saw two sea creatures that I think were seals. It is hard to say for sure because they poked their noses above the surface only briefly, but I noticed. I also saw their wake in the water as they swam between the rows of docked boats.

At the same time, I noticed something less pleasing. An oil slick. Maybe it was gasoline. Whatever it was, it was floating on top of the water. Does gasoline float? I don’t know. Anyway, it troubled me enough that I took a couple of photos. I am a newcomer here, so I don’t know what is normal, but this struck me as abnormal.

I watched as the oil slick drifted northward and settled at the water’s edge, right by the spot where my neighbours swim. It now resides among the rocks on the beach.

My concern for the seals, the human swimmers, and the crabs on the beach prompted me to send an email to the marina office via their website, but I suspect I will come across as a know-nothing busybody. I don’t even know what they can do about it since it is probably a one-off event and, by the time they read the email it will be history. But, it was one of those “someone should do something” moments that make me feel powerless.

The only power I have is in my keyboard, so I sent an email. If the marina people want me to, I can send them the photos, too. Even if they don’t, I feel better knowing I have done what I can. In my little corner of the world, oil and water still don’t mix.


  1. Good for you! Send that stuff in because one never knows if it’s a concern or not, but neither gas nor oil need to be where live things live or swim.

  2. I can’t pass up your first comment about the swimmers. I can relate to your several-step process of joining your swimmming neighbors. 1)consider it, 2)by a swim suit, 3) try the swim suit on, 4)imagine onself being in public in a swim suit, 5) realize the swimming may be seasonal and a decision should be made soon? 5) do it or wait until next year?

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