Offshore swells of 6 feet and more in the Gulf kept all BP managed boats in safe harbor again, delaying sea turtle rescue efforts another day. Frustrated by the lack of work in Destin, Florida, I traveled west to Alabama where oil has been landing on beaches for weeks.

Perdito Bay is home to several resident pods of bottle nose dolphins, and nobody knows them better than Captain Lori, the “Dolphin Queen.” I visited Lori and saw first-hand the smaller, Perdito Bay dolphins were now joined by much larger dolphins that likely resided in the Gulf. Lori has seen a dramatic influx of these Gulf dolphins taking refuge in the back bays.

The back bays we toured had several pods of dolphins, some swimming right alongside oiled booms. Booms have been in place here, almost 5 miles from the Gulf ocean, for several weeks. The yellow plastic is now brown from prolonged contact with small oil slicks that blow in from the massive slicks offshore of Alabama. It was sad to see oil this far back into what appeared to be protected bays, but encouraging to know that some of the ocean’s most intelligent mammals had found a safer place to forage and a loving caretaker in Captain Lori, the “Dolphin Queen”.