Last night I got word from Destin-area locals that the Emerald Coast is actively handling the tarballs that washed up on Okaloosa Island and the oil slick floating just off the coast in Destin.
Public health officials announced plans to close Destin Pass around 7 p.m. yesterday using booms designed to protect the pass, beaches, and bridge. Some locals spotted the booms — floating cylinders with 18-inch skirts, angled to the catch oil — in place. But this morning I spoke with Tom McLaughlin, a reporter for the Northwest Florida Daily News, who said they were not fully deployed.
"Some oil did collect in what they did set up, so they're happy [the booms] are working," said Tom, who is helping keep us informed about the latest developments on the coast.
Tom went up in a plane to get a birds-eye view of the coastal situation (read his story and see photos and videos here). "It was a mess," he told me. "I'm not sure if it was how the pilot was flying, or the sight of the oil, but I got a little sick to my stomach."
Tom also wrote about Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort's plan to protect its beaches by scraping clean sand into mounds away from the affected Gulf waters and digging a trench above high tide-line to catch any oil that high winds or unusually high tides might push into it.