Hurricane Creekkeeper John Wathen of Alabama and volunteer pilot Tom Hutchings of SouthWings flew over the Gulf of Mexico on Friday to get a look at the massive oil slick spreading from the site of the BP disaster.
At nine miles out, they began to smell the oil. At 11 miles, they saw a visible sheen on the water. And at mile 87 off the Alabama coast, they reached ground zero of the disaster -- what Wathen described as a "red mass of floating goo" as far as the eye can see.
"The Gulf appears to be bleeding," he said.
"For the first time in my environmental career, I find myself using the word 'hopeless,'" Wathen continued. "We can't stop this. There's no way to prevent this from hitting our shorelines."
Wathen and Hutchings had no trouble finding their way back to land: "All we had to do was follow the red," Wathens said. "There was a perfect line of it leading from the rig to the shoreline."
Here's the video from that trip, which is also posted to Wathen's blog dedicated to documenting the disaster: