With a distinctive odor lingering in the air, former oil man, Ellis Pickett documented day three of the oil spill cleanup effort off Galveston's east and beach for his Surf rider Foundation.
"I can smell the oil," Pickett said. "I started working in the oil industry in the 60s through the 80s"
Behind him, waves crashed down on bright orange safety booms bobbing in the water.
"All the black parts you see is the bunker oil," Pickett said.
Seagulls squawked at the loud sounds fired from starter guns aimed at keeping birds out of the oiled water.
As of Monday, researchers at Texas A&M Galveston were waiting for the Coast Guard to allow their boats access to the water. Robert Webster retired, got his captains license, and is now a graduate student.
"Weather is the number one factor," he said. "We got a cold front scheduled through."
Webster is part of a team using a 4 year old system they designed based on currents and seaweed movement to track the oil spill.