Getting the flavor of…
Diving beside decommissioned oil rigs
Oil rigs probably bring to mind oil spills, “but underwater, they can be an aquatic paradise for sea creatures,” said Jennifer Nalewicki in Smithsonian.com. Some of the hottest diving and snorkeling spots in the Gulf of Mexico are at the bases of those manmade monstrosities, which extend hundreds of feet underwater and provide the hard surfaces necessary for reef formation that the gulf’s seafloor otherwise lacks. A charity called Blue Latitudes has been working with oil companies to “reef” their decommissioned rigs, and 532 retired platforms now support corals, sponges, and other colorful marine life. Only a few rigs are open to divers, but they’re easily accessible. The best spots include High Island A389 and A376, two rigs off the coast of Galveston, Texas, where the warm, clear waters swarm with manta rays. Just off Cypremort Point in western Louisiana, divers can see huge schools of Atlantic spadefish and crevalle jacks at Vermilion 171A.