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energy & nuclear | environment

The Future of Rincon Island

starting just before gaviota state park in the californian central coast you can see just offshore, just within the naked eye, monstrous floating cities out in the water. their numbers are so great it would be very hard to count them from the coast. when i first saw them on my bike trip it took me awhile to figure out what they were, but i learned that they were oil rigs.
rincon island from the north

offshore oil drilling on the californian coast. i had no idea that took place in 2001, but i saw them, i think i wrote a poem about their ugliness and then i forgot about them. and when i started seeing them again on this trip, i recalled all the things i disliked about their existence.
rincon island from the beach
rincon island from the beach
rincon island from the north
rincon island from the north
shortly after leaving santa barbara there is an island off of highway one. it is a spectacular looking thing from the highway, a small one lane bridge stretches the distance across the ocean to the island and from a distance it just looks like a mini paradise connected to land by the powers of man.

nothing could be further from the truth.

i saw it from a distance and was immediately drawn toward it. i said "i want to go to there" and so i made it happen. i found an exit that allowed me to gain access close to the bridge, i parked and then i walked out to it because the entrance was all fenced closed.
rincon island from the beach

i wondered why they would build a bridge to the island and then close it off. i was determined to find out more information. i wrote down the information on the sign, Rincon Island, and left. back on the highway i pulled off at the next vista point to get some good shots from the distance, the place really interested me.

after doing some research i learned that the island was not the fruit of the world in any sense. the island was constructed, yes made by the hands of man, in 1957 for the sole purpose of offshore drilling. a lush looking oil rig island, a mere 3,000 feet offshore. who would guess?

and it hasnt been good for the local community. starting in 1999, the island received 300 safety violations and threatened or polluted state waters 20 times. this included a spill of 1600 gallons in december of 2008.

for now rincon island is shut down and not producing any oil. the pipeline that transports the oil runs under the bridge, and the bridge has been deemed unsafe for vehicular travel since october 2008. and now, closed off and fenced with barbed wire the island will most likely be demolished.