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September 1st means summer is already over in Brussels. The holidays are at an end, and everyone has gone back to work. The metro is packed again, it’s nearly impossible to find a spot for lunch in Place Luxembourg, and sunglasses are being replaced with coats and umbrellas. This ‘back to school” atmosphere also touches the European Institutions and the world of policy makers.

Today we spent the whole day sailing around the Mississippi Delta in order to reach Grand Isle in Louisiana. It is at the western part of the mouth of this emblematic river. The Mississippi, that gives life, history, music and literature, has at the same time, during too many decades, been the sewer for a vast expanse of the United States from North to South. Now, its delta has also been attacked from the sea by the oil spilled by BP.

After another night of sailing, we reached Destin Dome, an area of the Gulf off Alabama where most of the 2,700 abandoned oil wells lie since offshore oil drilling began in the ‘40s of the past century. A few days ago, AP published information on the possibility that the sealing on some of these wells may be deteriorating and allowing oil to leak gradually without anyone detecting it. The Oceana Latitude was near this area, with a high concentration of abandoned wells.

As we had predicted, and after a night of sailing, we reached the bay of Port Saint Joe, a small port at the westernmost tip of Florida, at the crack of dawn. At the local marina, they had kindly agreed to receive the Fedex and UPS packages that were sent to us over night from a couple of businesses in California and New Jersey with parts to repair our submarine robot. Sometimes, incredibly enough, these things turn out right. We purchased the parts by phone. They told us that they would be in a tiny port at the other end of a huge country the next morning, and there they were.