NYT: “Water looked like chocolate syrup in some parts and Coca-Cola in others” and “Smelled like an auto-body shop” says eyewitness — Ed Overton explains “It is not oil”

Spill Cleanup Proceeds Amid Mistrust and Fear, New York Times, November 2, 2010:

A couple of weeks ago, enormous orange-brownish strings of something were seen floating out here in the open water near the mouth of the Mississippi.

The water looked like chocolate syrup in some parts and Coca-Cola in others, said Cindy Cruikshank, who has been fishing for 53 of her 59 years. It smelled like an auto-body shop and it left stains on the hull of her boat. Along with other fishermen and environmentalists around the country, she had no doubts: this was oil.

I know what I saw,” she said. …

It is not oil, it has none of the properties of oil,” said Ed Overton… who analyzed two samples of the mysterious substance provided by the Coast Guard. … “A lot of the oil, when it weathered, ended up with a consistency that wasn’t too far from this stuff,” Mr. Overton said, though Ms. Cruikshank and many other fishermen who saw the stuff remain unconvinced. …

Ms. Cruikshank is not a conspiracy theorist in this case, saying that the Coast Guard simply took samples in the wrong place

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