Patches of thick black crude oil continued washing ashore along a 50-mile stretch of coastline here, and a spokesman for the $50 million annual South Padre Island tourist industry has warned vacationers to "come at your own risk."
The slick, from a runaway Mexican well, started washing ashore Saturday on Padre Island, and beach sweepers were busy yesterday gathering oil stained sand from the beaches and piling it into a five foot high storage area for disposal later.
The extent of the damage has been hard to determine, with some reports suggesting that the 50 miles of Texas coastline has been blackened by a two inch thick layer of crude oil, and other reports claiming that the oil was only washing ashore in small patches.
A spokesman at the Corpus Christi Police Department said "the beaches are still pretty. If you want to come out and just lay on the beaches, it's not affecting that any."
But the director of the island's tourist bureau is warning people "if their primary interest is the surf and shore along the water's edge, come at your own risk."
Weathermen predicted yesterday that shifts in the wind could, with increasing water currents, push still more oil onto the beaches.