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So much drama off the LBC
April 11, 2007 6:41 PM   Subscribe

Chaffee, White, Grissom & Freeman are the names of four artificial islands immediately off the Southern California port of Long Beach. From the shore, they each look like an inhabited island paradise, complete with waterfalls, interesting buildings, many palm trees and crazy nighttime party lighting. In fact, they are offshore oil wells, built on 10 acre Dubai-esque man-made islands created for the purpose of housing the oil wells, and disguised so as to comply with local aesthetic standards.
posted by jonson (25 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fun fact: The islands are named after four astronauts who died in the 1960s.
posted by jonson at 6:41 PM on April 11, 2007


Maybe they should just use ENORMOUS versions of these.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:46 PM on April 11, 2007


I've heard that's what they're doing up at Morro Bay.
posted by jonson at 6:49 PM on April 11, 2007


Reminds me of those cell phone "trees".
posted by R. Mutt at 6:52 PM on April 11, 2007


Why would they name fake islands after real astronauts ... unless, wait a minute ... you don't think its some kind of clue ....
posted by R. Mutt at 7:02 PM on April 11, 2007


Great post, great pics and maps, great facts, jonson, thanks.

And I didn't knew who Freeman was, but he was indeed an astronaut.
posted by bru at 7:02 PM on April 11, 2007


It reminds me of the houses that aren't houses at all.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:16 PM on April 11, 2007


Sounds like the name of a law firm...
posted by Eekacat at 7:19 PM on April 11, 2007


THUMS, he says, “is a great example of the pressures facing the local oil industry. This field is 85 years old, has produced almost a billion barrels, has millions of barrels left to recover, but the wells cannot compete with properties worth millions.

All from the article jonson posted.

THUMS....another Hollywood "has been"?
posted by Penny Wise at 7:26 PM on April 11, 2007


Most people don't realize just how much oil production happens in Southern California. It's one of the top 3-5 producing areas of the United States. There's a reason the La Brea Tar Pits exist, after all, and there's a reason there's a working oil well literally on the campus of Beverly Hills High School.

Part of that is tricks like this man-made islands. But there are shell buildings throughout L.A. that hide oil wells and derricks, and lots of houses in Brentwood with oil wells in the backyard.
posted by frogan at 7:33 PM on April 11, 2007


Thank you jonson, for such a descriptive fpp that one did not have to actually click on any of the links!

I think offshore oil rigs should appear to be hobbit shires or mad scientists' secret headquarters.
posted by longsleeves at 7:43 PM on April 11, 2007


But would Snoop party on one of these isles? Riffing off your post title.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:49 PM on April 11, 2007


Huh. Local aesthetic standards... are inhabited islands fundamentally more aesthetically pleasing than unspoilt undeveloped wilderness - or is that too creepy for many urbanites?
posted by porpoise at 8:06 PM on April 11, 2007


That's no lagoon.

I've got a bad feeling about this ...
posted by dhartung at 8:43 PM on April 11, 2007


are inhabited islands fundamentally more aesthetically pleasing than unspoilt undeveloped wilderness - or is that too creepy for many urbanites?

These are man-made islands. "Undeveloped wilderness" in this case would be flat, empty ocean (which I don't think anyone has an issue with).

But if you're going to build something on the ocean (and whether you build or not is an entirely different discussion), something with equipment on it, I think it's a dandy idea to attempt to make them more aesthetically pleasing.

I used to live near Huntington Beach, Calif, where there are full-on offshore oil derricks within eyeshot of some of the finest surfing in the U.S. They were drilling for oil there since the 20s. The high school mascot is the Oilers. And I always thought ... if the derricks are going to be there anyway ... why don't they at least try to make it not look like such an eyesore?
posted by frogan at 8:49 PM on April 11, 2007


Thanks for this. I see these everyday driving down Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach. I never knew exactly what these strange islands were about.
posted by basicchannel at 9:42 PM on April 11, 2007


I used to live in Long Beach. The view from the shore is very 2-dimensional. I knew they were oil wells out there, but had no idea how much was behind the face I could see.

frogan: Funny enough, I have no memory of oil wells off Huntington Beach. But then, I did live longer in Long Beach than Huntington Beach, yet Huntington Beach was much more recent. Probably I was too busy watching for a wave, in HB ;-)
posted by Goofyy at 11:28 PM on April 11, 2007


Funny enough, I have no memory of oil wells off Huntington Beach.

Right here.
posted by frogan at 11:54 PM on April 11, 2007


In addition to being industrial constructions, are they (or could they be, minus the lights and shit) wildlife sanctuaries or are they just too noisy and awful for birds and seals to put up with?
posted by pracowity at 12:53 AM on April 12, 2007


This seems like the exact opposite of the giant wind turbines they wanted to put up near Boston until residents complained about how they would ruin the view.

At one level I understand, but at another level is seems like complaining about having to look at this eyesore every day.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:26 AM on April 12, 2007


A bit OT- but can anyone inform me what this is?
posted by TuxHeDoh at 6:59 AM on April 12, 2007


I live a block from the beach and those islands don't "each look like an inhabited island paradise." They each look like somebody tried to paint lipstick on an oiled up pig.

As for building houses out there and what not. Sure. Go for it. Until they do something about the breakwater, our long stretch of beach will continue to be an industrial lagoon rather than a sweet piece of pacific strand.
posted by notyou at 7:12 AM on April 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


At one level I understand, but at another level is seems like complaining about having to look at this eyesore every day.

The bridge is a single, clean, elegant construction that frames the view of the bay. If the bay were loaded with bridges of various sizes and shapes breaking the view of the horizon and making air, noise, and light pollution day and night, the bridges would be eyesores. And earsores. And nosesores. And dinosores.

Also, the bridge is something for everyone, an everyday public utility that also offers and view and a nice place to jump from. And it's historical, a monument, a part of the city lore, so you feel something when you see it.

The fake islands are just oil derricks disguised as awful resorts. I think I'd prefer the honest, undisguised derricks.
posted by pracowity at 7:14 AM on April 12, 2007


"So much drama off the LBC"

You win.
posted by cashman at 9:02 AM on April 12, 2007


TuxHeDo: Algae blooms, I assume. Yummy.
posted by basicchannel at 12:53 PM on April 12, 2007


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