Aerial View of the Gulf - Where's the Oil?

On day 100 of BP's oil leak, there's some good news to report. Most of the floating blob of oil -- once the size of South Carolina -- is gone.

We took a two-hour aerial door today with the Civil Air Patrol, (left) flying along the Gulf coast of Louisiana and Mississippi.

These volunteers have flown almost six-hundred flights since the leak began, acting as spotters and taking aerial photographs.

With them today, at no time did we see the familiar streamers of oil floating anywhere, the rusty-colored ribbons that have washed ashore and washed away the summer for so many Gulf coast businesses and residents. In fact, we only saw occasional sheen, and not much of that.

Photos: 100 Days, 100 Photos

Instead, we saw clear Gulf waters, clean (and mostly empty) beaches, and more pleasure boats then skimmers -- a huge difference from two weeks ago, when BP put a temporary cap on the well and plugged it.

None of that means the worry's over in this disaster. The well still needs a permanent seal, scheduled for mid-August. Thousands of people who rely on the Gulf to make a living are still in paycheck limbo with no end in sight. And vast underwater oil plumes worry marine scientists for the unknown environmental impact over the long-term.

But for a marathon disaster like this spill, progress can be measured on its one-hundredth day when a summer day in the Gulf looks the way it should all the time.

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann was named CBS News Transportation correspondent in August 2011. He has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001, and is based in the Atlanta bureau.

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