Published: Jun 12, 2010 8:27 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 12, 2010 5:27 PM EDT

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's beaches are taking their worst hit yet from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
      
Pancake-size globs of crude and tar are washing up, leaving lines across the white sands just at the time the summer beach season usually picks up.
      
Crews on the water are working to sop up a giant oil sheen just three miles offshore to keep it from reaching land. An aerial spotter describes the sheen and brown patches of floating oil as looking like a case of the chicken pox on the Gulf.
      
The sheen is covering the pass leading into Perdido Bay near the Alabama-Florida line. Miles of boom have been laid there, but globs of brown oil have managed to make it past. Still, one man at the marina says it was worse before cleaning crews and skimming boats flooded in.
      
Meanwhile, the beaches in the Florida Panhandle have appeared mostly free of tar today, though officials caution that there are two wide sections of the slick just offshore.