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The public beach at Gulf Shores, Ala., had its busiest day in weeks on Saturday despite oil-stained sand and a dark line of tar balls left by high tide.

Darryl Allen of Fairhope, Ala., and Pat Carrasco of Baton Rouge, La., came to the beach to throw a Frisbee just as they’ve been doing for the past 30 years. With oil on people’s minds more than the weather, Mr. Allen asked what’s become a common question since the well integrity test began: “How’s the pressure? I hope it’s going up,” he said. “You don’t want to be too optimistic after all that’s happened.”

People also were fishing again, off piers and in boats, after most of the recreational waters in Louisiana were reopened late this week. More than a third of federal waters are still closed and off-limits to commercial fishermen.

“I love to fish,” said Brittany Lawson, hanging her line off a pier beside the Grand Isle Bridge. “I love to come out here.”

And even though it has been only days since the oil was turned off, the naked eye could spot improvements on the water. The crude appeared to be dissipating quickly on the surface of the Gulf around the Deepwater Horizon site.

Members of a Coast Guard crew that flew over the wellhead Saturday said far less oil was visible than a day earlier. Only a colorful sheen and a few long streams of rust-colored, weathered oil were apparent in an area covered weeks earlier by huge patches of black crude.

Somewhere between 94 million and 184 million gallons have spilled into the Gulf, according to government estimates.

Harry R. Weber reported from Houston.