Tuesday, August 12

Port Aransas and the Texas Coast

A couple of months ago we went down to the Texas coast and spent a few nights with some friends. I didn't know what to expect but it was fun. A really different kind of beach than we're used to, more like some parts of Queensland I guess, but we had a fabulous time. We rented a house for a few days just down the street from the caravan park where friends of ours go every year, so we were effectively hanging out with local beach rats :D

It's about a 2-3 hour drive from San Antonio, depending on traffic, but really pretty through all sorts of (very flat) scrub and fields. When you get closer to the coast you hit a lot of refineries, and then those are replaced by coastal tourism...hotels, fishing suppliers etc etc. Our destination was Port Aransas, which is a barrier island (Mustang Island) so there's a big lagoon in behind and lots of birds. The water was insanely warm (over 30 deg C) and absolutely TEEMING with fish. Big ones too. Sometimes you could even feel them butting your legs! While I was out floating one day I had two little angel fish who came and swam with me, up over my belly and back for about 20 minutes! They were very pretty. The water was really nutrient rich, so a tad murky, but we got lucky in that there was no seaweed and no hurricanes (although we did catch a very pretty lightning storm).

Can't remember what time of day this was (evening I think) but it was still hot! This was about as much swell as we saw, but it was great for just floating around in. The peace of this shot is in stark contrast to earlier in the day, when the beach is covered in tents, blankets and umbrellas as far as the eye can see, not to mention people. There were people fishing over the top of people swimming even. And many of the tents had these kites attached to them, I guess so you can spot your stuff from the water. There was a bit of a tow, so it payed to keep an eye on some kind of landmark. The kites are also testament to the fact that there is an almost constant breeze, or at least there was when we were there.

Some of the local real estate. Pastels are in this season. There were also some fabulous "shacks" that we would have been quite happy living in, and some very grand looking houses!

The wharf at the end of the island (Port A proper I guess) and the sunset just before the lightning storm came across. There were some pretty impressive fishing cruisers moored here...the ones with the big game swivel chairs that look like glamorous dentist chairs attached to the back of the boat (stern?)

Same wharf about an hour earlier.

And from the look of these there is some pretty serious fishing that goes on round those parts!

One of the refineries on the road down to the coast. We could only just make out the oil rigs off shore, but these complexes were impressive. I love a good industrial site (aesthetic wise only though)

One of the many crops we passed. This one was gorgeous in its colouring, and we still don't have any idea what it actually was. It looked a little like it was related to corn, but hard to know when you're zipping past at 75 mph and trying not to get carsick!

The road out of the coast is of course a hurricane evacuation route. These warnings pop up every few miles but I wonder how well they are obeyed when it comes to the crunch. I've seen people fill up the access lanes on the highways here just to avoid a 10 minute delay due to an accident...

Matt in what seemed like a fitting shot...

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