Friday, March 31, 2006
Farewell to the Beach
Zaph sadly said farewell to the beach, but looks forward to many lakes and streams to swim in. Ed and I spent most of the last day trying to rid the trailer and truck of accumulated sand and salt — we think we were mostly successful. It really is amazing the amount of sand that gets tracked into everything.
A Great Blue Heron stretching his wings.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
A Great Day for a Romp on the Beach
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Let It Rain
While driving the nine or so miles north on the beach from the park to the nearest public beach access road we noticed the wind picking up strongly and storm like conditions brewing. Before we reached the trailer the skies had opened and it poured rain heavily. The overall amount of rain was most likely less than 2", but given how dry everything is, it did at least put some water into the dry ponds and marshes.
It was foggy on the Padre Island beach.
Windsurfers --- the ones on the right were getting a lesson.
I know the ball is down here somewhere!
A flock of Ibis
Mom hurry up and throw the ball!
Aren't I handsome ..... a Caspian Tern
Monday, March 27, 2006
Things were pretty quiet for a few days ... cleaning, laundry, and of course many dog directed walks on the beach. Zaph was happy as Splash came to visit on the 27th. The pair of them had a great time chasing balls on the beach, and Splash appeared to really enjoy rolling in and getting covered in sand, much to the objection of her mother.
Are you sure you're suppose to be this close when you're shark watching? Most people do it from a safe distance .......
Everyone's gone surfing ....... surfing USA
A ship passing by the jetty.
Hey Splash, where's the ball?
Friday, March 24, 2006
Cold north winds blew in from Canada (I’m not sure if that’s true but it sounds good!), so we spent most of the 23rd in the trailer with the furnace on. It was still cool on the 24 th, but it was sunny so we headed down to Corpus Christie and the aircraft carrier USS Lexington aka CV-16, aka “the blue ghost”. The ship was launched September 23, 1942, saw active duty in a number of wars, decommissioned in 1991 and was opened as a museum in October 1992. We had a great day exploring the different areas of the ship and viewing the many exhibits that were displayed, many of which are in the maze of cabins and areas below the hanger deck, perhaps it was more like a snakes and ladder game, as you whet up and down many stairs which looked more like ladders. Then there is the single escalator, that was not running (used to quickly move pilots from their ready rooms to the hanger deck. They have converted an area at the bow of the boat into a large screen theater which featured a couple of Imax films.
A-4F Skyhawk II
AH-1S Cobra helicopter
One of several caricatures that were painted on the ship --- this one depicts the functions of an aircraft carrier
The flight bridge
One of the passageways in the snakes and ladder game
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Now That’s a Really “Big Tree”
The boat tour we were on a couple of weeks ago took us into the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. We decided it was time to check out the land based portion of the refuge which consisted of a 16 mile Auto Tour with several hiking trails and view points along the way. From one of the hiking trails we saw about 25 alligators of varying sizes — Zaph couldn’t figure out why I wouldn’t let him get near the pond. Another highlight was the family of wild boar (mom, dad and four babies) we watched crossing an inlet. We also saw deer, a Great Blue Heron having lunch, Glossy Ibis, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Whooping Cranes, Roseate Spoonsbills , some dung beetles working hard, and many more.
On the drive back from the refuge we decided to check out Goose Island State Park and “The Big Tree” and it really was a big tree..
To quote the big tree website:
“The Big Tree of Lamar is one of the most famous in the world. The giant live oak is a charter member of the Live Oak Society of America, and has been the subject of one of Ripley's "Believe It or Not" cartoons. It is measured to be more than 35 feet in circumference, 44 feet in height and has a crown spread of 89 feet. The Texas Forest Service estimates the tree to be over 1,000 years old. The Big Tree is also known as the Lamar Oak, Bishop's Oak and the Goose Island Oak. It is recognized as the State Champion Coastal live oak. It is said to have been a council tree for the Carancahua Indians and for the white men who came after them.”
Now you see the fish.
Now you don't ---- Ok the bulge in my throat is the fish.
A Great Blue Herron chasing a Great Egret.
A Dung Beatle moving some "dung" on the path. This little guy could get under the dung and carry it.
Papa, Mama and four baby boars
A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
A field of Texas Bluebonnets at Goose Island State Park
The Big Tree
A Sora at the Birding Center in Port Aransas
A Tricolored Heron watching us --- we were about 10 feet apart.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for ICE CREAM.
An Ice Cream Social is held every Sunday evening ---- 3 scoops of ice cream for a dollar and you can have seconds for another dollar. This week they also had birthday cake celebrating the March through May birthdays .... hmmmmm good. As you can imagine a lot of people attended this event including Darryl, Carol, Ed and myself.
The remains of the key lime pie.
A Nutria --- a non-native rodent. The alligators think it makes a tasty snack.
The "Bottlebrush" bush.
A Ford F100 (probably from the 70's) --- I think it's time to retire it.
Kite boarding on the beach
Feeding the gulls.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Happy Birthday to Me!! ....... and of course Carol
The Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christie was our destination for today. This aquarium has a great view of the Corpus Christie Bay and the USS Lexington (a naval museum). As it was a Saturday day and the end of Spring Break the aquarium was busy when we got there and there was an even longer line when we left 3 hours later. The dolphin show was good and it made me wonder why the dolphins I can see near the ferry don’t do those fancy tricks when I’m watching them.
The sign for the ferry indicated a one hour wait but it was only half an hour which wasn’t bad during spring break.... I’m sure the sign writer was using psychology to keep the ferry passengers happy.
After a walk and play time for Zaph on the beach, Darryl asked me if I was ready for my birthday ride on the motorbike. After my anticipated yes, Darryl got on his bike ...... oooops what was that ripping sound. The damp air had made his pants sick to his legs and one of them ripped right across the back as he lifted his leg. I guess we’ll be going to Wal-Mart tomorrow to get a pair of pants for him to ride home it.
As I don’t cook on my birthday and neither does Carol, so we went out for a lovely dinner. The restaurant had Key Lime Pie on the menu — a favorite of Darryl, Ed and myself. Darryl ordered one and Ed and I ordered one to split. Our mouths dropped when our “pieces” of pie arrived .... or should I say pies... A serving was 5 inches high by 4 inches in diameter — we figured 4 people may have been able to eat it. Naturally there were leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.
One of the colourful fish at the aquarium
A Moon Jelly fish --- I thought all jelly fish were poisonous but their not.
A Crested Caracara. The aquarium has a few raptors that have been injured and cannot be release back into the wild.
The river otter.
The dolphins seemed to know the boy was there are performed for him.
Wow --- a back flip.
A baby alligator --- she keeps it calm by stroking it's head.
born to be wild---easy riders
Friday, March 17, 2006
Top of the Morn to you
Hope you all had a green St. Patrick’s Day — we did. My sister Carol and her husband Darryl drove 400 plus miles from Tyler, Texas to Port Aransas on their motorcycle for a weekend visit — I get a sore behind and stiff legs just thinking about it.
The four of us were sitting in the trailer chatting when a neighbour from across the road came over and asked if we could help her. She saw a dog jumped through the screen window of the trailer beside us and could not catch it. The owners were out and she was afraid that it would run off. The dog was about 50 pounds, definitely had some black lab in him, and looked dashing in his shamrock bandana, but was very skittish. It didn’t take long before there were at least 15 people, many armed with treats trying to coax the dog to come. Someone tried the door of the trailer and luckily it was unlocked. The second dog was brought outside and attached to her rope with the trailer door was left opened. This maneuver worked as the black dog ran into the trailer to get away from all the helpful people. It turned out the owners were just down the road visiting at another trailer and the dog was a foster dog that was still somewhat traumatized.
A couple of hours later we were enjoying dinner when we heard a number of sirens and were quite surprised when first a EMS vehicle raced by our trailer then two police cruisers, a fire rescue truck and a fire truck. Looking down the road we could see smoke coming out of a trailer and a man with a hose spraying the roof down (turned out he had been a volunteer firefighter and knew what to do — handy person to have around). The trailer owners were at the club house working at the St. Patrick’s day dinner and dance but their dog was in the trailer. Luckily, neighbours knew this and someone broke into the trailer and got the dog out. The EMT rescue workers gave the dog oxygen and she was taken to an emergency vet. clinic to be treated for smoke inhalation. Everyone cheered at Sunday’s Ice Cream Social when it was announced that she had come home that day. We heard that the fire had started in the air cleaner — makes you really think about what matters.
The fires out.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Surviving Spring Break .... So Far
We’ve spent the time taking Zaph to the beach or checking out various birding areas. Are you tired of bird pictures yet?
Weather has been mostly been 20-25C during the day, however the humidity has been all over the map, most days have been very humid (>95% RH), but with an occasional dry day tossed in to keep things sane.
The real meaning behind "sticking ones neck out" .... Least Bittern
"keeping a low profile". The Least Bittern can stretch his neck out quite far when he is looking for food.
A flock of Roseate Spoonbill's
This is one handsome devil --- a Roseate Spoonbill up close and personal.
The beach is busier now that spring break is here.
Is this a scene from the Alfred Hitchcock movie "Birds"?
A Marbled Godwit
This car was left on the beach
These two ships passed in the channel and nearly swapped us out with a wave.
A Great Blue Heron nesting.
Spring is here --- the flowers are starting to bloom!
A sparrow --- we're not sure which one though
The sky is full of pigeons and gulls. We stopped at a "use to be a" pond where a man feeds the birds. He said the family joke is that he is spending his kid's inheritence on bird seed!
Coming in for a Landing! Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.
Hey! Move over --- this is my dining spot! The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks come by the hundreds for the morning feeding.
Looks like the free food is gone.
Time to head out for the days activities.
Greater Yellowlegs --- don't you just love how they name the birds.
Roseate Spoonbill in flight
Who's the better fisherman? This Heron is waiting to grab any fish the fisherman catches.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
They Pour Your Food on the Table!
Colin and Margaret told us about a great restaurant so we drove over and met them for dinner. The Boiling Pot looks like a real dive from the outside — on old metal building with graffiti all over it. At first look the inside wasn’t much better — sheets of paper with writing on them were taped on the walls and the ceiling. It reminded me of the restaurant in the Yukon with all of the hats. Taking a good look around you could see that the restaurant was very clean and each table was covered with sheets of paper. As the name implied, the food you chose was boiled in a pot of water with Cajun spices. The standard boil includes a blue crab, shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes. The waitress brings your food to the table in a stainless bowl and proceeds to dump it on the table. You use your hands and plastic knives and forks to eat. What fun! And it tasted good too!
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Even Early for Me
Sunrise at the harbour.
The MV Skimmer.
The trip was 53km according to Ed's GPS.
There are lots of dolphins in the harbour.
I think these may be Caspian Terns.
The Wooping Cranes.
The juvenile Whooping Crane.
One of the adults --- the red spot is skin not feathers.
One of the adults.
Ready for take off.
Up, up and away.
Let's go too!
I know there's fish down there. (Crested Caracara)
Crested Caracara --- he has a fish in his tallons and he didn't want us to take it.
A Little Blue Heron
An American Oystercatcher.
An American Greater Flamingo.
A Brown Pelican
A White Pelican -- the horn on the beak indicates that it is a breeding adult. The horn falls off at the end of breeding season.
All dressed up and no place to go .... Zaph and Penny.
Monday, March 06, 2006
Another beautiful day in paradise — walk on the beach, fly the kite and just plain enjoy the weather. What a nice way to spend a Sunday.
The highway between Port A and Aransas Pass requires a ferry to cross the main channel. Depending on the time of day and traffic, 2 to 5 ferries are in operation. It has to be the shortest ferry ride I have ever taken — about 2 tenths of a mile. I’ll have to remember to ask someone why they haven’t built a bridge.
Waiting for the ferry
One of the ferries.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Life is great --- what more can you want then the beach and a ball?
Friday, March 03, 2006
Port Aransas is a cute “touristy” town on the north end of Mustang Island — our RV park is 4 miles south of town. There’s a number of restaurants, one grocery store (it’s actually quite a nice store), a liquor store, a couple of seafood stores, several huge gift stores and a kite shop. Yup, we are now the proud owners of a stunt kite — it has two strings that allow you to control the kite as it flies. Ed of course mastered basic flying in a matter of minutes and started working on simple maneuvers — I can keep the kite in the air for at least 3 minutes!
Birding, of course is also popular in Port A (the shortened name for Port Aransas). American Coots, a Great Blue Heron, several species of ducks and a Least Bittern were hanging out at the birding center when we stopped by.
Zaph is still loving the beach — especially when Penny is there. Penny is a 4 year old golden that also loves to play on the beach.
Look no residue!!! This is great deodorant. (Black-bellied Whistling Duck)
Zaph and friends hve an afternoon cookie party. The spaniel is Darby, the other golden is Penny and the Flat Coated Retriever(black) is Pal.
Home Invasion! What's Penny doing in Zaph's trailer?
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
After bidding farewell to Colin and Margaret, as we are heading to different destinations for March, we headed for the Pioneer Beach Resort in Port Aransas. “Beach” being the operative word for Zaph. Port Aransas is north east of Corpus Christi on Mustang Island. This RV park is almost always full which is understandable as it has all the amenities and is one of only a couple of resorts that are on the beach. As on the Boca Chica Beach near Brownsville, you can drive on this beach as well. In fact you can even camp overnight with an RV on parts of this beach as well
A farewell to friends before leaving, Buddy and Zaphod say goodbye for now
Zaphod gives Tilly a farewell kiss
Ginny, Zaphod and Splash have a lawn party
This is more like it!!!!!! Finally a BEACH!!!!!!!!
Port Aransas Harbour, the Texas Treasure, a floating casino leaves for the evening cruise