More Pictures, More People

It has been an interesting few days.  “How so”, you say.  Well spring break started last week and this week is the start of Texas week.  What does that mean?

Well there is a lot of activity in town. If you venture into South Padre Island you will be instantly inundated by the number of golf carts on the roads. There are a number of locations where you can rent these pimped out modes of transportation.  They come with flashing lights around the body as well as the roof and don’t forget the blaring stereo.  If you were behind one of them and beeped your horn, I doubt they would even hear you. And they travel quite slow.  I am not sure how they pass safety inspection. There seems to be some kind of attraction for young people. It’s just unbelievable.

You will also see groups of boys walking on the streets.  It could be a group of 4 or 8.  All dressed in their beach gear, hats, shorts, Ts and flip-flops. Some wearing Mardi Gras beads. They are often carrying cases of beer or coolers. In the later afternoon they will be seen walking north, up the island, towards Clayton’s Beach Bar and Events Center. Clayton’s has a huge open deck overlooking the beach.  This is where the majority of the spring break activity is taking place.

There will also be groups go young ladies, in various stages of undress.  Most are wearing bikini bathing suits.  Some have wraps around their hips and all will be wearing flip-flops. You may have heard the saying “If you got it, flaunt it”. Let me tell you there are a of pedestrians flaunting it when they don’t have it. If you pull me aside, I can tell you a story of a female on the roof of a car.  It is too disturbing to put into words.  All I can say is “Her mother would be so proud”.

With Texas week starting, it’s a whole different ball game.  The beach is packed with families.  All having a great time in the sand and water.  It is a pleasure to see. It is unfortunate that the construction in the park is hampering the parking situation and beach access.  Needless to say there is more traffic in town as well as in the park.  With the influx of people, there is also an increase in law enforcement.  We see them patrolling the park quite often, trying to keep everybody safe.

Well enough with the population increase, I have more photos for you. I hope you aren’t tired of brown pelicans.  I think there are a very interesting and colourful bird. I think you may have already figured out my fascination with them.

I think this is my favourite. “I’ll just relax while you keep busy preening”

With more people on the beach, there is more people in the water.

Who is having more fun, the guy on the board or the fishers on the jetty?

Just showing my kids how Dad can catch a wave.

The sun is out and it’s warm, but you still need a wet suit.

The ride is about to end. Time to get back out.

Here are two videos.  With more people on the island I am sure the Island Adventure Park is seeing more activity.  We were at the end of the road this week and saw the horses on the beach again.  Here they are preparing to cross the road and get back to their stables.

Well that’s it for now. Stay tuned, there may be more updates before we head for the land up north.

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Boats, Boats, Boats

If you have been following with us on our journey, you know there is a fair amount of vessel traffic in the Brownsville shipping channel.  Not only are there large tankers, there are steel shells being pushed/pulled into port to be recycled, but there are also the local charters out of Port Isabel and South Padre Island.  You will see these all day, every day.

I was at the boat launch and saw this pilot-boat come back into Port Isabel. I thought if I hung around for a little while, with the guidance of the pilot, there would be a huge ship sailing past. None appeared so I guess this boat was returning WITH the pilot instead of returning after DROPPING the pilot off.

Not sure what these guys are doing. I don’t see any fishing poles so they can’t be bay fishing. I suspect they are on a dolphin watch.

Coming back from some bay fishing.

There are also some small vessels out on the water. Having fun while the sun s shining.

Pretty sure these folks are out looking for dolphins or they might be going into the port of Brownsville.

And here they are. You can often see the dolphin playing in the bow wave of the ships as they travel the channel. They are also visible right in the bay.

I wonder if these folks were fishing or catching?

This boat is heading out, full speed. Probably looking for dolphins. The guy near the back of the boat, all in black, was trying to open up an umbrella. He had no success.

To The Convention Centre We Go

Returning to the Convention Centre has been one of the things to do this winter. We had been there a couple of times this winter, for Kite Fest and Pickleball demonstrations, but not for the purpose of taking bird pictures. The Convention Center is right beside the South Padre Island Nature and Birding Center. The Birding Center has a network of board walks that extent over the Laguna Madre, so you can get up-close and personal with the local birds.  A little know fact is, the Convention Center also has a boardwalk out over the water.

A few weeks earlier we had visited the Sea Turtle Rescue centre which happens to be beside the Nature and Birding centre.  Before we left, we struck up a conversation with some new island visitors. While talking to them about things to do, I noticed a couple of Roseate Spoonbills out on the water. I needed to get back, closer to the water to see these beautiful birds.

It seems that I have turned on to a birder.  Here are a few pictures from the days adventure.

where ever there is water you will find these Anhinga. They are very similar to the cormorants we have back home. Just have to love those feet hanging over his perch.

Another common water bird is the Great Egret. They are such a beautiful bird.

You can’t look up into the sky or look at a post in the water without spying a Brown Pelican. They are smaller that the Great American Pelicans we have at home and they have much more colour. They are very interesting to watch them soar, turn their head down and pierce the water in a spectacular dive, hoping for lunch.

I think this is a tricoloured heron.

There were a couple of White Ibis around. One of the ways to tell it from a Egret is the slightly curved bill.

A White Ibis

Peek-A-Boo, can you see my beak? The Great Blue Heron is a magnificent bird. If you are lucky you may even spot them around the river in Saskatoon.

Coming in for a landing.

A little bit of a stretch.

A little bit of a scratch.

All good. I am out of here y’all.

Roseate Spoonbill hanging out in the trees. There were three spoonbills and a Snowy Egret hanging out here. Sadly, no pictures of the Egret.

A young couple.

A more mature couple. These two stayed together most of the time I was watching.

Flap Flap.

Hey Babe, like what you see? Actually she may have already decided. I think these two may have a nest around the corner, out of sight.

It was a great day out behind the Convention Center.  I just wish I could have gotten closer to the wildlife.

 

 

Sunday Funday

It’s time to have a look at the pictures that are hiding on my camera.  We haven’t been out on any adventures lately so I don’t have a story to tell.  However, I do have a few random pictures on my camera card that are interesting all by themselves.  So below are some random shots and their story.

The other day we were sitting out on our patio. This is the view of the Brownsville Ship channel. On a clear day you can see across to the other side.

The other day we were sitting out on our patio. This is the view of the Brownsville Ship channel. On a foggy day you can see almost, nothing. This photo was taken only a few minutes after the previous one.

The other day we were sitting out on our patio. This is the view of the Brownsville Ship channel. On a foggy day you might see a ghost ship. These ships don’t travel very fast and are preceded by a loud and long fog horn blast.

We went to Kic’s Ice cream shop the other day. We sat out on their patio and enjoyed out treats. This little guy was tied up to the downspout. There was other artwork on the adjoining walls.

When we come back into the park we often head over tot he boat launch and see what’s happening. This day we were lucky to see the Emma Oldendorff heading off to Brownsville. Not sure what she is carrying.

The Brown Pelican can be found wherever there is water. It is amazing how they can soar just above the surf or the guard rail on the causeway. It is interesting to see them on the hunt for food. You will see them soaring above the water, their heads will look down and the next thing you see is their body piercing the water like an arrow.

Just outside the park gates and adjacent to the park is a small church. Under their sign is a huge prickly pear cactus. This picture was taken at the end of January. On one of our bike rides at the end of February, the red orbs on top of the petals looks the same. After a little research I found out these red things aren’t flowers but the edible fruit of the plant. Go figure.

Patriotism is evident all over the park. From spinners, Star and Strips and Veteran flags. When it is not to windy our Canadian flag and Canadian windsock is flying proudly above our RV.

There are many dogs in the park. It seems that the majority of people who are retired and RV have a pet dog or two. It seems everyone enjoys the beach.

We are staying on South Padre Island, at the south end of the island. If we went any further south, you would end up in the Brownsville ship channel. However you can travel north through the town of South Padre Island until you get here. From this spot you can easily walk over the sand to the gulf on your right or you can walk up the dunes on the left to see the bay.

My neighbour Amber at “A Dog Gone Wedding”. Spoiler alert, she won “Best Dressed”.  You can see her costume in a previous post.

Ruby was also at the wedding.

The ships that travel through the channel really move. If you are not watching at the right time you miss out. It takes less than 2 minutes for a ship to pass by your location. If you look close you will see this tug boat is pulling something.

Here is what that tug was towing. Notice there is another tug boat at the stern which was probably used for steering as I believe this ship was towed from Norfolk VA. A little research on the hull number brings you to the USS Simon Lake, a submarine tender. It is now in Brownsville being cut up and recycled.

Our neighbour Max, just hangin’ out.

Our neighbour Ruby wondering what Max is doing. They are such good friends.

And of course, we have the beautiful sunsets.

We are here until the end of March and then will probably hang around the south part of Texas for a couple more weeks before we head home. Hopefully by then the weather back home will have warmed up and spring will be around the corner.

Till then, have fun, play safe and enjoy life.

Pets

We have seen a lot while here in Texas.  I think it is safe to say that over 70% of RVers have a pet with them.  Most companions are small dogs, but we have known people travelling with cats and one even kept a snake in their motor home. Keep in mind that most of the people we see and get to know, are retired.

These 4 legged companions appear to take on the roll of a small child for these seniors.  Not only can you see them out for their walk, you can also see these small dogs in strollers being pushed down the street.  They can also be found on baskets attached to bicycle handlebars or in trailers that are being pulled behind. When it is a little chilly, you will see them in all sorts of coats and sweaters. One day in Port Isabel while it was raining, we spied a small dog wearing a yellow raincoat, with matching hat.  We though we had seen it all until, a few days later we saw another dog wearing a plaid coat.  What was special is the coat also came with pants, not just for the front legs, but also for the back two as well

Yes, these fur babies play an important role in the lives of many.  This was evident today at the annual Dog Gone Wedding. This is an annual event at a local establishment in support of The Friends of Animal Rescue, a local animal shelter on the island. We had missed their Puppy Bingo on valentine’s day so we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss this event. There were more dogs than last year.  There was a trick competition where owners got to demonstrate their ability to make their pet do tricks. There was also the best dressed male and best dressed female competition.  Prizes were given in all three categories.

Here are some of the contestants.

After The Storm

Well, there wasn’t really a storm.  We just have had some bad weather lately. Actually the weather has not been that good all winter. A fisherman I talked to on the beach today, yes it was nice enough to get out on the beach, told me that mother nature had been good to us this winter.  When I looked at him quizzically he explained, we get 2 days of sun and then 7 days of wind and rain, no chance of getting sun burned. True, that is how it has been all winter.

So it was nice outside this morning so I went for a walk on the beach. A cold front had just moved through and we were getting sunshine. The first thing I notice was the amount of vegetation that had washed up on the beach.  That, and the sheer number of Portuguese Man-O-War on the beach.  There must have been thousands.  You might think that I’m exaggerating but I stood and counted over 100 around me.  This concentration of creatures was visible throughout out the 2 Kms I walked.

While I was walking I notice two Cameron County Park trucks on the beach. I stopped and talked to one of the workers.  He told me that people were complaining about the Man-O-Wars and they were out picking them up. I think they could be at it for a week and you wouldn’t notice much of a difference, I had to giggle to myself.

Another Bucket Full

There were other creatures washed up as well.

You never really know what to expect when you walk the beach. There are all sorts of things that the gulf gives up to the sand.

These fellows were still alive, waiting for high tide to take them back out to sea

The sun and warm weather also brought out the fishers

The swimmers

The Kayakers

And The Surfers

There were the usual water fowl.

I also came across some creativity on the beach. These looked quite new and I suspect they were probably constructed in the morning.

When ever we are out and about, downtown, at a restaurant or getting groceries, I always look at the vehicle licence plates.  As you would suspect most of the plates are from the United States.  You will sometimes see vehicles from Mexico and every once in a while a Canadian plate will pop up.  We have some Ontario friends here.  The fellow cross the street from us is also from Ontario.  There are also a couple of Quebec vehicles here in the park. We have also seen a few Manitoba plates in Port Isabel.  But on the way back to the RV today, this is what I saw.

I guess we are not that far from home (no that’s not my truck).

Look What I Found

I haven’t been out taking pictures in quite a while.  Earlier this week, I pulled out my camera and charged the battery in preparation for our cruise into the port of Brownsville.  When I had a look at the cruise pictures, I discovered pictures I had totally forgotten about.

Even when the gulf is angry and the weather isn’t that great, there will be kite boarders out enjoying the wind and surf. This fellow looks to be checking out his kite to ensure it is the right size for the wind.

It doesn’t matter what the weather is like, you always need to walk the dog. Here, Charlie and Amber out for a stroll. Amber is enjoying the sand and Charlie, an avid kite boarder, is wondering why he isn’t out on the water.

Even though there wasn’t much activity on the beach, safety first. This is the first time I have seen this vehicle on the beach.

These big guys are all over the place. There are signs on the causeway to watch out for them as they glide just over the guard rail, close to the traffic. You don’t often see them on the ground, but often see them roosting on posts or signs in the water.

Or you will see them majestically soaring in the wind. When you see them over the water, their heads will dip down, and the next thing you know they are diving for lunch.

Even though we haven’t had great weather the last few weeks, spring has to be just around the corner. These yuccas are at the end of our street and are in full bloom.

It was fun finding these pictures that were taken weeks ago.  I will post more as they get captured but right now, my memory card is empty.

For those of you that are anywhere north of us, Stay Warm.