March 12, 2011

3/11/11 – Padre Island NS

I went to Padre Island with my family when I was 10 or 11. We picked up hundreds of little tiny shells there. 

Now it's considered a National Seashore. Maybe it's the season, but there aren't so many shells now.

To get to Padre Island, we crossed the bridge from Aransas Pass, then took a little tiny (free!) ferry to Port Aransas and then drove down to Mustang Island, and finally Padre Island. Padre Island is the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world. The road ends just south of the Visitor Center, but you can drive the next 55 miles on the beach if you have a 4WD. Sometimes I wish we did...
We stopped at the Malaquite (pronounced "mal-a-keet") Visitor Center. There's a big pavilion with picnic tables, observations decks and a long ramp down to the beach. After signing in and getting the stamp in the passport book, we had lunch and walked around, waiting for 1:00 and the ranger's "Deck Talk". She brought out a big "touch table" with different kinds of things that had been found on the beaches there. There were lots of shells, of course, and "seabeans", seeds from plants all over the world that wash up on the beach—everything from pecans and coconuts to sea hearts and hamburger beans. (We found some green things when we were beachcombing later that the ranger told me were mangrove pods.)

Saw a lot of brown pelicans, migrating north from Mexico. (For some stupid reason I called them "penguins" once, then couldn't get it out of my mouth right! It's just a "P" bird name, I guess, but George has been teasing me.)  I've got a lot of pictures of blue sky with just a trail of birds across it.

We're too early for the sea turtles which come there to lay eggs. Volunteers find the nests, and take the eggs to incubators to protect them. When the baby turtles are born, they have releases and invite the public to come watch. That would be cool!

There weren't very many shells on the beach—maybe it's the season--but we did see a couple Portuguese man o'war, which is not a jellyfish but stings like one. They're actually kind of pretty, purple & blue. I'll bet a lot of little kids are attracted to the color, try to pick them up and get hurt.

We walked down the beach to where there were a lot of RV's dry camped on the shore. There was even someone with a horse trailer—riding horses on the beach would be cool.

On the way back home, we noted again that there are lots and lots and lots and LOTS of RV parks all around in Corpus Christi, Rockport, Aransas Pass & Port Aransas. I told George "Senior RV Parks" must be a moot point around here! The locals call the RVers "winter Texans". There are a lot of people from Canada around our park--mostly from Ontario which is due north. They seem to be rather clique-ish and not very friendly, unlike almost everyone else we've met on this trip. Weird.

Sorry--I'm having trouble uploading pictures to the blog--if you want to see more, go here:  Padre Island NS

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