Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Times running out.

Queen Isabella Causeway from the Port Isabel Lighthouse.

We spent much of December and the first part of January hanging close to the RV. We leave this Sunday so I'm trying to squeeze in as much as I can.  

I hadn't been down to the beach since before the cold spell. It's always interesting to see how the weather affects the lay of the dunes.

The Port Isabel Lighthouse, located in Port Isabel, TX was completed in 1853 to aid ships traveling through the Brazos Santiago Pass to Point Isabel (one of the earlier names for Port Isabel). During the Civil War it was used by both Confededate and Union Troops as an observation post. By the turn of the century it was abandoned. It became a historic site in 1952, remodeled, and opened to the public. Beautiful views from the top which took 75 steps and a short ladder to reach.

The Keepers Cottage houses a visitors center and information on the lighthouse. 

I don't usually use Google's "stylized," photos but this one captured me.

Just across the causeway on the South Padre side is a small park with a causeway plaque  and a statue honoring the Padre for whom the island was named.

The 2.37 mile causeway spanning the Laguna Madre is the second longest bridge in Texas. It opened in 1974 replacing a bridge with the same name. Prior to the first bridge, built in 1954, a ferry provided the only access to South Padre Island. It is named after Queen Isabella of Castile, a 15th century Spanish Queen. On 1/15/2001  a barge hit the bridge causing 2 spans to collapse, 5 cars to fall into the bay, and killing 8 people, with 3 survivers. Just 4 days after the 9/11 attacks one survivor first thought it was another terrorist attack. During the 2 months of rebuilding a ferry provided the only access to the island.

The first permanent settlement in South Padre Island was in 1804 by Padre Nicolas Balli for whom the island was named.  It had been owned by Spain, Mexico, Texas and finally the United States. 

Following clean-up from housing nearly 1,000 turtles during the cold-stun event last week, Sea Turtle Inc. reopened on Sunday and we visited them Tuesday morning. They have several displays inside ranging from education to protection of turtles.

There are currently 5 permanent residents that for various reasons can't be returned to the sea for various residents.

The Laguna Madre, by the way, is one of only 6 hyper-saline bays in the world. This is important to sea life that migrate to the area to hatch or raise their young. 

"Coral," Beth Fedigan

Staff preparing to feed Hang 10, one of the permanent residents.

Hang 10, a Kemp's Ridley, has a deformed flipper and is partially blind. Her favorite food? Shrimp and crabs

Cowgirl, an Atlantic Green, has stranded 4 times. Each time her blood work and x-rays have come back normal. Her favorite food? Mackerel

Pat is taller than the Atlantic Green but shorter than the Leatherback.

The temporary hospital.

Tuesday afternoon we walked over to the Coastal Studies Lab. They have a museum that is open to the public. 

Large skull of a sperm whale.

Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin

We took a beach stroll back to our site. Early in the morning the fog was thick and there was still some hanging around. 

I'm not sure what this was but there were several washed up on the beach. 

Tried a new recipe Tues., one that was a lot of work. We didn't have enough oatmeal so we only got half a batch. Pat made crispy oatmeal. I added chocolate chips to my half.

The RV got a wash and wax Weds. a.m. to get the corrosive salt off from the sea mist and to protect it for our next two months, also near the ocean. 

We went to Port Isabel (just 10-15 mins. away) for supplies. Not to be left out they too have a few beach stores. Another big one just across the road from this one. On the Island you find AT LEAST one on every block. They do their best to attract customers.  From what I can tell they all have the same stuff and the prices don't vary a lot!

If it's not one thing, it's another! No, it's not the toe I broke or jammed but the opposite knee. I have an appt. with an orthopedist next Tues. in Houston. A lot slower and not very far, but I had a beach walk on this rainy day. 

And look what we found on the boardwalk! We'll take it to Galveston and maybe make someone else's day.
Where are the Piepers now? South Padre Island, TX


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