Sunday, April 28, 2013

Today was a bit of a bust.

Sunday, April 28, 2013
South Padre Island, TX
KOA Campground
68* at noonish

Awww, today wasn't nearly as good as I'd hoped it would be.  We had a "Sea Life Adventure" planned which was supposed to show us birds, dolphins, and other sea life as found.  It was a 2 hour cruise/tour, and we did get our 2 hours and we did see one or two dolphins.  AND, fortunately, we had an enclosed cabin on our particular boat because about 20 minutes into the cruise we needed it.

We took off into the bay (Laguna Madre) at 2 p.m.  We had called in advance to be sure we were still going to have the tour because it was totally overcast and it had started to rain and was just plain nasty.  Yep, they were still a go.  So we went down at 2 p.m. and boarded the boat with a youngish family.  Mom, Dad, 2 teen girls and a boy, probably around 11.  That's it.  We were surprised with that small of a group and the weather that they didn't cancel and give us a rain check, but they didn't.

Our boat was called the Osprey.

So we left the dock, leaving this behind:  a young brown pelican.  This is what the adults look like, they develop white around their heads/faces:

We started out and our guide told us about the boat and safety precautions etc.  He told us they drag a shrimp type trawling net to bring up a tank full of critters for us to see and it would be potluck what they "caught".  At the end of the tour, they released what they caught back into the bay/Lagoon/Bayou, he used the 3 words interchangably.  We found out that although the deepest part of the bay's channel is 55 ft but most of the rest of the bay ranged from 1 ft to 35 ft with most of it being shallow enough to walk knee deep.

However, there are continuously shifting sand bars which makes it deceptive.  Here is the deep tank they put the "catch" in and a shallower pan they dip out items of interest to show the passengers.

Here they are dropping the trawling net and we are watching for dolphins and watching a squall approach.
He showed us the catch from the morning, which included a cuttlefish, a small sponge, a sea urchin, and a rather large nasty crab, as well as some fish.

They started pulling in the catch, but it was too windy and the water had gotten too rough, so the captain had to stop the boat and help with a winch from the top of the boat to get the net pulled in.  By this time, the rain had also started VERY hard and they had us go into the enclosed part of the boat and brought the smaller shallow pan into the cabin to show us.

The pictures aren't great.  Although Mr. C and I had had the foresight to not only change into long sleeves and long pants (when it was obvious it was going to cool off and storm) but we also wore wind breakers and are we ever glad we did. But I had the new camera set up for sunlight pictures and had it set like my old camera and it needs to be set differently, but live and learn. . . This is what the "squall" that blew up looked like.  We were within easy sight of land, but you couldn't see the land, could barely see the bridge or anything.

The rain was pelting down , the waves were rolling, the wind had picked up with 45-50 mph gusts, and it was really cold once we got wet.  The two helpers only had on jeans and short sleeved shirts and were soaked.  The other family had on summer clothes, entirely and were freezing.  I felt badly for them.  Mr. C and I both had totally soaked pants/jeans, but the windbreakers had kept us pretty dry on top and I even had my hood up.

So, we managed to see the stuff they brought up from the trawling net.

A sea urchin which I got to hold.

A large cuttlefish

A small cuttlefish

A giant sea slug (Spanish Dancer, I think he said)  It was slimy and squishy.

A flounder
A fish I can't remember.  
A spider crab
And a pretty large, very nasty, but very pretty crab, doesn't she have pretty colors?  He explained the reason for her crabbiness (pardon the pun),

which was the huge mass of eggs she was carrying and will release on the next full moon.  Apparently she just missed this one and he says there are probably 6000 eggs there.  WOW.  
So, most of our trip was inside the cabin of the boat and the weather was awful and we couldn't see much at all, but finally towards the last 20 minutes of the trip, a dolphin or two decided to make a couple trips to the surface, would surface a split second and then disappear again, so there was no way to get any pictures, you couldn't focus the camera and take the pictures fast enough :-(

So I guess we got our money's worth, but I still feel cheated, somehow.  I'm greedy, I wanted a nice trip and good pictures, and really hoped to get some wading bird information and pictures.  Oh well, we have a trip planned to the birding area and hopefully can get some good sights and pictures there in a day or two.  Depends on the weather, though, as it's supposed to be rainy all week.  I can't really complain, Texas needs the rain as badly as IL did for awhile, but I can wish it had gotten its rain either before we got here or after we left.

We did go take a short drive towards the North-North/East end of South Padre Island (looking for the birding area and the sea turtle sanctuary) and saw some interesting sights:  Huge sand dunes, on BOTH sides of the road and signs that said, Watch for sand drifts on road, and there were some, guess they must need to "plow sand" occasionally, rather than snow, LOL.

We also took a very short walk on the beach (it was cold, and I'm having some problems with extreme Vertigo and it's worse when I'm not on flat even terrain, so walking in shifting sand is hard).  We saw tons of sea weed thrown up by the storm Man of Wars and other types of Jelly Fish.  Too bad they're "bad guys" because I find them strangely pretty.

So, that's it for today, I hope you enjoyed the little bit we were able to see and get pictures of, and that you will follow along as we continue the Adventure of Chasin' our Rainbows. Smiles, Sue C

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry your day wasn't great, but you are getting to have some new experiences. And the dolphins are trying to get too you. Sounds like the jelly fish think you would be good friends also....LOL! ILY, wishing you better weather.