I had the opportunity to see and savor the Gulf of Mexico twice today. After saturating my senses with SPI’s Birding Station and Wildlife Sanctuary, I headed across the road to the city’s Andy Bowie Beach Park. The basics are all here- rolling dunes, vegetative windbreak, a roiling surf and strong undertow- but with a shallow sea level, as far as five miles out. This gives the surf a sandy, brownish tinge. It doesn’t feel gritty, though. Truth be known, I was glad to be back in the water. It has been 21 years since I was last in the ocean- that was in Korea. I’ve been around it, in SoCal, Massachusetts and New Jersey, but to put on a swimsuit, beach shoes and full-body sunblock- not since 1991.
So, on Thursday afternoon, I went to a swim shop, and got two new swimsuits, and beach shoes. Friday morning (5/25), I was one with the surf, for thirty five or forty minutes. Then, I walked along Bowie Beach for about 1 1/2 miles, just letting the surf do its thing on my feet- perfect. The Gulf is a comfortable 75 degrees.
Here are some things I saw at Bowie Beach.
The dunes here are well covered, a good plan to avoid erosion.
Here’s a casualty of a short attention span.
The tide was slowly coming in.
These condos are a risk for a low-lying, hurricane-prone island, but are better-built than some of their predecessors.
I took this shot of the South Padre Island- Port Isabel Bridge, from Pier 19, at the island’s southern tip.
Here’s Pier 19, where I indulged on more seafood enchiladas.
Across the narrow channel from South Padre’s own southern tip, is Boca Chica. The peninsula is about four miles, north to south, and ends where the Rio Grande empties into the Gulf. Part of me wanted to see this, but when I got there, it was thirty minutes until sunset, and security concerns kept me back.
I still got to see Boca Chica’s rather primitive and captivating beach.
Boca Chica’s dunes are more highly sculpted than those of South Padre.
The surf towards sundown was every bit as feisty as earlier.
I was able to get a shot of the Rio Grande, about three miles shy of its confluence with the Gulf. Across the river is an area once known as Bagdad, Tamaulipas.
A sidelight to the story of this border region is the last battle of the Civil War, fought AFTER Robert E.Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Tejano cotton traders, led by Santos Benavides, defeated a force of Union regulars at Rancho Palmito.
In between the two beaches, I spent two hours in the delightful town of Port Isabel. Its treasures comprise Day 8, Part 3.