Tuesday, March 25, 2014

3/25 Galveston Beach #2

The weather was much better today, so I decided to do some sightseeing.  As you may have seen in the news, there was another oil spill in Houston/Galveston Harbor after one oil tanker hit an oil barge mid-ship and caused a rupture in the tanks on Saturday.  Since then, the harbor has been closed.  They did let one big cruise ship come in on Sunday, but no other ships have been allowed in or out while they clean up.  I counted 14 big ships in the Gulf today waiting to come in, but I am sure there were more than I could see.  Can you see them lined up on the horizon in this photo?

Ah, some actual sunshine started breaking through!  It was a little warmer, also.  This is Pleasure Pier, but it is closed except on weekends, so I could not get any cotton candy.  Darn.  Actually, I am not sure they even had any.

Galveston is really an island, connected by a long causeway.  The opening to the Port of Galveston and the Port of Houston is five or six miles from this pier, down on the northeastern point of the island.  There is a park there, but the cleanup crews have it closed to the public--for their safety, they say, so I could not drive down there.

While the ports are extremely industrial with lots of refineries and oil tankers, the island itself is very much a seaside resort town.  You would not know that all that is just  a few miles away.  Here is a photo looking down the beach to the west, from the pier.

The island is very pretty in most places.  Nearly all the seaside houses are brand new, mostly because the old ones were swept away by Hurricane Ike.  Also, they are all up on stilts, with only parking and storage underneath.  Most are painted in very pretty pastel colors.  These are not too far from the state park where I am staying.  (The state park is about 15 miles from the harbor, so I have not seen any oil at all on the beach, either in the built-up area near the piers or in the park.)

 I picked up a Jimmy John sandwich and a hand-packed pint of my favorite Ben & Jerry's mint chocolate chunk, so I am in good shape for dinner tonight!

Just before sunset, I decided to take a beach walk.  Love how the sun lights up the houses in the distance.

I think this is a willet.

And I know for sure this is a laughing gull.  You can tell it by its coloring and the tiny bit of white around its eye.

I think this is a sanderling.  A good time to see shorebirds is right at low tide, which is when I always like to walk on the beach. 
One thing I have already learned about the sand here:  it sticks to your shoes like crazy.  You cannot just bang your shoes together and have it fall off.  The first day I walked out to the beach, I wore my good sandals and had to wash them off when I got back.  Then I had to wash my feet in my shower to get the sand off of them!  Today, I wore my Croc sandals and stopped in the park shower room to stick my feet under the shower.  Course I got my jacket wet turning the shower on, but at least that didn't have any sand on it!  

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