Monday, March 31, 2014

3/31 Drive to Padre Island National Seashore

Slept in and then headed down to Padre Island, about 20 miles away.  The two barrier islands, Mustang and Padre, are connected by a bridge, and there are only a few houses and shops in between as so much of this land is protected.  There are no trees on Padre Island, just a lot of low dunes covered with vegetation, as you can see from this photo.

The highway dead ends at the visitor center and beach area.  Past this point, you can drive on the hard beach, but it is not something I would want to do.  The island goes on for about 15 miles or so past this point.  Here are a few photos taken around the visitor center.

This photo of the parking lot as seen from the observation deck, there is a lot of nothing surrounding this area! 

Where it is dry and has blown, the sand is soft and white.

The sand is damp closer to the water, with a lot of seaweed and other stuff that has floated in.

There was an oil spill about 10 days ago in Galveston Harbor, which is about 150 miles away, but there are crews in the area doing clean-up.  If you look very carefully at this photo, you can see some black dots.  (I will make this one bigger so you can see them.)  The dots are as large as a centimeter in diameter and as small as maybe a tenth that size.  You cannot pick them up because they are liquid and sort of melt in your hand. 

Here is a close-up of one of the globules.
So far, the birds look OK, but time will tell.  At least I did not see any obviously oiled birds.  This area is a major bird sanctuary and fly-over place, but a lot of them stick to the ponds and estuary areas, not the coast. 
And here is a nasty Portuguese Man-o-War.  You do not want to step on this guy. 



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