Wednesday, April 2, 2014

4/1 Long Beach Walk on Mustang Island

It was a nice day, so after watching my favorite Antiques Roadshow on TV, I headed out for a  long beach walk.  Had to pass the crews in the parking area.  They are using this as a staging area to clean up the oil from the spill in Galveston Harbor more than a week ago.  I was told that this group is responsible for all of Mustang Island and Padre Island, a total of 70-80 miles of beach. 

Our beach has been cleaned, except for the very small droplets. Most of the oil came in attached to chunks of seaweed, so they just scooped it up and whatever other large chunks of oil there were. Both islands have been initially cleaned, but they are patrolling (hence the carts) and responding to reports of more oil coming in. Most of the beach, especially on Padre Island, is only accessible via 4x4s or beach carts, but the sand is very hard and mostly drivable. Frankly, I had trouble finding even very tiny bits of oil today and the birds still look fine on my very long beach walk today.

They have generators and lighting, and I notice that they have been working at night.  Not sure what they are doing then.  Maybe I will take a walk tonight and check it out.  The tent and trailer on the left seem to be headquarters.

Very pleasant day use area, but not very busy on a spring weekday when everyone is working or in school.  I am told this is very busy during the summer.

It is a very nice beach, with no homes nearby because of it being state park land.  Actually, very little land on either Mustang Island or Padre Island is private and almost none of that on the Gulf side.  Almost all is either state or federal preserve land, which means there are lots of birds.

There were Portuguese Man-o-War jellies about every 10-20 feet on the beach, so you have to be careful where you walk.  Can't imagine how many must be in the water close to shore, which is one reason I NEVER swim in the sea or ocean! 

A squadron of pelicans.  I love the way they fly together.  Interesting to watch how they stay in formation to catch the air currents of the birds ahead of them. 

A very handsome great blue heron looking for something to eat in the surf.

And here he is again, sitting on some rocks on a break wall of large rocks.

Looking back towards the state park through the haze. 

As I walked back, the tide was going out, so the beach was wide and flat. 
Best estimate is that I walked two miles--one out and one back.  Whew.   As I was walking, however, I kept thinking what a beautiful place it was and how lucky I was to be here walking on a beach,  instead of sitting in an office or in my old condo.  This is truly the good life!  

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