Out of the Clear, Blue Yonder

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The beaches begin to clear up this time of year from seaweed.
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The sediments settle down revealing blue water that approaches the shore this time of year.

 

Late July until sometime close to Winter is my favorite time on the beaches of North Padre Island. Why? This time of the year is when the clear, blue water finally comes onshore. Early Spring and Summer, you can see the blue water off shore, but the waves churn up the sediments and the water is murky. Also early Spring brings the mats of seaweed or Sargassum onto the shores of Texas beaches. Late summer the Sargassum seaweed begins to abate to reveal clean beaches.

However, this year we had a long invasion of this golden-brown weed all the way into July here in the Coastal Bend. Yes, it can be downright gross on the beaches for tourists and locals, but sea turtles and fish love it. The floating mats of it offshore provide a mobile habitat for marine life as drifts to shore.

So this is the time to enjoy the pretty blue water on the shores of North Padre Island. The winds tend to let up unless there is a hurricane or tropical system and the seaweed gives us a break from fuzzy beaches of Spring. Just last weekend I spotted a few snorkelers checking out the fish by the rocks of the jetties by the north side of Packery Channel.

So take a little time and enjoy the beach this time of year! I know I will!

 

Christmas: Padre Island Style

The folks on North Padre Island love to have fun and Christmas time is no exception!  Homes were decorated with dazzling lights and luminarias.  Docks and boats were menageries of floating color. Many homes were sporting Island-themed and religious Christmas displays. Not only do they love to have fun, but they also love to share the magic of Christmas with others.

Also this weekend kicks off the 39th annual La Posada Lighted Boat Parade where part-time Islanders and full-time Islanders watched the festivities dockside, ramp-side, and boat-side. This event is usually publicized in advance, so islanders take these days to host parties in their homes or on their decks both on and off the canals. During the two day procession, the boats wind through the canals on North Padre Island on a route, where certain boats stop by homes to pick up unwrapped toys. This parade is put on by the Padre Island Yacht Club and works in cooperation with the US Marines to raise donations for Toys for Tots. This event always raises the most donations every year to ensure a Merry Christmas for kids in need in South Texas.

The tradition of “La Posada” which means to lodge (posar) is rooted in Catholicism  and  according to Wikipedia, “is the reenactment of Mary and Joseph trying to find lodging at the inns before she gives birth to Jesus. The head of the procession will have a candle inside a paper lampshade [luminaria]. At each house, the resident responds by singing a song and Mary and Joseph are finally recognized and allowed to enter. Once the “innkeepers” let them in,  guests come into the home and kneel around the Nativity scene to pray (typically, the Rosary).”La Posadas are usually a nine day event representing the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy. These processions originated in Spain, but have been celebrated in Mexico for over 400 years. They have also been celebrated in Guatamala, Philippines, and the states that border Mexico in the US.

The luminous lights on homes and boats help bring smiles to both young and old as well as help those in need. Also, the good news is that the weather cooperated perfectly with the temperature in the high 50’s F and light winds for the nights of the boat parade. With the weather behaving, this will ensure that this year will be one of the best yet.

This home has Santa surrounded by seagulls with a sign saying, " I told Santa not to feed those birds."
This home has Santa surrounded by seagulls with a sign saying, ” I told Santa not to feed those birds.”
Santa is fishing and wishing a "Merry Christmas, Ya'll."
Santa is fishing and wishing a “Merry Christmas, Ya’ll.”
This home has a very tan Santa piloting a boat on top, Peanuts on bottom, and a nativity canal-side.
This home has a very tan Santa piloting a boat on top, Peanuts on bottom, and a nativity canal-side.
Some random flamingos dressed up for Christmas.
Some random flamingos dressed up for Christmas.
A dock that dazzles.
A dock that dazzles.
A very luminous boat at the La Posada boat parade.
A very luminous boat at the La Posada boat parade.
More lit-up boats at La Posada on Padre Island.
More lit-up boats at La Posada on Padre Island.