Keeping September is usually our rainy month, and has not let us down this year in the Coastal Bend. The skies have put on a show of their own. These were snapped with my phone, but you can see the cloud formations are really cool.
When I think of Labor Day weekend I think of…
-School in full swing
-Put away the white sandals
-September rains of South Texas
-Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”
-Our beaches and waterways clear out and quiet down.
What does Labor Day weekend remind you of?
A couple of weeks ago, I was in Port Aransas for a few days for a teacher workshop at University of Texas Marine Science Institute. While there we were learning a bit more about our coast. During a break, another teacher and I went for a stroll next to the Port Aransas Ship Channel. We met a guy with scuba gear on. I asked him if he could see much. He said sure, as long as the boat traffic remains low. Once that happens, sediments get stirred up, and the water gets a little murky.
The next day, a couple of teachers and I bring our snorkeling gear with and vow to go check things out for ourselves either during lunch or after the workshop was over. We snorkeled by the rocks and by the UTMSI pier and found some fun stuff:
After a decent session of snorkeling, the boat traffic picked up and the waves were rocking us toward the rocks. When getting out, I just had to be wary of the sharp barnacles.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised to see what I did. Now, it is not Caribbean snorkeling, but it was still pretty good for our area.
Running. For me, it is a necessary evil. I am not a natural runner, but I run to try to stay somewhat fit, and to try to keep up with my young children. So there are times when I rather not do it, but if I don’t I wished I had.
One way to make running a pleasurable experience is to run outdoors. If you are lucky as I am, it is great to go run at the beach. However, some beaches are better for running than others. While I was in the Caribbean, I got the pleasure to run the beach, but I really had to watch out where I was going since there were occasional rocks, anchors for boats, and uneven spots. I sprained many an ankle, and trust me, it is not fun.
North Padre Island is a pretty good spot for running. For the most part, the sand is usually well packed which helps for a decent run. I say try to go during low tide, so consult the tidal reports on the news or internet. Also, there is usually not a huge slant near the shore which helps if you tend to get hip or knee problems. Just watch out for the occasional hole dug for the mote of a sandcastle or the sandcastle itself, for that matter.
Running at the beach also gives the body more resistance, so you get a better workout. If you are really wanting a challenge, run in the loose sand or in the shallow part of the water. You will feel the burn in your legs.
Speaking of burn, be sure to slather the sunscreen, wear a hat, and sunglasses so you will want to go for it next time.
What I like about running at the beach is that you can run pretty much any time of day, and not feel too hot. If I run mid-day, I will carry a bit of water just in case. I wear Fila “toe shoes” that can get wet, so sometimes I run into the very shallow part of the shore. There I make my own “a/c” with the wind and the sea spray I kick up while running. What is great is that if you dressed in quick dry clothing, you can just jump in to the waves afterward! A great reward for a good run!
So, to make pleasure from a chore, run by the shore!
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!
Happy 4th! North Padre Island National Seashore released more turtle hatchlings this morning, and gave a short educational program at the visitors deck.
To see the newly hatched Kemp’s ridley sea turtles: Kemp’s ridley eggs are just starting to hatch, and the hatching process can take several days. The exact dates of the releases depend on how quickly the eggs hatch, and how the hatchlings become ready for release. It’s all up to the hatchlings. The park usually does not know that they will have a release until the day before.
Public releases are held starting at 6:45 a.m. on the beach in front of the Malaquite Visitor Center at Padre Island National Seashore on North Padre Island. Call the Hatchling Hotline at (361)949-7163 for the latest information on the release oer visit their website at www.nps.gov/pais for the projected release dates. The nesting season could continue for three more weeks.
If you get up early to enjoy the turtle releases, just don’t come back to the national seashore with your fireworks, firecrackers, or sparklers. The park announced that those items are prohibited on park lands and are subject to seizure. If you want to enjoy fireworks, Padre Island is having their own second annual display on the main canal by Three Fathoms Bank. Last year we could see the display all the way from the ‘Bluff, so enjoy the display tonight!! Happy 4th!