"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Boats, ships, sailing vessels...

As I said in the previous post, Port Aransas is well known for great fishing, especially redfish. Even Franklin D. Roosevelt came here for Tarpon fishing.
The ship channel is one of only 3 natural passes in Texas and was used by Mexican merchants, smugglers and pirates as a highway from the sea.
With each storm, the pass would shift and choke with sandbars, making it the scene of many shipwrecks. To tame it, the Army Corps of Engineers tried 4 times over 60 years to build jetties and the ones there today were built in the 1930's. Fishermen spend many hours on the south jetty. It is one of my favorite places in Port A and I sit and watch the variety of ships sail by.

My knowledge of ships is minimal but I am fascinated by the detailed riggings and nets of the many kinds of fishing ships I see. There are many pleasure boats and yachts, of course, but I like to watch the working ships most of all.

I happened to be on the beach where the fishing pier separated me from the jetty when this big oil ship came in so part of the ship is obscured. We've seen oil ships from other countries but this one was called Great Eastern so I guess it's American. My nephew Nathan is a second mate in the Merchant Marines. He drives (is that the right word?) a big oil ship all over and has actually been assigned on one that came right through this channel. I wish I could coordinate a visit here at the same time he is coming in. I would love to get to see him.

A fishing boat heading out to sea while a cargo ship comes in. There are many oil rigs and platforms that need to be supplied by these cargo vessels.
Note the land in the background. This is San Jose Island, first inhabited by Karankawa Indians, then by conquering Spaniards and by the 1830's it was a haven for pirates. I just wonder what treasures of silver and gold lie beneath these waters.
Only the fish know where, and they're not talking...

Speaking of pirates, do you know what a pirate paid for his pierced earrings?
answer: A buckaneer!!!!

One of the oil platforms visible from the jetty. During the daylight many offshore oil rigs can be seen like this one. The shape next to it is a large oil ship probably filling up.
One morning we arrived early on the beach while it was yet dark as we wanted to watch the sunrise. We were surprised to see the dark horizon all lit up like a city on the distant shore. All the lights were from the oil wells just a few miles out at sea.

I wanted to get a picture of the pilot boat for I find that an interesting career. Nathan tells me it is also a lucrative career. Didn't happen to see one come through while sitting on the rocks, but we did see this boat. I never heard of a tractor tug before, have you?
Wonder what a tractor tug does---can't very well plow a field, can it?
A working channel like this one is a busy waterway with a whole world of distinct styles of boats designed for unique tasks. The US Coast Guard has been actively protecting boaters and shipping ever since 1878 in Port Aransas and its boats, planes and helicopters are always evident to keep things safe and legal. That's probably why St Joe's Island is now free of the pirate bandits--- Arrrrr, matey!

No comments:

Post a Comment