Thursday, January 27, 2011

Winter Texan

Winter Texan: "Mama, it is time for our annual migration to South Padre Island.  Do you think we should upgrade our tow vehicle?
Mama: No.
Winter Texan:  Well Mama, how about us getting a new RV?
Mama: No absolutely NOT.  We have many more years of use from this perfectly good Travel trailer and Suzuki SUV.  Besides that we can spend the night anywhere.  We do not even have to go to a Wal-mart to camp.

The Winter Texans have descended upon South Texas en mass.  They fill our restaurants, stores, campgrounds, beaches, hotels, motels, and churches.  WE LOVE THEM!!  Because of the Winter Texans, we have some of the finest restaurants and other facilities that would not be profitable otherwise.  How ever you get here, just keep on coming down.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Rescue of an Osprey

This morning we planned to attend a seminar on boat maintenance at the Laguna Madre Yacht Club here in Port Isabel.  We arrived just before 10AM and took a seat next to Skip and Nancy Maggard.  Skip tells us that there is an Osprey caught on a sailboat mast just outside the club.  This is what I found when I went outside to see.
I snapped a picture with my Droid cellphone and posted it to Facebook trying to get it to Scarlet Colley.  Luckily I had her phone number and called her to see if she knew anyone who could try to rescue the bird.  She immediately sent out a request for someone to help.  In a short time, George Colley arrived and we started trying to figure a way to help the poor bird.  We could not tell from the ground, but as I zoomed in on the pictures later, I could see that he had one talon caught in a drilled hole in a  plate on top of the mast.
George located a ladder and a another good Samaritan named Ryan arrived.  The rescue begins.  The ladder is not long enough to reach from the deck of the boat to the top of the mast.

 So they moved it to the top of the cabin
Still not tall enough so upon suggestion from Jana Craft, they precariously put the bottom rung on the sailboat boom.  Ryan got about halfway up and I heard him say "I do not think I can do this.".

But with encouragement and urging from the gallery, he climbed up high enough to reach the Osprey.  Of course the Osprey was not really sure he wanted Ryan on that mast with him.

It took several minutes, but Ryan finally freed the bird, minus one talon.
The Osprey was so tired from his ordeal, that he just lay on the ground at first.  When Ryan was safely down from the mast, he gathered the bird up in his arms.  What a wonderful sight to see him down from the mast.  Ryan and George left with him, taking him to the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.  There is a Veterinarian there that has lots of experience with hurt animals.
 A smiling hero and grateful Osprey

The Picassa Web album of the rescue to located here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Port of Brownsville, Texas

Walldog and Jake took a little boat ride yesterday before the front came through.  Actually we were still out before the front arrived, but that is another story.  First we went out to the jetties, as we heard on the marine vhf radio that a tug was bringing in a "dead ship".  That is a term used to signify a decommissioned ship that is headed into the Port of Brownsville to be scrapped out.  The salvage of no longer useful ships is a big business here.

Below is a picture of a neat little tug boat.  The "Free State" evidently does not have AIS.  (The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automated tracking system used on ships and by Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) for identifying and locating Vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships and VTS stations. AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.)  So I do not know anymore information about it.  Note the Dual exhaust pipes that go up behind the pilot house.  Similar to 18 wheeler trucks.  During our boat trips, we like to take pictures of commercial vessels is a site that tracks ships with AIS and accepts our pictures of these vessels for their web site.

After turning around at the end of the Intercoastal....or beginning, we started back toward Port Isabel.  We made a detour into the shrimp basin where many of our shrimpers dock their boats.  Sitting prominently near the entrance is Seahunters Pride.
In need of some TLC.  Even so I am sure she is still someones pride.

Because we spent so much time puttering around sight seeing, we did not get back to Port Isabel before the front came through.  It was a fierce one, mostly dry, but with North winds near 40.  Our little tug just kept us dry and warm even though the waves were splashing over the pilot house.  Jake came inside and took refuge in the vee berth.  We turned into the channel that follows the ICW through Port Isabel and separates Long Island Village from Port Isabel.  The water was much rougher in that channel since the fetch was greater.  Fetch is the distance that the wind has to work on the surface of the water to create waves.  The greater the distance, the greater the wave.  Since we missed the opening of the swing bridge across the ICW and it would be another hour before we could get through to get to our house, we decided to duck into the dock at our friend Jim's house in Long Island Village.  Jim wrote a note about our visit on his blog, you can find it here: Any Port in a Storm.

Walldog, Willie and Jake.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

LMYC Commodore's Ball 2011

The Commodore's Ball for the Laguna Madre Yacht Club was held last night at the Isle Grande on South Padre Island.  Everyone dressed in their finery and enjoyed a great dinner, dancing and fellowship.

Our regular camera lens is broken, but we took a few pictures from our cell phones.

The Hon. Carlos Cascos, Cameron County Judge, was our honored guest and installed the new Flag Officers.

This is probably the only time of the year that you will see most of us dressed in anything but shorts and sandals.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Dinghy

We acquired a new dinghy for the Ranger 27 Tug.  It is the West Marine RU260 made by Zodiac.  We powered it with a 4 stroke 2.5 hp Suzuki.
We named it "Jake's Ferry"

Walldog, Willie and Jake