Saturday, January 30, 2010


Red tides occurring months ago, back in 2009, are still effecting those that come to enjoy the Padre Island National seashore. And especially  those that drive any distance down the beach towards the Mansfield or Yarborough cuts.

The red tide killed many saltwater catfish that are more commonly known as hard heads. Their only remains at this late date are their  skulls, or, hard heads, that litter the beach. Those skulls have a number of sharp spines that stick up and will puncture tires quite easily. Our last trip down to the Mansfield cut was highlighted by frequent stops to air up a tire that had less than five thousand miles on it. Several plugs later, ( a patch won’t hold on a side wall ), that very nice looking tire is fit only for use as a spare. You know someone has a very expensive problem when you see a wrecker truck with a new set of tires already mounted and ready to install, disappear down the beach towards the Mansfield cut. Locals carry several cans of fix a flat so they don’t have to call a wrecker.

100_1057Extra gas, shovel, high lift jack, fix a flat, first aid kit, and so on, are essentials. Many miles down the beach  is the shack used by the turtle rescue people.

Normal tides can cover the beach leaving you little to drive on. A check of the tide charts and factoring in the drive time, both down and back,  is an absolute must before going very far down the island.100_1048

Then an unexpected event of Nature can come into play. Some times you can’t factor that in. A wind out of the East, coming through the windward passage between the Yucatan peninsula and Cuba can elevate tide levels to an extent that beach travel becomes impossible. Bring extra clothing and food just incase an unexpected overnight becomes necessary.

More trouble than it’s worth, one might say. However,  we say the rewards far out weigh those other minor considerations !

Getting to those places on our Earth that are just naturally good for your soul, can’t be bought with money, you have to give something of yourself. That nearly always involves a little sweat and a little risk.

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