Preparing to leave Port Isabel

The time has come. It is time for us to prepare to move on from our winter home. The weather is beautiful and we would like to spend more time here but we need to be in Grand Junction near the first of May and we want to take a detour to Flagstaff to see our newest grandchild. Oh, and her parents too.

As the weather has turned to spring we have been out more lately. The yucca are in bloom and we took a drive last week to get some pictures. The blooms are a delicacy in Mexico. You strip off the stamens, the little rodlike structures, and eat them plain. They have a sweet delicate taste that reminds me of honey.

Close up of yucca bloom.

Close up of yucca bloom.

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Tall yucca plants on the golf course

Tall yucca plants on the golf course

There are yucca all over the Port Isabel, Brownsville area. Some are only a few feet tall and others are at least twenty feet tall. They bloom each year for about a month before the blooms fade and fall. All the other cacti is also starting to bud out and will be blooming shortly.

We finally got to go on a Dolphin Tour. That is Linda’s favorite pastime down here but the weather has not cooperated and so we had not been all winter.

Sand sculpture of a dolphin

Sand sculpture of a dolphin

Pelican on end of pier

Pelican on end of pier

Bottlenose dolphins playing

Bottlenose dolphins playing

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Dolphins near shore.  Our village is in the background.

Dolphins near shore. Our village is in the background.

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Rocks piled along the Jetty.

Rocks piled along the Jetty.

The Army Corps of Engineers is busy rebuilding the Jetties that were built to protect the ship channel from the Gulf into the Inter-coastal waters from silting in by the actions of the waves. Over the years they have worn down, some of the rocks have washed away and the concrete has deteriorated. These rocks were cut from a formation near Marbles Falls, TX and moved down here to be set in place. They are bout Three by Four by eight feet in size.

We saw several pods of dolphins this trip. Not as many as we have in past years. It seems the dolphins are either fewer in number or more elusive than in past years. Some boats tend to harass the dolphins and some of the folks on jet skis also get too close to them. Just as we were headed out of the Jetties into the Gulf the Department of Homeland Security came charging by us. They have several boats down here. These tow had four 225hp or 250hp outboard engines and fiberglass hulls. Their others are hard hulled inflatables with similar engine configurations. I keep saying I am going to visit their headquarters and see if I can fanagle a ride.

Homeland Security passing close aboard.

Homeland Security passing close aboard.

DHS almost airborne

DHS almost airborne

DHS charging through a wave.

DHS charging through a wave.

DHS looking for dropped contraband just outside the Jetties in the Gulf of Mexico.

DHS looking for dropped contraband just outside the Jetties in the Gulf of Mexico.

Once out in the Gulf they slowed and stopped about a thousand yards off shore as if they were looking for dumped contraband. Drug smugglers will often dump their loads if chased or if they think they cannot get into port with the drugs. Every so often we hear reports that bundles of drugs wash up on the beaches here. DHS apparently did not find what they were looking for this time as they were not out long and we did not see them pull anything onboard.

The local TV stations are always reporting on drug seizures at the international bridges and along the border from Brownsville to Falcon Lake. Each week there are reports of several thousand pounds of marijuana and hundreds of pounds of cocaine or methenphetimines. Where we live there is almost no smuggling activity because we are in an area that is hard to reach from Mexico and is out of the way. We have never seen any drug interdiction work while we have been in south Texas but it happens all the time. Guess we stay in the right places.

As we are passing through the swing bridge leading to our island we meet a barge coming the other way.

As we are passing through the swing bridge leading to our island we meet a barge coming the other way.

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Sunset over the causeway to South Padre Island

Sunset over the causeway to South Padre Island

Sunset over the Laguna Madre, looking back toward Port Isabel

Sunset over the Laguna Madre, looking back toward Port Isabel

On the way through our Swing Bridge, a barge that we drive over and can swing out of the way to allow shipping through, we encountered a barge coming down from the Corpus Christi area. The channel is pretty narrow here although there is enough room for passing. Barges come to the Port of Brownsville to pick up loads of fuel, oil, grain and scrap iron for transport up the coast. This barge is probably going to take on scrap iron from one of three ship salvage yards in the area. They have not started cutting up the USS Forrestal yet but are making preparations. When we return next fall they will be well underway with her dismantling.

Sunsets over the water are always fun to photograph. It was a nice cruise. We met some college girls from Colorado State University and a couple from Boulder on the cruise.

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