Friday, February 2, 2018

Winter On South Padre Island TX

Journey Continues to South Padre Island...

Upon discovering that sea turtles came to nest on the shores of South Padre Island, I HAD to come to see for myself! One of my most memorable childhood memories, was having a pet turtle. To see a turtle in its natural habitat, swimming free, is an incredible sight to behold.

Sea Turtle Inc is a non-profit sea turtle sanctuary and rescue organization on SPI. Fully funded by private donations and operated by dedicated volunteers.

Sea Turtle Inc was birthed into reality by
Ila Fox Loetscher in 1977, at the age of 73. Ila came down to Brownsville TX in 1965 to assist with the nesting sites of Kemp's Ridley sea turtles. Originally from Iowa and a contemporary of Amelia Earhart, a fellow female pilot. Ila fell in love with the turtles and made it her life's mission to protect them.

Ila appeared on David Letterman in 1985 with an Atlantic Green named "Gerry". To this day still in the care of the loyal volunteers of Sea Turtle Inc. Sadly, many of the rescued turtles cannot be released back into the wild, due to the serious nature of their injuries.

This little turtle was rescued last month in January. Injured by a boat blade, the cut into his shell created an air pocket. Unable to dive or swim he washed up on the beach. Discovered close to death he was brought in for treatment. A weight was epoxied to his shell, giving the wound time to heal and to help with buoyancy. This little fella is recovering well and will eventually be released.

Heading to South Padre Island Beach

South Padre Island consists of 34 miles of a coastal barrier sand bar. Coming over the Queen Isabella Causeway into SPI, you will find many vacation homes, hotels, convention centers, restaurants and shopping. The dwarf Palm tree lined Padre Blvd, the main street of SPI, turns into 100North. Follow that out of town to the public beach accesses.

As you can see, the sand does blow onto the road. Which gets plowed on a regular basis. Over the sand-dunes, you have Laguna Madre Bay to the left and the Gulf of Mexico to the right.

Yes, you are allowed to drive on the beach, with the proper permit. BUT make sure you know the local tide charts! The day was a little overcast and in the 60's. The water was a beautiful greenish blue and also in the 60's. The beaches are very well maintained. SPI is definitely a great place to winter!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

South Padre Island & Port Isabel TX

Winter In Port Isabel TX


January in Texas, time for a winter
adventure. The mosquitoes are nearly non-existent, any sneakers, the sea breeze moves them along. The drive from Houston to Port Isabel, formally known as Point Isabel, was very scenic. Especially along 77 through Raymondville and Harlingen, loved the Palm tree lined highways. Quite an easy 5 hour drive, maybe six, depending on traffic.

Welcome to Port Isabel! 


Coming over the Queen Isabella Causeway from South Padre Island into Port Isabel. The Point Isabel Lighthouse watches over Laguna Madre Bay. Pirates Landing boasts the longest public pier, accessible 24/7.  If you did not bring fishing poles, not a problem, you can rent fishing gear from the bait shop located on the pier. The Queen Isabella Causeway is approximately 2 miles long, was constructed in 1954. Prior to the causeway, you either took a ferry or a small swinging bridge near the deep port channel and then drove up the coast line. Port Isabel is a very quaint fishing town that attracts many snowbirds (with wings and without). You will also see pods of dolphin along with many migratory birds and sea turtles. Fishing is world renown within the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

Point Isabel Lighthouse

The Point Isabel Lighthouse sits at the bottom of The Queen Isabella Causeway and is no longer a working lighthouse. There is a light but not for the purpose of protecting ships from shore. During the American-Mexican War the land was used as a fort, Fort Polk. The building was converted into a small museum and the lighthouse is accessible to the public only during dry weather.
The Point Isabel Lighthouse is in the center of town. The surrounding area consists of residential and commercial property. Across the street you can enjoy a delicious Italian meal at Marcello's. Or down the street, grab a juicy belly busting burger, from the infamous Burger Shack. Wander next door to a small covered courtyard that holds a local flea market. Never know what treasures you may discover!

Stroll down Maxan St, across from the lighthouse. There you will find inviting gift shops and galleries filled with local artist's wares. Further down the street is Pirates Landing. Where you can dine on fresh seafood overlooking the bay, fish from the pier or take a boat ride. Boat rides consist of pirate adventures, dolphin watching, sunset cruises, or you guessed it-fishing.

Sunrise Over The Bay


Waking up to fishing boats heading out, calm waters with a slight ocean breeze and coffee cup in hand, life is good!