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PINS 1/18-1/19

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Towboat Trash
Member White Shrimper Boot Club

Joined: 25 May 2009
Posts: 615
Location: somewhere on 130 miles of beach

PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:02 pm    Post subject: PINS 1/18-1/19 Reply with quote

"Oh, yes, years ago. Yes, I've fished in The Hole. But in the late 20's, the early 30's, there was no way to transport the fish out--chickens walked over that way. That algae on this side all around the hole is a mix of Facia type algae, what they call a mixture Facia. And the dam* stuff is a labyrinth, you know--the water flows over it and back. You step on it--if you put all your weight on it, you could go through it. But you could start, when you hit it, just like you were skating. And I'm down in the Hole and I picked out six or seven big trout that weighted 10 or 15 pounds and I was starting back with them. I'd get--oh he**, maybe half a mile and I'd thrown one down, and before I got back to where I'd come from, I wouldn't have but one.

We couldn't get them out. We didn't have the transportation to get them out....You couldn't walk in it barefoot because there were so dam* many bones from fish that had died--you know, got trapped there. It was solid. OH yes, I know that--we called it the Graveyard. Now they just call it The Hole on the map. No, we called it the Graveyard...They'd get in there, the tide would come up across the flats and they'd go over and they'd drop in there. And then Southeast winds would come up in June, July, and they'd get hot, the southeast winds--over there on Porter Island and they couldn't get across there. And they were trapped then, and it gets so salty--and no food....I've laid awake at night down there trying to figure some way to get them out. You'd see $20,000 back there but you couldn't get it."

--August 11, 1978 Oral interviews with Louis Rawalt, WWI veteran and the "Sage of Padre Island," about the algal mats and the area known then as "The Graveyard."

"In erecting the signal at "Avoca" it was too boggy for horses and I had to carry the signal lumber, tools, water, provisions, etc for about seven miles over this soft boggy slush sometimes half knee deep. After one or two days like this I am obliged to let my men rest. This makes my work progress slowly but I hope finally to get through.

--Official correspondence from R.E. Halter with the U.S.Coast and Geodetic Survey to the Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey in Washingon, D.C. July 10, 1878.

Sometimes I can't believe those days are gone
Most of my friends back then have moved along...
Me, I'm just the same lost in a crowd
Looking for the rain in a thunder cloud...
One thing I have found there are just two ways to go
It all comes down to living fast or dying slow.

--Robert Earl Keen, Dreadful Selfish Crime, Gringo Honeymoon album, 1994

Well, well. There's nothing like getting a call you've been waiting for! When a renowned geologist from the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology called for an overnight scouting trip, I couldn't have been more excited! Nerd adventure!!!! My job would be to lead him into various places on Island, the best places to walk in, the shortest ways to walk out, assist in camping and above all act as guide to get into and out of areas efficiently and safely. Off we went on charter to search for adventure, mystery, strange ellusive carbonate deposits, and bicycle chub rub!!! Very Happy

And my friend had quite the awesome texting device! Works via satellites for only 20 bucks a month! Pretty cool!

Suit up and roll out!

And me? I grabbed a bag of breakfast tacos, one glove, and my old trust Garmin and we were off!

First stop! The scouting for possible algal mat deposits was ON!

And my friend found some cool stuff!


And there we were! Scouting for possible Oolite presence!

Off we go!

The distances were quite overwhelming, as always.

Algal mat cracking!

And my friend thought this was so cool as did I. These cold stunned green turtles feed so many critters on Padre when the temps are cold enough to make finding food hard. And i was so happy to know that something had a good meal. I find these a lot, and I can't help but think of how many go without when hundreds and hundreds of turtles are "rescued," thus thwarting nature's attemts at balance in the ecosystem.

And I wondered what those little brown dots were...

And the scouting continued.

Crusting of the algal mat. Cool!

The algal mat is formed via blue-green algae....and beyond that, I'd be putting my foot in my mouth, but inundation followed by drying out in hypersaline environments allows it to form. Translation? You might not find this just anywhere!

Break out the microscope!!

And while my friend studies his environment and the mat composition, I found old oil road markers from who knows when. I find them like this in other areas, some standing and some not, and I never have known just what they are telling us...

After a while, on to the next location!

And I found another Intracoastal buoy washed in.

And checked out the cabins just to the north of Baffin Bay. What a PALACE! Beach folk don't get one cottonpicking lick of those shrimp n grits! We get a sandy tent kot and chub rub! Lol! Very Happy

And i explored houseboats while my Geologist friend continued scouting.

They were just washed up and broken loose from their original locations, it seemed, everywhere.

And in the distance some poor, destitute, decrepit, broke-down, sorry no account, towboating fool was headed north. Laughing

While I found old coyote skulls.

And in a new location miles away, we came across a beautiful adult Great Egret. Hunkered down behind vegetation next to a pond, he was hiding from the north wind that was still blowing about 25 mph.

Super cool!

And I couldn't understand why old buddy's nest site had feathers everywhere. Was this fella preening? Still don't know....but it was awesome nevertheless. The symbol of the National Audubon Society is this guy-he was almost wiped out by feather hunters at one point.


Breakfast taco time SON!

While my friend scoured Google Earth via a cached Ipad loaded with the latest technology....pretty awesome!!! No cell signal needed!

And my pictures came out horrible, but a huge flock of something or other started flying circles around and around the old St. Augustine Pass, right in front of us!

This area was documented by the Spanish to have been an anchoring site and pass that connected the Gulf to the Laguna Madre.

Boy oh boy these guys were fast!

Just hauling butt!

Miles away and in another location, my friend wandered out into the Laguna while I waited.

The distances are immense...when we finished scouting this area it was off to a new one.

And it was still blowing 25-30 from the North and about 37 degrees!!!! Evil or Very Mad

But that didn't stop my friend from using his periscope underwater contraption.


And I just can't lie, the 14 miles of bicycle riding that morning put me on my arse like a whipped schoolboy. SHAME!!!

This man is a tank and you over here on your dead behind!?

And thankfully, the grasses are starting to grow back after Googans R Us burnt the Island down last month.

And we checked out the old Yarbrough Pass area just because.

You're looking directly to the SE from a position of standing in the middle of the old channel that was dug from the bay to the Gulf.

And I wondered about the potholes that form there. So odd and yet so cool....

What caused this pothole to form? And why?

And I laid down in spider country aka the turtleweed/saltwort to take photos. This stuff is rich in sodium and potassium, THUS in extreme heat if you ever find yourself on the back side without water, you might eat some to restore electrolytes!

And I studied the baygrass all intertwined amongst it.

And it was 1600, and the end to the day if we were to make it off. Discarding the plan to spend the night due to the high winds and lingering 35 degree weather, we would return the next morning.

And return we did!

And I took my friend to some of the ephemeral ponds that are so near and dear to my heart.

And I guess I was a little sore at the folks that burnt all this up via their campfire last month.

But whatcha gonna do.

It's like the Superintendent told me last year, "Colin, you've hit the nail right on the head. That alone is the great conundrum of the National Park Service. The conflict between sharing what you love and what is special, and protecting it all at the same time." He was so right.

And I studied what the last Hurricane brought to our shoes, and what the fire did to it all.

You're looking at an old hurricane washover.

Do you see it now? Hurricane Allen put the whoop on this section of Island and opened her right up like a can opener...

But the ducks live here now, and the egrets, and sometimes, an occasional few lost souls just wandering.

And the water was so high.

A perfect spot for a snowy egret to be.

Out my friend went to check things out.

While I checked out old Gatorade bottles.

And I guess I should have id'd this bush better.....Indigo? I didn't look at the leaves.

And out of nowhere while chatting with my friend....wait just a second!!! The High Corral!!!! What you doing showing your head!!

See the posts in the distance? Pat Dunn's vaqueros built this corral out of beach lumber and didn't have a saw so they never cut the planks originally. It's a special special spot that I haven't been to in a while, but I prayed she wasn't damaged by the Googan fire. And again, I loved how this Island beats us down, rains on us, blows 30mph 36 degree winds in our faces, even allows us to walk around in soaking wet boots all day. She's a wild cantankerous old soul, yes she is.

And all was quiet.

And beautiful, a cold rainy foggy day in January.

And in the distance we were watched.

Miles later and in a totally different spot, we found some serious algal mats.

This would have been what Rawalt and R.E. Halter described.


One of my favorite spots right here, sure is. And with another egret teaching us how to locate fish in his honey hole.

And what a honey hole he had.

And my friend was delighted at such an old and thick mat.

And I was getting a kick out of my Laguna finds.

Show me your feet there Mr. Egret!

But off he went.

With nothing but a memory of his grandeur to mark his prescence.

And with that, we wrapped up the day. Here is a cross section of the algal mat that we studied for two days. You can see the blue-green algae near the surface layer of the cross section.

And we left the Island behind just as we left it, mysterious yet beckoning.

And I'm not gonna lie, there's a time to talk and a time to hush up. And when you're in the presence of someone with a Master's degree that has lived and studied in various countries, knows their stuff, and is focused on it-you hush up! You learn from that person and soak it all in. It was a great couple days. I dunno if our scouting validates anything more, but I do know I learned a lot, and sharing the Island with others who care about the footprint they leave is never a bad thing. And I'll tell ya'll what...I couldn't keep up with old boy even if I tried! Better get on a treadmill soon I'll tell ya that! Sorry no fish, but I suppose I never ever could "get with the program" and only do that...there's just so much more, so many mysteries, so many different things to learn, to know, to do, and to see.
And if that was good enough for Rawalt than it's good enough for me. Ya'll take care.

Protect Padre at all costs for future generations to use and enjoy and never forget our freedoms aren't free.
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Member White Shrimper Boot Club

Joined: 20 Oct 2008
Posts: 868
Location: Arlington, Tx

PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Thanks Colin.....
SailBad the Sinner wrote:
What isn't located behind a What-a-burger in Corpus?
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Member White Shrimper Boot Club

Joined: 05 Feb 2007
Posts: 857
Location: N. Padre Island

PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for sharing your adventures.
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Full Grown Flour Bluffian

Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Posts: 3260
Location: Flour Bluff/Kingsville

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Untold stories abound on The Island. Do appreciate you sharing just a few. You are so right in the fact that The Island holds much more than fish.
Thanks, Colin!
"I do hunt and I do fish and I do not apologize to anyone that I hunt and fish." - Norman Schwarzkopf
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Finger Mullet

Joined: 22 Jan 2016
Posts: 40
Location: Central and south Texas

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another great one, Colin! And thank you.
Hopefully that ugly burn will regenerate into a better growth.
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