G is for Galveston- #AtoZChallenge

G” is for Galveston. It’s the closest city of any size to me. I consider the Houston/Galveston/Freeport area my stomping grounds now a days.

When I first moved to Texas (almost 40 years ago), I used to really enjoy just wandering around. I moved here to go to college, so I had a bunch of friends I met in class to hang out with. We were all in the Ocean Marine Technology program (except a couple of outlier art students). So we all had an interest in boats.

We used to go up to Galveston all the time. For SCUBA class, for RADAR class, to the US Coast Guard office there. We always used to enjoy trying out new bars and restaurants on the way home.

I don’t get around anywhere near as much as I used to. Last time I went up to Galveston was with those 2 old artist friends from school. 🙂 We wanted to check out the art galleries and take a look around the Strand.

We found a couple of really neat artists, had a nice lunch, checked out all the interesting shops on the Strand, and avoided spending a fortune on some of the really cool nautical ‘junk’ I saw (or even more beautiful art- of which I already have a house full of).

Funny, but with all the changes around here, Galveston and especially the Strand still seems pretty much the same as it was when I first saw it.

Happy World Sea Turtle Day! 

Today is World Sea Turtle Day. Somehow I didn’t know anything about that until I got an email early this morning from Earthwatch (thanks).

Maybe if I had known, we could have had a real party here. 😉

I was lucky enough to get a chance to see the Houston Zoo release a bunch of sea turtles on the beach at Galveston a couple of weeks ago. That was so cool to see. It was nice to see that so many people took the time and effort to take care of those turtles and nurse them back to health.

It was also great to see so many regular people turn out to see them released. It was frustrating as hell, trying to get a decent photo, but encouraging that so many people cared enough to make a special effort to be there in person (even with such crappy weather).

We’ve been lucky so far this year in Texas. Updated stats say we’ve found 173 Kemp’s Ridley nests (plus 2 Loggerhead’s). We’ve even found 4 right here locally (3 at Surfside and 1 at Quintana)!

Remember: If you see a sea turtle, tracks or hatchlings on the beach immediately call 1-866-TURTLE-5 (1-866-877-8535).

Source: Happy World Sea Turtle Day! [VIDEO]

They Were Awesome!

In spite of the weather Thursday, there was a damn big crowd on the beach for a weekday afternoon. They were forecasting rain in the morning and scattered showers in the afternoon. I took a chance and drove up there anyway. Must’ve been a common thought. 😉

 DSC07438

Can you see a turtle there? Neither can I. But it was there, behind all those people tracking it down the beach.

The Houston Zoo was going to release a total of 9 rehabilitated sea turtles they had been caring for. Some were Kemp’s Ridleys, 3 were loggerheads. All had been brought to the zoo due to some kind of injury.

It started spitting rain on me less than 10 minutes after I left the house, but since Stewart Beach in Galveston is over an hours drive from my house, I figured I might as well continue.

I made it to the beach and found the location for where they were going to release the sea turtles just in time for the start. Or what was supposed to be the start of the ‘show‘. No turtles, but the rain sure did start.

Surprisingly, hundreds of people still hung out (in the rain) for at least a half hour before the turtle delivery trucks showed up. The turtles were happily riding along in big plastic tanks full of sea water. It was another 15-20 minutes before the 1st turtle made it’s appearance.

Volunteers from the Houston Zoo, NOAA, and the Turtle Patrol were on hand to walk the turtle down the gauntlet of curious bystanders and explain a bit about them. Information sheets, pamphlets and stickers were passed out to the crowd too. Hopefully, this will help people know what to do if they happen to find a turtle or nest. So far this year, they’ve found a total of 159 nests on Texas beaches. They’ve even found 3 right here- 2 at Surfside beach and 1 at Quintana beach. 🙂

It was frustrating to follow the rules and stand behind the fences, waiting for the volunteers to come close enough where we could actually see a turtle through the crowds surrounding them. People were reaching up, out and over- trying to get a good shot. Many people were just allowed to ignore the barricades and follow the turtles from the truck all the way down to the water. Nice for them, but it ruined it for the rest of us. 😦

 

Like the lady beside me yelled, “I didn’t come all the way from Indiana just to see your ass!”. So right!

 

I managed to get a few good shots, The zoo will be putting video and photos on their website too and I expect it even made the news Thursday night. Sorry, but I was just too tired the last couple of days to post this in time for you to turn on the news.

It was really awesome to be able to see this release in person. Happy it was daytime so I could get some decent pictures. I still hope to see a wild one someday. Without the crowds. If you see one, don’t bother it. All of them are endangered. “If you see a sea turtle, tracks or hatchlings on the beach immediately call 1-866-TURTLE-5 (1-866-877-8535)”. 

 

See Sea Turtles on Thursday

I just got this email from the Houston Zoo (I’m a member). They’ve been helping to save sea turtles with other organizations around the world. This Thursday (May 26th), they’re turning some loose on the beach in Galveston. 🙂

If you’re anywhere around the area, it would be a real treat to come out and watch. Here’s the announcement I got…

Watch Sea Turtles Return to Wild 

Thanks to a rewarding partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), nine injured sea turtles have been rehabilitated and are ready to be returned to the wild. The release will take place Thursday, May 26 promptly at 2:00 p.m. at Stewart Beach Park, 201 Seawall Blvd. The public is invited to come out and witness this exciting release.
 I’m going to put it on my calendar and take another drive up to Galveston. That is, IF the weather is better than the last time I was up there! 😉
I went to see the turtles when I was in Nicaragua too, but it was too dark to see much. I hope the weather holds and I can really see them this time.

Maritime Day 2016

I gave you a preview the other day, now on to the real deal. 🙂 Today, May 22, is actually Maritime Day. We even got a “Presidential Proclamation“. 🙂

This years Maritime Day celebration in Galveston (on the 19th) wasn’t as good as last years, if only because of the weather. We didn’t get to sit outside and watch the traffic in the harbor, or get a salute from a tugboat this year, but thank goodness they planned to move it into the cruise ship terminal a couple of days earlier! It was streaming down rain all day long! Thunder and lightning shook the building, drowned out the speakers and split the sky.

But we persevered and had our little memorial with the few hardy souls who managed to make it out before the storm hit in full force.

Galveston’s celebration started off with music by the ‘Singing Stars’ from the Odyssey Academy.

Captain John Peterlin III from the Port of Galveston welcomed everyone to the event and then led into a program explaining the history of the US Merchant Marine and Maritime Day. There was a moment of silence in appreciation of all mariners past and present.

Tammy Lobaugh from Texas A & M Galveston talked a bit about maritime education and a few of the many maritime organizations that contribute to our maritime heritage. Some of them were represented at the event- WISTA, the maritime unions (SIUMEBA, AMO), the seamans centers, maritime museums, ports, etc.

Cristina Galego representing the Port of Galveston read John Masefield’s poem Sea Fever

Sea Fever
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
 
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; 
            And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
 
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
The wreath was laid*
and Father Stelios Sitaras led the benediction before the closing remarks and a reading of Carl Sandburg’s Young Sea.

YOUNG SEA

THE sea is never still.
It pounds on the shore
Restless as a young heart,
Hunting.

The sea speaks
And only the stormy hearts
Know what it says:
It is the face
of a rough mother speaking.

The sea is young.
One storm cleans all the hoar
And loosens the age of it.
I hear it laughing, reckless.

They love the sea,
Men who ride on it
And know they will die
Under the salt of it

Let only the young come,
Says the sea.

Let them kiss my face
And hear me.
I am the last word
And I tell
Where storms and stars come from.

A fitting closing to the memorial on a stormy day.

*due to the terrible weather, they’ll save the wreath and send it out later from the memorial at Pier 21

Preview- Maritime Day

Today was the 7th annual Maritime Day celebration in Galveston.

It was pouring all day long! Galveston is flooded. I tried to take pictures, but it was too dark by the time I got back on the road to go home.

I think the weather hurt the attendance. Will try to find out how many kids showed up for the tours around the Texas A&M ship “General Rudder” this morning.

The memorial was held inside the cruise ship terminal to keep it out of the expected rain. Good thing!

I’ll have more on this tomorrow (IF I can get the computer to work). I’m getting sick of McDonalds and Starbucks coffee is a rip-off!

Maritime Day 2015

Another Memorial Day weekend has passed. I’m not much for holidays. I did go up to Galveston for the National Maritime Day Commemoration Ceremony last week. It’s pretty sad to say it, but I probably would have forgotten it myself if I hadn’t gotten a couple of reminders from friends.

Galveston Coast Guard keepers of the flags

Galveston Coast Guard keepers of the flags

Since I am a merchant marine and have been almost my whole life, I feel like I should at least remember this day and the reason for it. Everyone else celebrates Memorial Day for the ‘armed’ services and forgets about all the Merchant Marine has done for the country (and still does, EVERY DAY).

Galveston had their celebration on Thursday, even though the official day is on May 22.

I was going to try and get there early enough to help man a ‘water table’ for the kids coming up to see all the ships, but it took longer than I expected to take care of my property tax protest in Angleton. I would have liked to take a tour myself, the General Rudder from Texas A&M was dockside, the Elissa was right next door, there were a couple of other ships/boats around and also the Ocean Star oil rig.

By the time I got there, the actual ceremony was about to start. Continue reading

A Word A Week: Arid

I saw this challenge from Sue over at her ‘A Word in Your Ear’ blog. The word of the week is: arid. I don’t have many photos that would fit this weeks word, since I spend most of my time at sea. But I did happen to have a couple on my computer.

I took these last summer, we hadn’t had any rain for a while and everything was drying up. I was on the way back home from Galveston. I always like to drive the beach road, especially when I’m not in a hurry. It’s a nice drive, right along the beach with some pretty scenery and some good places to stop and enjoy the day. 🙂

Brrrrr!

Today is the last day of FRC class.

A cold front came through Galveston yesterday and dropped the temperature at least 20 degrees.

That’s not too bad when you’re sitting in a nice warm room, cuddled up in a blanket. But when you’re out on the water, running around in a tiny little speedboat, it’s a different story.

I had a pretty good time on Monday playing around with the boats. Today we have to go out again and practice search patterns. I’m not looking forward to getting cold and wet today!

I hope it all goes quickly. I’ll try to get some decent pictures to post here later. 🙂

Getting Moody

I’ve only been home a few days so far. I’ve been really busy trying to catch up with everything that’s been needing to get done while I was at work over the last few weeks. Especially my TAXES (UGH)!! 😦

I decided I needed a break. I got free tickets to “SHARKS After Hours” at Moody Gardens. I’m going. 🙂

Moody Gardens is in Galveston and the show is from 7-10 pm. I know I’m not going to feel like driving all the way home at that hour, so I got a hotel for the night. I figure I can hang out for a while before I head home and then stop and see my friends at Surfside on the way home.

I hope to get some more decent pictures while I’m up there, (these are from last time I went).

Moody Gardens has a bunch of cool stuff to see. They have a ‘rain forest pyramid’, an ‘aquarium pyramid’, another one that has special exhibits (last time I went it was about pirates), a water park with nice white sandy beach, zip lines, a paddle boat, etc.

I don’t have any kids but apparently it’s a great place to take them. I always see lots of families. They all look like they’re having a good time. 🙂

green sea anemone

green sea anemone

underbelly of a sea star

underbelly of a sea star

sea dragon

sea dragon

pot bellied sea horse

pot bellied sea horse

puffer fish

puffer fish

sea turtle

sea turtle

chameleon

chameleon

penguins

penguins

orchids DSC04855

Official: Super Typhoon Kills 10,000 in Philippines

Official: Super Typhoon Kills 10,000 in Philippines | gCaptain

I don’t know how they can call this official since they say right in the article they’ve only found 300-400 bodies. It’s still terrible. Hearing of things like this, I wonder how is that possible? I’ve never been to the Philippines but I would assume that just like everywhere else, they do have communications with the rest of the world.

There was plenty of warning that this storm was headed their way and that it was going to be VERY powerful when it got there! They had the warnings, why didn’t they leave? There’s a world of difference in outcomes for people who get the warnings (and so can/do act on them) and those who don’t!

The Galveston Storm of 1900 killed ‘more than 6000’ people (estimates range from 6-12,000 out of a total of about 37,000). Considering that Galveston is a very low lying, flat island and there was practically NO warning back then, they were probably lucky that ANYONE survived. Here’s a link to a Wikipedia article about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1900_Galveston_hurricane.

I’m very sorry for the people of the Philippines and I wish them a speedy recovery, but I just can’t fathom why this sort of thing still happens. I expect many people were just too caught up in their daily lives to worry much about ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ It happened here in the USA too. Remember Hurricane Katrina? It devastated New Orleans and many other coastal areas from Florida to Texas.

We had plenty of warning about Katrina too. Why did so many people stick around New Orleans when they should have known what would happen? After all, New Orleans is below sea level, it’s surrounded by water, and the levees are old and it had been stated many times in the past that they should not be expected to survive a bad storm.

Seems to me that most of the people who stayed in New Orleans were poor. Is it the same in the Philippines, that only the people who stayed in the low lying, storm devastated areas were poor (relatively)? I know the Philippines is a poor country, but what I’m wondering is: did so many people die there because of that lack of resources? Personal resources and community resources. Or were there other reasons? Why did so many people decide not to heed the warnings???

The reason I’m curious about that is because so many people here in the USA blame what happened in New Orleans on lack of resources. They say that the poor of New Orleans took the brunt of the damage that Katrina caused. They say that the poor had no way to escape the storm. They say that our government is responsible for causing the deaths of those people in New Orleans because they didn’t throw enough money and resources into the preparations.

I understand that the Philippine government does not have the resources that the US government does. Is that why the US government was blamed for the disaster in New Orleans? Is that why no one is blaming the government of the Philippines? Or is the difference in the people themselves???

What makes some people do EVERYTHING they possibly can do to take care of THEMSELVES? While so many others don’t?

 

PS-the question applies to more than just hurricanes!!

Free Stuff!!

Museum Day Live! 2013 Registration.

This is a link to the Smithsonians’ Museum Day. Saturday 9/28. It’ll give you and a guest FREE admission to a museum you choose. Its not only the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.. There are links to museums all over the country. You can search by subject or by location.

In Houston, you can choose among the Buffalo Soldiers National MuseumDunham Bible MuseumHolocaust Museum HoustonHouston Center for Contemporary CraftLawndale Art Center, and a favorite of mine in Galveston the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum. There is the tall ship Elissa right there too, if you do happen to hit the Ocean Star Museum, you can make it a maritime day and enjoy lunch on the waterfront watching the cruise ships dock.

New Bridge Simulators for Houston Pilots

Houston Pilots, San Jacinto College Provide.

This is great news for the Houston Pilots and San Jacinto College. I’m sure those simulators will benefit not only the pilots but the entire maritime community. I think SanJac has a good program and a good network around the area with the various companies that need to train maritime workers. I went up there (Pasadena) to look into doing some part time teaching on my time off. I actually got to help teach a class 🙂

My class was off a jack-up rig. They had probably never seen a real lifeboat before. For sure they didn’t have them on their rig! But for whatever reason, their company decided they all needed to get certified as lifeboatmen. So, we started from scratch in the classroom. We went over all the things they could find in a lifeboat and life raft, we went out in the parking lot to practice with the signaling mirror. We even took a ride over to Texas A & M in Galveston to practice launching and rowing a REAL lifeboat! Everybody got a chance to be in charge of lowering the boat. Everybody got to be coxswain (in charge of the boat) once it was in the water. Everybody got some time on the oars. It was a fun day 😉

I hope to get another chance to help out up there again. Capt Mitch Schacter is in charge over there and he’s really been working hard to make it a success. This simulator will be a big help!