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.

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. 😉

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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.

Icicle Races

I went to the Sail La Vie meetup last week hoping to sign up to go sailing on Saturday. I haven’t had the time to go out for quite a while and was really looking forward to taking a leisurely cruise around the bay.

I was really disappointed when I found out that they didn’t have enough people signed up to charter a boat for the group. Luckily, one of the members had a boat entered in the upcoming Icicle Race and offered a spot onboard to me and the 2 others who had been looking to go out on Saturday.

I had never been in a race and was a little apprehensive about it all. I wasn’t really enthused about the idea of rushing around, tweaking the sails for every tiny little advantage we could get out of the boat. I’m MUCH more into just relaxing and enjoying a day on the water. Listening to the soft sound of the waves passing by and the calls of the seagulls following for scraps as we drink some wine and dispose of our uneaten chips. 🙂

I think we must have got lucky. The wind was very light to start, only about 4-6 kts and then for a while it dropped off to nothing. The whole fleet was becalmed. I’ve never been in that situation, a couple of dozen boats all drifting together, so close you could reach across to share a beer.

The wind picked up a little bit just as we were coming up to the first mark. We slid around on the inside of a big bunch of boats and managed to skip ahead of the crowd. It was pretty exciting there for a few minutes. 😉

The crowd thinned out as we made for the next mark, but as we closed in on it, the boats bunched up again. Everyone was trying to cut it as close as possible. We heard a loud bang and CRUNCH ahead of us and watched as a couple of boats tried to get their fenders in place, but it was too late. I’m not sure how much damage was done, but ANY work done on a boat is expensive!

We made that turn on the inside of another big bunch of boats and then made for the finish line. The wind was shifting so we had to tack a few times. It was a challenge to try and figure out how far to go on a tack before coming back to the course for the finish line. I think we made some time up with good estimates on that part of the race too.

As we were coming in to the finish line (between markers 1-2 to Kemah), we were cut off by another boat. They cut right in front of our bow and I don’t know how we managed not to have a collision. I don’t know what they were thinking on that boat, but as we were yelling at them, they called back to us that WE were supposed to stay out of their way. Huh????

Overtaking vessel is ALWAYS the give way vessel!

After that last shot of adrenaline, we took in the jib and headed back in to the marina. We made it home in one piece, without any damage, and I think we did pretty damn good! Capt Vic said we did better then ever before (in this race) and I know we still had a pretty big bunch of boats still out there behind us when we hit the finish line. 🙂

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