We get these free throwaway papers here in the Valley that give all kinds of information on what’s happening in the area. The most recent showed some tall ships, actually replica’s of Christopher Columbus’ Nina and Pinta were here for viewing and touring.
So we traveled to Port Isabel to check them out.
The Niña is a replica of the ship on which Columbus sailed across the Atlantic on his three voyages of discovery to the new world way back in 1492. Rather than type all the details and facts about the ships you can read all about them HERE.
There weren’t too many going beyond the gate to get closer. They were asking $8.00 a piece to go on board and neither Bob or I really felt the need to spend sixteen dollars to go get a close up look at a replica. Now if it had been the original Niña and Pinta, the ones that crossed the oceans back in 1492, well, we’d be all over that! Replicas? Eh, not so much. So we stood and looked at them. Ok, we’ve seen them, let’s go.
On the way out we noticed the shrimping boats were in dock. Look how close they park these boats. Park? Do you park a boat? No, I think you dock a boat. Whatever, they were close together.
Back on the road we head over the bridge to the causeway.
WATER! Oh, we both so needed this! Being beach people we really miss not being near water. This is the first large body of water we’ve seen in nearly two years.
As we got over the bridge I got a real wakeup call about South Padre Island.
I did not expect to see high rises at all! I had this vision of this rustic, nearly undeveloped island with old wooden beach bars and small little cottages here and there. Oh was I in for a surprise! I don’t know where this perception came from but it was totally Any Coastal Beach Town, USA!
First order of business was lunch! We drove directly to Pier 19. Now I didn’t see piers one through eighteen so the significance of the number nineteen was lost on me.
What’s wrong with this picture?
We went into the restaurant, a building made out of corrugated steel, and had window seats from which we watched the dolphins play while we ate.
Also in our view was this pirate ship that took island visitors out for dolphin watches.
When we got back out to the parking lot I saw something which made it really hit home for me just how homesick I am.
Yep, a seagull. I haven’t seen one of these in a long time. Somehow it didn’t effect Bob the same way it did me. It may have had something to do with the fact that this bird had just flown past our truck and left a remembrance on our windshield…..on his side.
We took a ride for several miles and the main part of the town was a typical beach town. Condo’s, motels, T-shirt shops, lots of restaurants and bars. Lots of bars. This is after all a hot spot for Spring Break. Luckily, that was last week and the island for the most part was pretty deserted. As deserted as it can be with 5,000 fulltime residents and the Winter Texan population.
I saw one restaurant with the name Padreritaville, a clever play on Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.
We rode the main drag until we ran out of town.
After turning around we drove out on the beach to watch the wind surfers.
This fella got air!
We stopped at a hospital on the way back through town. Not a people hospital, but a turtle hospital.
I had heard a lot about this place and was so glad we had the chance to stop and see what it was all about.
Founded in 1977 by Ila Fox Loetscher, better known as "The Turtle Lady of South Padre Island”, this hospital rescues,rehabilitates and releases injured sea turtles. Of course they are also all about educating the public about sea turtles and conservation efforts for all marine turtle species.
Inside the hospital.
We were able to see some of the turtles close up as they came to the side of their pools.
There were turtles of all sizes.
There is a large Wall Of Fame that gives you a true feeling of how much good these people do. It has many pictures of turtles that came to the hospital because of injury due to boat propellers, getting tangled in fishing nets, ingesting plastic, (this is a huge problem!) getting tangled in fishing line and the six pack plastic thingy’s. Each picture also represented not only the fact that the turtle was rescued but that it was also released again to its natural habitat.
A display of nets that entangled and injured the turtles.
Turtle tail. I didn’t realize they there that long.
Even though they come close to the edge of the pool and seem like they are begging to be petted, there is a federal law in place that says, DON’T TOUCH! In fact, there is ample signage telling visitors DON’T TOUCH!
Well of course there always that one idiot that has to pet the turtle anyway, completely oblivious to the signs that plainly state that the turtle bites with 2,000 pounds of pressure! Sure enough, while we were there someone pet a turtle. A hospital employee, or perhaps even a volunteer, wasted no time in getting right up in the idiots face and saying, “DON’T. DO. THAT!” in no uncertain terms.
Before leaving I had to use the ladies room and was glad I had my camera. I never thought I’d be taking pictures of the inside of their bathroom!
The mirror over the sink.
Ceiling light fixture.
On the way back off the island we passed this great fishing pier. This really made Bob homesick!
On the way home this motorcycle passed us and we both did a double take.
A motorcycle with training wheels! See the three tires?
We had a great day!