It all starts on the Gulf of Mexico. The shrimp boats are distinctive, and mercifully, Rockport is not in an area that was afflicted by the oil blowout. This is a working port, and such are always our preference for buying seafood. It is not just the good prices … the freshness is exceptional.
These are very much working boats, and the owners clearly spend the minimum on paint and other décor. The oyster and crab boats are even more minimal, likely because they stay closer to shore and there are fewer fatalities if they sink.
Right on the fish dock is the store, with water circulating right out of the sea and back to keep the blue crabs and other lively creatures nice and fresh.
Elaine, crab-fisher-person-in-chief, selects only the large and lively crabs, using the long tongs provided. We negotiate the price, and quieten them down with some ice for the short journey to Goose Island State Park … our temporary home.
I will spare you the moment of those poor crabs hitting the boiling pot. Not a pretty sight, but necessary when it leads to the crab feast that follows. Warm enough to eat in our little picnic shelter by the side of the ocean, and yes, the crabs were as delicious as they looked.
Flowers were a feature of this part of our trip, as Texas burst into astonishing fields of colour. I include some more flower pictures at the end of this posting, since I know that some of you are interested. I also realize the you experts will correct any of our amateurish identifications.
Apart from the flowers beneath, the live oaks and other trees around Goose Island have bent to the mighty winds. In this sense they are like the pines along Lake Huron and Superior where this tale began last summer.
We pottered up the Texas Gulf Coast through the wildflower beds, and then along the beaches of Galveston Island to our next stop at the State Park there. Galveston Beach is just that … miles and miles of firm sand and waves.
The dunes are recovering from the hurricane, and I persuaded Elaine to sit like a picture-book lady among the flowers. Later I showed her the warning about rattlesnakes in those dunes.
Of course there is also a fish dock, and this fine flounder made a splendid meal.
Galveston itself has largely recovered from its recent hurricane, and indeed we were impressed with the improvements to parts of the town. Many of the distinctive houses have been renovated and brightly painted; many have been turned into apartments or condos. Of course, many other areas of Galveston are far less visibly affluent.
Another advantage of Galveston is that it bypasses Houston. The fairly long ferry across the channel is fun, and free. We usually see dolphins playing in the ocean, and did again this year. Don’t ask to see the pictures … find some sea and take your own!
Even catching a seagull in flight is a challenge, and if you really want Grade-A pictures, send bags of cash, so we can buy one of those super-fancy cameras.
As it is, we never worry about ours being stolen!
OK … the Bolivar Peninsula, and we noticed some of the destroyed houses had been replaced. This time, many built a platform that was two storeys high, before perching a house on top. We motored along, and in the natural course of things, finally came to the Eastern end of Texas. Another chapter soon. (A few extra pictures follow).
John, with help from Elaine.