This time of year work is slow.  It’s the end of summer, all of the festivals are over and everyone’s gearing up to go back to school.  Soon football season will start and a routine will ensue, but until then, freelancers all over the country are searching for things to do.

Last Sunday afternoon I sat at the kitchen table with my husband and I was a bit down.  He suggested I go do something fun, but all I wanted to do was get away.  I had an appointment Tues. morning in Kyle, so I only had about 30 hours or so before I had to be back home.  Not a lot of time for travel.

“Why don’t you just go down to the coast?” Nick asked.

Can I do that?  There’s not enough time.  “I’ll book your hotel.”  …Okay then.  I threw a few things in the car and just under four hours later, I was driving across a bridge to Port Aransas.

On the way to my hotel, I saw fishermen on the side of the road, throwing nets in shallow water.  The sun was getting low in the sky, and one fisherman in particular caught me eye.  I turned the car around and pulled over.

I introduced myself and asked Joe Alvarado (a local real-estate agent) if I could take his picture while he fished for bait.  He reluctantly agreed, and I took off my shoes and waded in the water with my camera.

Then Joe told me about a fishing spot near-by, where there would be several fishermen.  I followed him over and walked along the jetty, watching the other anglers.  Honestly, though, Joe found the best spot photographically, and I ended up shooting him again.

Like I said, the sun was getting low, and I wanted to check in to my hotel and take a walk on Port Aransas beach before dinner, so after a half hour or so, I made my exit.

I checked in to the Holiday Inn Express, which was just down the street from the beach, and then took a sunset walk.

It was Sunday night, so there weren’t a lot of dining options, especially after 8:30 p.m.  I ate at Castaways Seafood and Grill, which was the only thing I could find open, and sat at the bar.  Then I returned to my hotel and tried to get some sleep before the early morning I had planned.

My alarm rang at 5:45 a.m. on Monday morning.  I got up, put on my beach clothes and got a quick breakfast in the lobby before heading over to the Jetty Boat (water taxi) to St. Jo’s Island, a wonderful, uninhabited island with natural beaches.  I love going there in the morning to watch the sun rise.  The beach is littered with seashells and you get the whole place practically to yourself.

It’s a beautiful place.  The water even seems clearer.  Click here to read a past blog post about Port A and St. Jo’s Island.

Anyway, I walked in to buy a Jetty Boat ticket and I was turned away.  The boat hit a log the day before and was closed for service.  I was so disappointed!  That’s really what I made the trip for!

It was about 6:45 a.m. and the sky was just barely getting some color.  Bummed, I went to the main beach, Port Aransas beach, and watched the sun rise.  It was spectacular!  I couldn’t help but take a lot of pictures.

The warm sky colors faded in to day and I paused to think about what I should do with my time, if I couldn’t make it to St. Jo’s.  I texted a friend, who I knew would be up that early in the morning, and he suggested that I rent a kayak and paddle over to the island.

I’m not an experienced kayaker.  I’ve paddled a canoe many times, but never a kayak.  Was it a good idea for me to jump in the ocean and paddle alone to a neighboring uninhabited island on my first attempt?  “So easy,” my friend said, adding that the water was about waste deep.

It was worth a try!  So I checked out of my hotel and went in search of a rental kayak.  First I went to the Jetty Boat place to ask for some advice.  The man there said he sees people paddle over there all the time, “but you?” he said, “I don’t know.”  I asked, “why not me?”  He gave me a look and said, “you’re an adventurous one, aren’t you?”

He gave me some advice on currents and told me that it would really start to pick up at noon, so I should head back by then.  He didn’t want me to get swept out to sea.  I listened intently and then asked where I could get a boat.

I was misdirected several times, but finally found a place to rent a kayak.  Island Surf Rentals had what I needed, and they even loaded it on the car for me.  It was $25 for the day, which included a one-person kayak, paddle, padded seat and life vest.  I tried to ask for advice on where to put the kayak in the water and where to paddle.  Unfortunately, the guy I talked to wasn’t a paddler.

Still unphased, I drove to the north side of the island to figure out the best route to paddle.  On that side of the island there’s a ship channel, with a sea wall and docks.  I couldn’t put the boat in from the docks, so I drove up and down the sea wall to find a place that didn’t drop too far to the water.  I asked a few people for advice, but I couldn’t find anyone who paddled.

I finally found a place that looked good and I got out of the car to check it out.  There were large rocks that looked a bit hazardous, so I thought for a second, then got back in the car to drive a bit further.

The car wouldn’t start.  The battery was dead.

At that point I was frustrated.  It was about 10:30 a.m. and I only had about an hour and half before the currents picked up.  There was a kayak on my dead car and I was feeling determined to use it.

I paused for a minute and looked around.  The beach was about 400 yards away, too far for me to drag the kayak.  The ship channel (that I would have to cross to get to St. Jo’s) had a line of huge boats speeding through, and the water was much deeper than waste level.

It wasn’t my day to kayak.

With a “screw this!” I left the boat on the car, grabbed my stuff and walked to the beach.

It was Monday morning, so the beach wasn’t too crowded.  I set up a little spot and went swimming and boogie boarding for a few hours.  I had some food with me, so I picnicked for lunch.

While splashing around, I made a little video with my Olympus TG-2 waterproof camera.  I’m really liking it for a travel point and shoot.  It’s very handy and durable.

When I had my fill of the surf, I walked to the showers to rinse off the sand and salt before tending to my car.  The showers weren’t working due to the drought, so I got a jump from a friendly family, returned the unused kayak and looked for the nearest Walmart that could replace my car battery.

I finally returned home that night with sand in my hair, salt on my skin and a smile on my face, despite my kayak setbacks.

This post is also published on my main blog here.

One comment on “PORT ARANSAS
  1. C.J. Hall says:


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