Beach trip 2010

We made our second annual beach trip on Thursday.  It’s a tradition that we love already and plan to continue: in early September, after all the “normal”  children have gone back to school, Perry takes a day off in the middle of the week and we drive down to the Gulf of Mexico.  For two years in a row, we have found the beaches all but deserted.  It’s Homeschool Day at the beach!

This year we left the house at 9 AM, hoping to hit the sand just after noon.  Instead, we decided to take a slight detour and ride the ferry across the channel this time.  The descriptions on the internet said it was a free 10 minute ride with a minimal wait and a good chance of seeing dolphins.

Well, it was free with no wait at all.  We can’t exactly ask for our money back.  But we were so underwhelmed it was comical.  The posted signs said to remain in our vehicle until the ferry started moving, but the trip across took less than 3 minutes.  If we had gotten out to look for dolphins, it would have been a chinese fire drill: “Everyone out! Run to the rail!  Get back in!  Quick!  Quick!  We landed 4 seconds ago and the car in front of us is already leaving the boat!”

Live and learn.  The ferry only added a few minutes and a few miles to our trip and now the kids can say they’ve ridden one.  Next time, we go straight for the sand.

Last year we went to Mustang Island State Park.  This year we decided to drive another 15 miles south and try out Padre Island National Seashore.

As expected, there was lots of water.

It was amazing.  There was a huge school of fish just past the first sandbar for much of the afternoon.  We could see their silvery six-inch bodies flashing the in the sunlight, riding the crest of every wave, nearly covering the surface.

The water was warm enough not to traumatize our cold-hating baby who goes into hysterics whenever a draft from the van’s a/c reaches him.

When he did get fussy, we took turns with our 50 cent No Sew Mei Tai and the umbrella stroller.

We had stopped at a gas station to buy a kite, which proved to be a very good investment.  The kids took turns – once their dad was done with it.

We also bought a frisbee.  No pics, because we were all busy playing!  It was the first year we’ve had a big family game like that, and it was a blast!  There were 8 of us big enough to throw and catch reasonably well.  I only wish we had 3 or 4 frisbees to use at the same time.  [scribbling notes for next year]

We saw a surprising variety of living creatures: tiny ghost crabs that looked and moved like spiders, diving in and out of sand burrows around our table; living sand dollars that moved about and slid under the sand; jellyfish, both living and dead.  Three of us were stung in water.  After that, we took to calling them jelly-bees.

The little ghost crabs were fun and cute, but the big crab was the most exciting.

He allowed himself to be herded, but every now and then he made feints at us, just to let us know he wasn’t really scared of us.

Kaitlyn was the only one who got the nerve up to actually hold it.  Deanna used her Brown Pelican feather to herd him, but he grabbed it and wouldn’t let go.

Here’s why Deanna wanted her feather: it was her stylus.  She used it to to draw a Precious Moments style picture of Bethany.  Isn’t it adorable?

Of course there were gulls everywhere, begging for scraps just like lapdogs.  The girls tossed bits of tortilla in the air over their head and drew in great crowds of huge hovering birds.

crazy bird ladies

Sunset was surprisingly beautiful, considering that the sun does not set over the water like on the Pacific coast.  The water turned a deeper shade of blue, the white crests of the waves nearly glowed, and the smooth shallow waterline took on a pink hue that exactly matched the sky above.  Of course we failed to capture it with the camera, so you’ll just have to visit the gulf coast yourself.

So this means that staying until sunset was a good idea, right?

NO.

That’s when the vampires came out.

to be continued

Comments

  1. Jennifer A says:

    North padre Island national Seashore is our favorite Texas beach! The other beaches are too developed and I love looking at the natural beauty rather than a string of condos. Plus there aren’t as many people there and the wildlife is fun to watch. We also go every year near the end of September and one year my son and I were sitting at the picnic table watching a little dune rat steal our chips. It was so cute. Did you take a little time in the visitor’s center? They have a great hands – on table with items collected from the beach. Be sure to ask them to show you the hamburger nut. They also have an interesing display on the history of the island which includes the Karankawa Indians and how oil drilling was allowed in a national park. You can actually park on the beach in one section. You have to drive down to a beach entrance which is just a little south of the visitor’s center. If you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle you can actually drive almost 60 miles down the island. When we choose to ride the ferry across we have always seen dolphins – every time. But it’s a lot more fun to go to the South Jetty on the public beach in Port A. You can walk quite a ways out on the jetty (half a mile? I’m not sure) and we enjoy seeing what the fishermen are catching. You can also see schools of fish, sea turtles and dolphins. The end of the jetty is one of my favorite places in the whole world.Next year we should coordinate trips! :)

    • Jennifer,
      Thanks for all the tips – maybe we’ll try to find that jetty next year!
      We did spend some time in the visitor’s center and had a full tour of the hands-on table. It was very interesting!

  2. Love the Swimsuits! I’ll buy the pattern when available. I’m a size 6 ;)

  3. It’s so funny and familiar–when I was young, my visiting aunt wondered if I had told my young cousin–her daughter–a vampire story. The poor little thing had been talking about something coming through the window and biting her and sucking her blood. Of course I wouldn’t have done such a thing, and soon the adults realized she was talking about mosquitoes!

    So happy to see that the no-sew is still in effect! I have one now that I use for guest babies, since my “baby” is four now.

  4. We waited 45 minutes to ride the ferry, becuase there was interest in our car for that ride too, we were also underwhelmed and drove back across the bridge. Thankfully all the kids survived the wait without any drama. A little fish like the ones you saw swam into my son’s suit, it scared us all and we are still talking about it a year later! :) Great pictures!

  5. I second the swimsuit tutorial! What is the fabric of the swimsuits I might ask?

  6. fun! I really enjoyed you sharing that :) I could kind of use a get away from unpacking…….and those pictures seemed to help. thanks!

  7. Kim, y’all should go to South Padre next year and spend a night or two. The water is actually blue and very clean! It’s the best beach I’ve seen in Texas so far. Love Deanna’s drawing, so cute. Glad you had fun!!

  8. Thanks for sharing! This is inspiring to us:) My girls want me to learn to make those swimsuits! Does Kaitlyn have a pattern or tutorial? I have a few families around here that would just love those! We have four girls at our house and they are just loving you sharing stories about your family. You are an inspiration to me and just wanted you to know.

    • Jenny,
      Kaitlyn is working on a pattern that she would like to offer for sale. She still needs to do the grading (creating pattern pieces in different sizes), fine-tune her instructions, and let a few friends test it, but she hopes to have it ready for next spring.

      Jamie,
      The fabric really is swimsuit material – you can find it at fabric stores or online. I think it’s called 4-way stretch lycra? Maybe Kaitlyn will jump in and confirm or correct that for me…

  9. So refreshing to see beach pictures where girls are decently covered! Very cute suits, too!

    I’m a new reader, and I love your blog.

  10. Haha, can’t wait to hear the sequel. :)

    I love how everything empties out as soon as the “other” kids go back to school. I mean it’s sad for them, but it is nice not to have crowds. It looks like a lovely day. :)

  11. Love the pictures- someone in your house is a great photographer! The one of Rachel? (the adorable redhead) and Perry-boy with the sunset in the background are definitely blow up and frame-worthy!

  12. Vampires=mosquitos right?

    Giant blood sucking, gonna need a transfusion by morning mosquitos.

    Totally part of the curse, that’s what I think.

  13. Thanks for all the pictures. I’m a California girl and we recently moved to the College Station area. We are heading to Houston next week and I want to check out the beaches. Any suggestions as to which one we should go to? Thanks.

    • Melissa,
      We’ve only been to North Padre Island. You probably know this, but the gulf is not as pretty as the west coast. You’ll have to lower your expectations, but it was good enough for us! We went to Mustang Island State Park last year, and Padre Island National Seashore this year. The biggest difference was that on Mustang Island you are allowed to drive right down to the beach. Very convenient. Facilities were a little nicer at Padre, though. We haven’t tried any other beaches yet. Would love to hear what you think of Houston.

  14. Love your post : )
    Where do you get the girls/yours swimwear? I LOVE the 2 w/ the built in floaties too : )

    • Jeanie,
      The floatie suits were $5 on clearance at the end of last summer. The other suits were designed and made by Kaitlyn. She’s very handy to have around. :)

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