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by Sandra Leinweber - Harper, Texas - USA

It seemed the stars were not aligned for us.  We came to the coast planning to join Stan Roberts and others at Shamrock Island in Corpus Christi Bay for a new year’s cruise.  It would be our first together cruise on the Skiff America 20 Chuck recently bought from Bayard Miller.  It is a strange boat.  Chuck took it out for a little run in the bay a couple of weeks ago, but it seemed a little cold and rough, so I just watched from shore.  I think I might have a phobia about rough cold water—tried to find a name for that, but failed.  Fear of cold is cryophobia.  And then there is fear of water. Aquaphobia.  I do not have that, but I do not like cold water.  Did find that great Gary Larson cartoon tho -  Luposlipaphobia:  The fear of being pursued by timber wolves around a kitchen table whilst wearing socks on a newly waxed floor.  Love Gary Larson.  And Bill Watterson—Calvin and Hobbes.

We came down to the coast on Wednesday, planning to leave for the cruise on Friday.  Maybe we should have tried to pull the boat out of the shed Wednesday, but we did not, and then it rained all day Thursday, and when we hooked up the boat, the tires on the Xterra just spun, and not only did the boat fail to move, but the Xterra got stuck, and our next door neighbor Ed had to pull it out, and he went a little too fast pulling,  and hit Rick’s truck, smashing his yellow running light and broke it—Rick lives across the street.  Dented Ed’s fender just a bit too.  Unintended consequences all around.

We took a bike ride on the beach to think about things, and Chuck came up with a brilliant idea.  We would load the Imresboats (kayaks) (Jim Michalak), on top of the Xterra and take them over to this little road on the other side of Port Aransas that looked like it hooked up with a canal that hooked up with Corpus Christi bay, and just a mile or so out was Shamrock island—where the guys were going to meet Friday night.  All right! -- I was actually a little dubious—wondering about the spot we would leave the vehicle—if the road would be passable, all the stuff I always worry about, but said, “Okay, lets load up and go see,”

Got all our stuff together—tent, sleeping bags, food, etc, and took off first thing Friday morning.  It is about 1.5 hours to Port A, then take the ferry across, then find the road, which was right where it showed it was on Google Earth, how about that.  Looks good, others parked there, pretty calm water, so we got stuff ready and paddled out.    Lots of birds, a beautiful green heron, ibis, a couple of roseate spoonbills that flew away before we could take a photo.  Small blue herons, great blue herons, brown pelicans, white pelicans.  Those pelicans are so composed.  The great blue herons have a cow when you disturb them.  They sound like dinosaurs when they fly off.

And then there was the Osprey.  Not the bird, the helicopter. There was patchy fog at that time and we heard the thing way before we could see it. Then it came out of the clouds and flew right over the top of us.  Chuck knew just what it was.  He told me they had crashed a lot when they first started flying.
At the entrance to the bay, an oil company facility with some cool barge type boats.  The bay was a little rough, but we were over to Shamrock Island in about 45 minutes.  The beach looked nice, and had plenty of shells to admire, nice walking.  Then we saw the signs. 

Well, shoot.  I can respect all that, but it was still a disappointment.  We had planned to camp, and it looked like that was no longer an option.  We had spent a night in the Caprice once in a cove on Shamrock Island many years ago, and the last time we were there, on the second TX200, we were rescuing Bryan Cull when his sailboat sailed away without him, but that is another story.  Nothing about not landing then. 
We continued paddling on around the island, checking out some interesting old looking tanks and dock structures.  The really noticeable things were the large signs that ringed the island letting us know that we should stay outside the ring of large signs with warnings.  No landing at all.

The Skiff America 20 and muddy tracks

Spotted the pelican at the ferry landing

we arrive at the launch site

this workboat was drydocked near the mouth of the canal

These pelicans were on the other side of the canal mouth

after a short paddle we reached Shamrock Island

Chuck in his gumboots

The sign

January flowers on Shamrock Island

finally we are heading back home

The other sailors would not be arriving for at least 2 hours – we figured they would be able to anchor out and sleep on their boats, thus not violating the ban.  We could not do that so decided that the cabin and our own bed sounded pretty good—better than the tent, especially since a cool front was due in about midnight with wind switching to the north, so even though it was against a stiff west wind and waves, we headed back to the channel. 

To be honest, I sort of like paddling against the wind and waves—you really feel like you are doing something.  We have been strength training, and I had to feel as though it made a difference—my arms felt strong, and Chuck said he had a hard time keeping up with me, but he was just trying to get on my good side.  I was relieved to reach the channel, thinking it would be a cakewalk the mile to the car, but it was harder than paddling straight into the wind—wind was right on the side, and kept pushing us over to the east bank and shallows. 

There were guys out there setting duck decoys, and I glad we would not be out the next morning when presumably they would be out shooting ducks and who knows what else.  There was also this one fellow with what looked like a pretty cool bait fish collecting set up.  He had some tires all hooked together, and a big bucket in each one, and he was out there in waders throwing a cast net, and dumping the cast net contents into the buckets.  We had to wonder if that was his business—Friday afternoon and out catching bait, maybe to sell to the places that sell bait?  Nice. 

Home now, and tired, we will sleep well tonight.  Missed meeting up with the sailors.  All those boat stories and such.

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