Tuesday, January 29, 2019

South Padre Island Dolphin Tour

The Activity Committee at the campground had arranged a group outing with a Dolphin Tour company at South Padre Island, and it sounded like fun, so Tom and I signed up to go.  There ended up being about 30 of us in the group.
Of course, when the day of the tour arrived, we had the highest winds we’ve had all season – up to 5o mph!  We were worried that our tour would get cancelled (8-10 ft. surf on the Gulf), but it was still on, and we all headed out after lunch.  At least it was a warm and sunny day, well into the 70s.
Travelling over the bridge to South Padre Island, the water in the Bay looked pretty rough – I was hoping we had a big enough boat!  We arrived at the dock, and waited for tour time.  It was a little  chilly waiting on the dock, I was glad I brought a sweatshirt.

Our boat looks big enough to handle the rough water.

None of the fishermen were going out though . . . too rough for fishing!

Tom and I snagged a couple of seats on the upper deck, out in the sun – it felt really good!  Even with the high winds, the sun was nice and warm!

As soon as we pulled out of the channel, we got busy searching for dolphins.

We spotted a few out in front of us right away, but they were too quick for me to get any pictures.  We continued towards the bridge, and since we weren’t seeing any dolphins, some people kept themselves entertained with the seagulls following the boat.

Tom was trying to get them to land on his hand . . . he thought he could lure them in with bits of crackers!  They were too smart for that!

As we turned away from the bridge and headed out towards the jetty, the crew threw out a net to gather marine life for the “Eco Tour” portion of the trip. 

We were going into the wind now, and the water was a little rougher.  We spotted a few more dolphins, though, and a Coast Guard boat.


t was still difficult to catch pictures of them, but this little group was really active!

About halfway to the jetty, we slowed down for a bit and one of the crew members, Isaiah, showed us what was collected in the net.  Tom and I went down to the lower level to watch the presentation.

There were a few little bait fish, and squid (which I had never seen before),

and a few bigger fish – the first one was a spiney something (that liked to spit water out at people),

and a puffer fish.

That one was pretty cool looking,
and so were the starfish.

With the science demonstration over, the captain picked up speed again, and Tom & I went back to the upper deck.

We passed by the Coast Guard Station,

and the Border Control blimp.

It was on the ground because of the high winds that day, but normally it’s tethered over the jetty, keeping watch over the shipping lane in and out of Brownsville, and the waters off Boca Chica Beach.  We saw it in the air the day we went to Boca Chica, but didn’t know what it was.

As we got closer to the jetty, we could see the state park at Boca Chica, where there are several houses on the cliff overlooking the water.  They were there before it became a state park, and the owners were allowed to stay in them, although they don’t have any electricity or water.  They can’t ever sell the property, though, and if the home is destroyed, they can’t rebuild.

Fishing, or Scuba-diving?

We spotted a few more dolphins, and these were close to the boat.

We could see the surf on the other side of the jetty, and it looked really rough.  Not too many people fishing today!

Not the best beach day, either!

We could see the city campground as we turned around at the jetty – it looked pretty nice, really close to the water, though.

We were on our way back to the channel, and spotted another dolphin . . . and I was finally able to catch a picture!  It’s not quite clear, but still a decent picture!

The pelicans waiting on the dock as we pulled back into the channel,

and one more coming in for a landing!

Even with the high winds, it turned out to be a beautiful day for a boat tour, and it was fun – we spotted dolphins, saw some interesting sea life, and had fun with the seagulls.

From there, most of the group headed over to Port Isabel for dinner at Pirate’s Landing.

Lots of photo ops . . .Tom  is always willing to take a silly photo,

and sometimes he gets a little help from a couple of photo-bombers!

It was a fun day!  We were definitely glad we participated!

1 comment:

  1. Always nice having fun with a group. It was a wise choice you made bringing your sweater the air tends to be colder over the open waters.
    Be Safe and Enjoy the area.

    It's about time.


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