Since arriving here in Port Aransas, Texas, on Mustang Island, we've been getting up before dawn and walking on the beach as the sun rises. Just us and the birds who are getting breakfast from the bounty of the Gulf waters. Every day it's different.
Some mornings the great blue herons are out doing their lone fishing.
Usually there are gulls and terns and a few other shore birds I can't identify for sure.
One morning we saw a crested caracara, which is a big deal for us, though they are relatively common down here, and are the national symbol of Mexico. They are very striking and I wish we'd been able to get a good shot of one.
The sea life and debris that washes up is different every morning as well. The first morning there were lots of moon jellyfish and sea whip coral (which looks like heavy duty fishing line or some kind of seaweed, but isn't).
The second morning there were starfish.
The third morning there was nothing. All the jellies and stars were gone, like they'd never been there. The next day the pen shells started (foreground below).
Now, see the little volcano-like bumps on the sand? Read on...
Every morning there are a handful of guys walking the beach with these yard-long plastic pipe hand pumps that they stick down into the little volcanoes and suck up a sloshy pump full of sand and water. They exhaust the slurry out onto the sand and quickly grab for something little that they see in the wash. We finally asked one guy what he was after and he told us ghost shrimp, and showed us his catch. They were white and orangish soft shelled squirmy things that did look a little like shrimp.
Here's a link to more than you'd ever want to know about ghost shrimp pumps. Seems that ghost shrimp are primo ocean fishing bait and fisherman come out early to get bait for their day of fishing.
We've taken to carrying garbage bags with us and picking up a bag or two each of man-made beach debris on our return walk. There isn't a lot of garbage on the beach - just the usual collection of water bottles, old gloves and flip flops, plastic bags and candy wrappers - but it feels good to be helping to keep the beach clean.
We're parked at Gulf Waters RV Resort for the month and are liking it very much. It's an ownership park with some rental sites. We were lucky to reserve one about four months ago as they are completely full.
The park is just over the dunes from the beach in a relatively undeveloped part of Mustang Island, about 10 miles south of Port Aransas. The landscaping in the park is very pretty, there's a pool and a hot tub, a book exchange and a laundromat - all things we like to have. The area is interesting - lots of birding. In fact we are planning on going to see some whooping cranes in Rockport soon. Corpus Christi is about 15 miles away with everything you could ever need or want. We'll probably check out the Texas State Aquarium there too.
As usual on our longer stays, we're catching up on maintenance. We've got a leaky window, some dry and cracking weather stripping around the slides, a funky hot water heater and the persistent issue with our hydraulic jacks drifting. We hope to get all that taken care of with the help of a mobile RV repair guy around here, or maybe in San Antonio. It'll keep us amused.