Sunday, August 31, 2003

Exciting times on a photo-safari-cum-weekend on the beach!

We shouldn't be here to write this! Well, if we had had our way, we would still be camping out on the beach, 54 miles "down island" on the Padre Island National Seashore.

Instead, along came Tropical Storm Grace, a poorly organized weather system in the Gulf of Mexico. We had already spent Friday afternoon and all day Saturday being beach bums and at 9 p.m. we were settling down to post-dinner relaxation when a park ranger drove up. He explained that the tidal surge was expected to seal us off and advised us to exit the beach as quickly as possible.

Which we did, striking camp in about 15 minutes (basically throwing everything into the back of the car regardless of its condition!) and set off up an already emptied beach to Malaquite and the black top road out of the park. There is only one way off the island and we made it to Corpus Christi in good time by 11:45 p.m.

There didn't seem much point in hanging around and waiting for Grace to show up, so we headed home, driving the last hour through the outer spirals of Grace's squalls. We arrived in Houston at 3:15 a.m.

So, we spent less time doing what we wanted to do but, by taking good advice, are here to tell the tale. 54 miles down a one way beach track is definitely remote and somewhat exposed to the risks of Nature! Thanks to the park ranger we got out in good time (though I believe the storm probably did not have as bad an effect as feared - a case of "better safe than sorry"). For an example of how Hurricane Brett passed over Padre Island in 1998, take a look at this movie (4.4 Mbytes, broadband recommended).

Also, we did not take as many photos as planned. Which is always a good excuse to return.