Final sunset on South Padre Island...
Note: A large percentage of my "landscape" photos (including the ones in this set) are now copyright-protected, and are not available for downloads and free use. You can view them here in Flickr, but if you would like prints, enlargements, framed copies, and other variations, please visit my SmugMug "South Padre Island" gallery by clicking here.
South Padre Island is a remote corner of the United States that most Americans have never heard of ... unless, of course, you're from south Texas. It's a barrier island on the Gulf Coast, way south of Corpus Christi, not too far from Brownsville, and only five or ten miles from the Mexican border. But it's also about 800 miles from the west coast of Florida, on the other side of the Gulf of Mexico.
I have no idea when, why, or how the island (or its main town) was settled, though I've learned that it's named after a Catholic priest and settler, José Nicolás Ballí (Padre Ballí). At this point, it's a relatively small settlement of 2,816 people (as of the 2010 census), and it's located on the far side of a mile-wide bay, across from Port Isabel, which has a larger population of about 5,000 people.
College kids from the south Texas area flock here during spring break, an international fishing tournament brings in another bunch of people in the summer, and the South Padre International Music festival debuted in November 2007, with 10,000 attendees and 64 bands rocking to country, reggae, Latin rock, ska, and jazz music. Or so I'm told. I don't know any of this from first-hand experience, because I was here for a week at the end of January. If you want to know more than this about South Padre Island, I refer you to this this Wikipedia article.
The weather here in late January is a heck of a lot better than in my hometown of New York City, but it's still leaves a lot to be desired; it's cloudy, foggy, and/or misty, and the overall weather is raw, windy, and humid. Of course, there's no guarantee these days that January weather will be any better in Florida or any of the other winter havens ... and after four days of gloom, I actually did enjoy a couple of days of nice, sunny (but cool) weather before I finally packed my bags and headed back to civilization.
I had some serious work to do while I was here, and when it came to photography, all I was hoping for was an hour of interesting scenery at sunrise and sunset. For the first few days, I had mostly fog and clouds at dawn -- but I've included some of those photos. And in the sunset hours, I was frustrated by the fact that my my beachfront hotel faced east -- and thus had nothing to do with whatever sunset was taking place in the west. But I got lots of photos of seagulls and sandpipers, as well as a few photos of resolute visitors who were doing brisk power-walks up and down the beach at every conceivable hour of the day.
Toward the end of the week, the weather cleared and I decided to take a "dolphin-viewing" cruise out into the bay. I did see a couple of dolphins, if the cruise-boat's captain was to be believed, but they weren't worth photographing. However, I did get a few interesting shots of the shoreline and some other interesting odds and ends, which I've included in the collection of photos here.
No doubt there will be a few curious souls wondering why on earth I decided to come spend a week here in this remote corner of southern Texas. I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. Just joking, heh heh. Actually, it doesn't really matter. The photos are all you need to know...
Tagged: , South Padre Island , beach , sunset , herons , Texas