Sunday, February 3, 2019
If you are wondering as I did what the heck a pass is here on the coast, it’s a small natural usually navigable of body water that connects two large bodies of water. It’s generally between two land masses. An inlet is technically a pass. The term inlet is used on the Pacif and Atlantic Ocean while the term pass is used in the Gulf of Mexico. So there!
A little history lesson is in order (excerpt from Wikipedia: The Karnakawa Indians were living a nomadic existence when Spaniards, led by Alonso Álvarez de Pineda, probed the coast in 1519. Governor Francisco de Garay of Jamaica had commissioned him to explore the Gulf Coast from Floridato Vera Cruz. In the summer of 1519, Piñeda, took a fleet of four ships east to west around the Gulf Coast exploring and mapping five passes along the Texas Coast line, including what is known today as Aransas Pass.
In 1720 the French explorer Pierre-Jean de Béranger was commissioned to explore St. Bernard Bay ‘Matagorda Bay’ to establish a colony for France along its shores. Jean took an old Spanish ship that had been captured in Florida during the war with Spain, christened it St. Joseph, and his travels resulted in the rediscovery of the Aransas Pass.
In 1739, Governor Prudencio de Orobio y Basterra named the pass Aránzazu Pass on his map of 1739, because it served the Aránzazu fort. The name was altered to Aransas on the map of a Captain Monroe of the ship Amos Wright in 1833.
More Water than Land
The City of Aransas Pass (9500 souls) comprises a total area of 51.8 square miles. The total area of Aransas Pass is 20.71% land and 79.29% water, or 10.7 square miles of land and 41.1 square miles of water. With so much water, how could you not have a great time!
Aransas Pass lies on Redfish Bay. Redfish are a plentiful variety of fish as well as black drum, flounder and sheepshead that also ply the bay making this place a fisherman’s delight. The main industries here a shrimping and tourism along with farming, as well as oil and gas interests. The shrimp boat fleet sails from Conn Brown Harbor, a large, protected harbor chiefly dedicated to the shrimping industry. The area is popular for saltwater sports fishing and beach-going. The locals enjoy a nice aquatic park as well as a spacious park that has a big playground and a couple of baseball fields.
Aransas Pass has plentiful Live Oak trees. They don’t grow very large here, maybe 25′ but are a welcome site compared to some of the desert flora that we’ve been through. Many of them grow right here at Aransas Oaks RV Park. One can understand how hurricane tidal surges can effect large areas in this part of the country as there is not even a ripple on this flat land.
Across Redfish Bay on Mustang Island is Port Aransas (3400 souls). It’s the only established town here on one of the longest the barrier islands along the Texas coast. The island can be accessed by road from Corpus Christi or by the free Texas Transportation ferry from Aransas Pass. In the 19th century the port was frequented by pirates. Jean Lafitte was one of them.
The 1916 Texas Hurricane destroyed Port Aransas except for a few buildings. The docks, wharf and warehouses were now on the mainland, and the island was flooded and infested with rattlesnakes. The destruction of the 1916 Texas Hurricane did not discourage the people of Port Aransas for very long. After the city was rebuilt, it became a destination for anglers, tourists, surfers, and vacationers.
I think the Texas Hurricane explains to me why Aransas Pass is now the primary fishing port. The hurricane may explain the small oak trees? I think it would be easier to remember their names if Aransas Pass were the name of Port Aransas as it lies right on the pass and Aransas Pass now is home the primary port. So what do you think, shall we switch their names?
Yesterday we did a little snooping in Corpus Christi, the intent was to take the walking tour of Heritage Park.
It’s a collection of 12 historic homes that have been moved into a park like setting. All was well until we stepped out of the car- and the heavens opened up drenching us. The rain subsided a bit then again came down in buckets. We were soaked to the bone so decided to give up on that venture.
Next on the list was Corpus Christi Cathedral. “Little miss smarty Pants” wanted us to jump back on the freeway to travel a distance of one mile. Ain’t gonna do that so we drove through a portion of the delightful looking downtown. The church was closed as expected. We got our photo and a good look of downtown as the Cathedral sits on a hill.
We then drove back over the bridge to the aircraft carrier Lexington to get a few photos.
This is the ship that was commissioned in 1942 replacing the Lexington that was severely damaged then scuttled during the war.
She had the longest active service life of any other Essex class ship. The WWII ship is now a museum.
One can board ship and see what the old gal is all about. Boy, that ship is LARGE and easy to see from a distance. But there’s lots of road construction between it and us making navigating toward it difficult.
The weather didn’t improve much yesterday. This morning the fog was so thick that visibility of 100 yards would be a stretch.
We went to church in Aransas Pass, then found the county park and ran the dogs as not a soul was there.
We came home, cleaned up the RV and are making ready to travel tomorrow. Oh, and yes, we will be watching the Super Bowl game! As a matter of fact lots of folks in the park are having a tailgate party of sorts- BBQ, bon fire, all watching the game via a rig’s out door TV.