“After reading the history, a person can look up and see where each ship was moored and what direction the torpedo planes swooped in. The historical information and vista makes it easy to visualize the event. I get the same feeling when visiting various old forts and lighthouses such as the Civil War era Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.”
Reprinted from MAIB.
Day 5: “Historically Epic”
Ah, the chance to sleep in late! So nice, air conditioned, er, wait, damn it’s cold and the sun peeking in through the curtains brightening the room. Not to mention a bit of hydraulic pressure I’m feeling. Bleah, may as well get up! With the morning “chores” taken care of, I open the door to a brilliantly lit seaside view that promises the usual Texas heat later on. Given a full day before tomorrow’s fnale on Maggy Beach, I fgure a trip back to Port Aransas is in order, this time to visit a boat far older than I, the USS Lexington, a WWII carrier turned museum ship. Over the decades I have been fortunate to tour or visit most of the existing historical US ships across America. From the USS North Carolina and USS Alabama, to the mighty USS Missouri and the Arizona Memorial. There are a few to see yet though and this is a golden opportunity to check the Lex off the list.
The self guided tour is fantastic with well done displays, historical facts, an incredible media presentation on the Pearl Harbor attack plus rooms dedicated to other WWII ships and the brave men manning them. All throughout I record hours of video documentation for another of the many hobbles I do, Model Warship Combat. Halfway through the tour the phone dings a message. Turns out Gordo is inviting me to go out for dinner. Sounds like a plan and something to do tonight! I agree and we set a meet up time later.
Heading back in the late afternoon, I re? ect with satisfaction on taking the trip to see the ship. For some reason seeing history at places and objects makes it more real to me. Knowing that I am standing where history took place, seeing things that were seen back then, flls the imagination and makes one wonder what it was like to be there. A great example is the Arizona Memorial Park in Hawaii where tables placed about the park point out signifcant Pearl Harbor attack events.
After reading the history, a person can look up and see where each ship was moored and what direction the torpedo planes swooped in. The historical information and vista makes it easy to visualize the event. I get the same feeling when visiting various old forts and lighthouses such as the Civil War era Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Fort Massachusetts on Mississippi’s West Ship barrier island is another place on my to do list to visit.
After getting cleaned up at the hotel it’s back to Maggy Beach to visit Gordo. He and his wife are staying in a local RV park. Very cool! RVing and taking trips is another thing our family likes to do. We’ve done epic trips to include California (north for the redwoods, south for Disney), Yellowstone National Park, Lake Tahoe, Vegas, Reno and a few cross US trips in between military assignments. Yeah, it’s a slower trip but we see way more than anyone ?ying thousands of feet above the ground!
Anchored at Bird Island and chatting with other participants. Photo Credit: John Bratton
We chat for a while and fnd we have a good bit in common. So much so that we actually don’t get to talk about it all before it is time to head out for dinner. Apparently there is a small local marina in nearby Indianola with a reportedly good grill. A short drive later we meet up with a few more T200 participants (sorry, but I forget names).
Even from the parking lot we can hear the dockside music. Inside, the marina store is tiny. They take our order (steak!) at the checkout counter and we head out the back to the dock, to be blasted with a great sounding but VERY LOUD live band. It is so loud that even while shouting it’s hard to hear the person next to you! We move to another table at the dock’s other end which helps a little, at least we will go deaf slower. The food lives up to the favorable reputation. While loud, the band is pretty good. People fsh off the electric lit dock into darkened night time water. The place is literally packed with people. All in all a good time for everyone on a Friday night.
After dropping off Gordo and saying goodnight, I head back to Port Lavaca and the hotel. It was a good day, even if not spent on the water with the Texas 200 sailors still on the trip. We will all meet up tomorrow on Magnolia Beach for the fnish and celebratory shrimp boll. Until then, a soft bed, air conditioning, zzzzzzz.
Day 6: “All Good Things”
Checking out of the motel at 9am is refreshing. Not having to worry about being someplace by a certain time makes trip planning incredibly easy, not to mention being able to sleep in a little. Heh. A couple of hours later fnds me at Maggy Beach searching for our pavilion. Interestingly we are in the frst one instead of the middle one like 2014. Pro, next to the parking lot. Con, gotta walk to the bathrooms. Gordo and a few others are already there greeting everyone,
I wander off to see and video the beach last seen in 2014 when Dad and I fnished a day early. The beach is pretty much the same as then. A guy zips around on a PWC (personal watercraft) just off the beach. Families enjoy the water and beach. The sun is bright and day is warm with little wind. Hmm, not a lot of wind at all. What little there is seems to be coming from the north straight into the faces of our sailors. That may make a longer day than usual.
Over the next few hours, reports trickle in from the boats. A handful of boats stopping last night in the ICW to shorten the trip to Magnolia Beach today, perhaps a Saturday Night Special sailing in the darkness watching glowing phosphorescent wake and dodging those little ?ying fsh popping out all around them. Sometime midday sees boats starting to trickle in. Not sailing though. The few with motors put them to good use. Luckily for those without motors, the wind shifts to the normal southern breeze and picks up some, though remains light. As the boats arrive, I attempt to video each landing.
By 4pm, most of the boats have arrived. Matt S gives all a short congratulatory speech and gives thanks for the organizers before turning us loose on the shrimp boll. Mmmm, huge boiled shrimp, potatoes, corn on the cob, all seasoned spicy for an outstandingly delicious meal! With many participants already on the road for home, there is enough for seconds, all washed down with refreshing Shiners beer. Very good! Wanting to get on the road, I bid adieu to all and get on the road by 5pm for the long 13 hour drive home to Mississippi. Unlike past epic trips, this one is smooth with a nighttime stopover for a rest. Midday Sunday fnds Mulsae and myself safely home.
On the Texas 200’s fnal day in 2014, I made a video comment when asked if I would return to sail in the future. My answer then was “Ask me in a month.” I needed time to mentally process the adventure before deciding if it was something to be done again. This year, the question’s answer is an immediate “Yes!”
Withdrawing early feels like a failure even though there were valid reasons. Although I had prepared for this trip there were gaps and things that could have been done to be more successful, such as sailing the boat before the trip to get used to it, practicing reefng, bringing the paper charts versus accidently leaving them on the kitchen table and doing a lot more prep work on the boat to make it easier to single hand. Chances are very good Mulsae and her captain will be sailing in the 2017 Texas 200, this time far more prepared and ready for a full course adventure! Until then, Fair Winds!