Woods, waters and wildlife: The coast is clear-ing

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We’ve camped a lot. Throughout the west, along the coast, once at a boat ramp in a crowded state park, another time -- after arriving after dark at a Tennessee park -- beneath a turkey roost that we didn’t know about until the turkeys started coming down all around us just at dawn -- long before we had intended to wake up. But this was the first time on a yacht.

Vicky needed a short vacation from her stressful career and wanted to hear the gulls and count the waves. And I’m always ready to go anywhere. But finding a place to stay on the Texas Riviera – Rockport, Aransas Pass and Port Aransas -- proved challenging.

Several places we had stayed before Hurricane Harvey were still under repair from the 150-plus mph winds, torrential rains, and surging sea water. We turned to the Internet for help.

One thing that popped up intrigued us – a moored yacht at Cove Harbor, near Rockport. The price was comparable to a decent coastal hotel; being adventurous, we booked it. Thus, began our allegory.

The description sounded ideal – a 1970s Chris Craft on the water with a great view of the sunrise. All true. Directions were the problem. A promised video never arrived. We can follow directions, but these were impossible! We asked Siri for help, and she took us back into Rockport, then back to Cove Harbor. It only took four hours to get to Rockport, initially, but another three hours, a phone call and a text to finally find the gate! Then the key box wouldn’t open with the furnished combination. More contacts; more lost time. Finally, an apology and the correct, recently-changed combination got us in. Exhausted and disgusted, we climbed aboard. Refreshments on the deck with a trophy breeze eased the pain.

The rest wasn’t bad, although his water system went dry, and the water closet was lame. A promised bottle of wine was lacking, but we didn’t care.

Rockport, Aransas Pass, and Port Aransas are still recovering. Some visible damage remains. The Aransas Pass Progress newspaper had water throughout its offices, and still got the paper out on time by setting up elsewhere -- for four months! Only two gas stations are open in Port Aransas plus boating gas at marinas. Filling up at the H-E-B pumps in Aransas Pass is recommended. The venerable old Tarpon Inn in Port Aransas made it through another storm and is open. Accommodations are about 50 percent operational in all three towns. Bait may be scarce.

While on our yacht, we heard about a coastal boating accident. A young man was apparently thrown from a boat and struck by the propeller. Details are sketchy, but Harvey might have changed some navigation lanes, creating dangerous hazards. And this is Safe Boating Week!

The good news is that fishing is widely reported as being as good or better that EVER! And the beaches are virtually FREE of seaweed!

Perhaps that “ill wind” blew a little good after all.

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