Mini Voyage of Ocean Breeze from the Arroyo Colorado to Port Mansfield, Texas

16 March 2006

The adventurers

Joseph and Tom

Gerard (the skipper at leisure) .

We (Tom, my son Joseph and I) launched at a park on the Arroyo Colorado, just E. of Harlingen, TX and sailed down the channel (east) then made a 90 degree left and headed north to Port Mansfield, TX sailing up Laguna Madre.

Green Island is a bird sanctuary run by the Audubon Society. Landing is forbidden, except for the caretaker. Lots of shore birds nest on this island. The island has long low sand spits extending north and south from the higher main part.

The wind was robust enough in the morning, and generally builds to over 25 mph in the mid-afternoon.
We started out with the Dolphin Sr. sail.
At noon found a "desert island" to explore and ate lunch.

This island is un-named. Its a tiny bit of sand, about 150 feet in diameter, with some hardy vegitation. Amazingly, it has at least one colony of tiny ants.

Gerard and Joseph on the "desert" island.
The south Texas sun is fierce. One covers up and/or slathers on lots of sunscreen to prevent serious skin damage.

The Dolphin Sr. sail is furled along its yard and boom and securly lashed to the deck. We set a very small sprit sail replacing the lateen as a prudent preparation for the afternoon wind.


The sprit rig hoisted in preparation for the strong afternoon breeze, which often comes in at a steady 25 mph or more.
That is the Joshua Slocum Society International burgee flying from the masthead.

At first we thought that the green smuge on the horizon was a bouy.
When we got closer we found a wading fisherman in a green jacket.
As you can see it is not very deep. If you would turn around and look in the other direction you would see the Intercoastal Canal (deep water) some 1/4 mile away, and the mainland beyond that several hundred yards.

I got "inventive" and found a 5ft x 7ft silver tarp, bent it on an old 8 ft mast I had aboard (the spare mast) ... added square sail braces and sheets, then hoisted the lot along with the sprit sail to have additional sail.
It worked better than I expected. This is the first time I ever used poly-tarp for a sail.


I could not get far enough back to get this sail rig in on one picture,
so took several shots and made this mosaic from 4 pictures taken.

This was the only commercial traffic we met on the Intercoastal. Probably a barge of gasoline en-route to Port Isabel.

Port Mansfield, TX is growing.
This yellow building is where the old harbor masters building was, now its some resort
and the harbor master occupies the building deeper in the harbor where the Coast Guard was.
The Coast Guard moved out of town and this area is now serviced from Port Isabel.

We docked, drove back to Adolph Thomae Park using the truck we had parked at Port Mansfield the previous day to get the truck and trailer to haul out and return home. It was a full day... a good day for a sail and an adventure.

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