We are back in our old stomping grounds. We made a stop in San Antonio for a week to visit Cindy’s sister. For the past few days we have traveled around the Corpus Christi Bay area in Texas. I can’t believe I can write sentences beginning with the words, “Thirty years ago”. This makes me feel like age is catching up. I try to keep running away from the age goblins but sooner or later age is going to win, just not today. So, here goes: thirty years ago, we kept Water-Melon in these waters and cut our teeth into cruise boat sailing.
At the time when our boat was in Texas, we lived in San Antonio and commuted to the boat about 3 out of 4 weekends leaving on a Friday after work. The speed limit was 55 mph then and it took exactly 2 hours and 17 minutes from house to boat. Now the speed limit is at 75 mph and the trip can be made in less than 2 hours. We often sailed from Corpus Christi Marina to Island Moorings Marina, Key Alegro Marina or Port Aransas Marina where we had friends to hang out with. We sailed over on Saturday after a leisurely breakfast and arrived mid afternoon. One of our favorite restaurants in Port Aransas was Jackie’s. It is now called Fin’s but the food is still just as good. We would sail back to Corpus Christi on Sunday and then drive to San Antonio in time to fire up the BBQ for our traditional Sunday feast. Cindy and I have always taken time on Sundays to prepare a delicious meal. Weather permitting it’s usually BBQ.
One of the most notable changes in the area was the Corpus Christi City Marina where we kept Water-Melon. The entire facility has been given a face lift. They installed new docks and fixed the crumbling T-heads. I have often thought about bringing Cream Puff here for nostalgia sake. However, this area of the coast is hard to leave. The winds always blow from the southeast and guess what direction we’d have to go to sail out of here. Maybe in the future, one day, but we have no plans to sail here anytime soon. It was a lot of fun walking the docks and reminiscing about the old days. I can’t help but wonder what happened to our old dock friends. It will be hard for some of our younger readers to grasp this but, when we sailed in this area GPS was just becoming available. We still used paper charts back then. We knew the bay by heart. Every once and a while we hit a sand bar and bounced off the bottom. The bottom was mud so it was never much of a worry.
Long after we move to Atlanta and trucked Water-Melon to Lake Lanier, Cindy’s parents purchased a waterfront house in Rockport. Last year Hurricane Harvey made landfall here as a category 4 storm. The sleepy coastal town of Rockport didn’t get much news coverage since the same storm caused massive flooding in Houston. The eye of the storm passed less than a couple of miles from their home. Needless to say, the area was really badly damaged and the rebuilding continues today. Sadly, many people moved away from the town after the storm and probably will not return. Others decided to rebuild and start over. Very few homes escaped the damage. Almost a year later, the economy in this area is booming with new construction and repairs. Today driving down a neighborhood street there are two categories of homes: those repaired looking new again or those still needing a little help. The condemned homes have long been removed and people are choosing to rebuild or keep the insurance money and sell the lot. There are a lot of lots for sale. The rebuilding will continue for a few years and eventually the entire area will look great as all the homes will sport new paint and roofs. The slogan “Rockport Strong” has caught on and is plastered on souvenirs at gift shops and banners on businesses.
Owning a cruising sailboat is expensive. I will not even try to begin to list the various expenses associated with ownership because that would make this post about 20 pages long. You’ll just have to trust me on this. Contrary to belief, boat owners are not rich people. Most are regular people with an expensive hobby. They can boat because they are willing to sacrifice other material things. We fit into this category. I have a funny tale that goes along with this.
Prior to us buying Water-Melon, Cindy and I often drove to the Bay area and we walked the docks and T-heads looking at boats. On most of these trips we ate at a restaurant located at the end of one of the T-heads called the Lighthouse Restaurant. We sat outside with a view of the marina and watched the boats sail in and out. Inevitably, it wasn’t long before one of us would mutter the phrase, “I sure wish we could afford a boat”.
A few years later we purchased Water-Melon and docked the boat in the same marina where we had once oohed and aahed over the boats from the veranda of the Lighthouse Restaurant. Our slip was located in such a place that to exit and enter the marina we had to sail right passed the restaurant every time. We found ourselves looking up at the restaurant and saying, “Sure wish we could afford to eat there”.