If you don’t have much time but still want to have an enjoyable trip, taking a short voyage from the Corpus
Christi Bay Marina out to the USS Lexington may be your answer. The round trip is just short of four miles, but don’t think this trip is short on action and things to see. Corpus Christi offers a beautiful skyline, the entrance to the port area under the Harbor Bridge always has an abundance of shipping traffic and because most of Corpus Christi Bay is relatively shallow (the shipping lanes have been dredged for depth) the action on the open water can be challenging. It took me three tries to finally complete this journey due to the open water conditions. The great thing however is the protection offered by the marina itself. There is a fairly extensive jetty system which offers safe passage for most of the trip no matter what is happening on the open water. This also allows the kayaker the opportunity to take stock of the conditions and temper his/her actions on both the conditions and their nerve factors. Another neat feature of the marina start is the free launch ramp at the Cooper’s Alley T-head. I have launched both using the standard Hobie Kayak Cart as well as a trailer launch. In both cases it was an easy, clean and fast launch. Corpus Christi generally has nice weather throughout the year. However, it can be quite windy during March and April so you may want to consider that before planning a trip this direction. I hope you enjoy the following pictures even half as much as I enjoyed taking them.
Welcome to the Corpus Christi Marina! You can't start any adventure without giving tribute to the "Nina" replica. This fine ship along with her sisters the "Pinta" and the "Santa Maria" sailed from Spain to the America's in 1992 as a celebration of the Columbus voyage 500 years before. The "Nina" was his favorite ship.
This trip begins by going past Joe's Crab Shack. I like the idea of having a place to go fuel up if the trip takes too much out of me.
There's the target, the USS Lexington. At this point it is about a mile and a half due north.
I don't know why the buildings look like they're swaying. Maybe it's my inexpensive camera. Personally I'd like to think they may have had just a bit too much on Saturday night. I just hope they don't fall over and pass out. Now that would be a mess!
Well they have straightened out a little as I pass them. Maybe the city will survive after all.
The Harbor Bridge is one of the major landmarks of Corpus Christi. As this marks the entrance to the industrial port area of the city, pleasure craft like a Hobie Kayak are not allowed to go under the bridge and into the port waterway.
Preparing to enter the port area, two LPG barges are being manuevered into the waterway by a pusher boat.
Immediately behind the barges comes a Greek tanker with a two tug escort. Note all the birds following the shrimper dragging his nets. One thing you soon learn in a kayak in Corpus Christi Bay, you are one of the smallest things out there, so watch out.
Ahh!! There she is, the USS Lexington. Now all I have to do is dodge the shipping traffic and I might have a chance of getting there.
There goes the Greek tanker with the second tug in place to act as a set of brakes when the right time comes. Check out the flat water. Good time to make a mad dash for the Lex before my good fortune changes.
If you have a big ego when you are out in your kayak, this might be a good time to put it in your back pocket. Now I know what small feels like.
I've heard that those depth charges are inert. Good, I still don't want any to fall off their racks.
I was wondering how they managed to keep the Lex in place as there are permanent ramps for the many visitors. A native told me that when the ship was pulled into place, they immediately encased the underwater part of the hull in concrete to keep it from moving.
OK so there's the mast of the Oasis vs. the mast of the Lexington. I think mine is easier to store in the garage.
They claim that the Lexington is a small carrier. So where's the end of this thing? I need to get back so I can have lunch!
Ahh!! Finally the fantail. It was such a beautiful day that I unfurled the sail and caught an eight knot breeze on a beam reach back to the marina with no more pictures. I don't think it gets much better than this!