Not too many things can be more enjoyable than a nice quiet Saturday afternoon in January on the water in the coastal bend area of Texas. With the temperature around 74 degrees, the winds light at 7 to 11 mph and the occasional dolphin rising to the surface it just doesn’t get much better than that. Port Aransas is small resort/fishing village on the north end of Mustang Island. To get there take Texas State Hwy. 35 N. out of Corpus Christi. Follow the signs to Port Aransas. Eventually you will end up at the ferry landing across the channel from Port Aransas.
The Texas Department of Transportation runs a free ferry service so just wait your turn and soon you‘ll be on your way across the shipping channel.
The marina area can be very busy at times as it is visited by fishermen from all over North America. This is true especially during the winter months as people from up north arrive to get away from the snow and cold. There are also several deep sea charter companies that originate in Port Aransas as well as commercial shrimpers.Lucie Belle
, the Hobie Oasis is ready to go.
Here's a basic map of the path I took out of the Marina and into the channel. The one shipping channel that veers to the right, goes into the Gulf of Mexico. The channel going north is part of the intercoastal waterway and stays inside of the barrier islands all the way up the coast.
A local Brown Pelican watches the traffic entering the channel.
The trip between Port Aransas, Texas and the Lydia Ann Channel Lighthouse can be a nice carefree way to spend some down time.
In 1851 the U.S. congress authorized that $12,500 dollars be allocated for a lighthouse to be built marking the shipping channel between St. Joseph Island on the north and Mustang Island on the south. For the next several years negotiations and planning occurred to determine where to place the light house and how should it be built.
A piece of land was finally purchased on Harbor Island and plans were solidified to build the light house out of brick.
In 1856 a ship was attempting to bring in the building materials when a storm struck causing the ship to run aground and sink. All the building materials were lost.
Finally the following year the building materials arrived and the new structure was completed and commissioned. A few years later, the civil war caused a new chapter in the history of this light house to be written.
This area switched often between the control of the forces of the confederacy or those of the union. In 1862 a confederate general ordered the destruction of the tower.
Two kegs of powder were placed within the tower to blow it apart. It didn’t quite work out as planned. The blast destroyed the top of the tower and some of the brickwork near the top. The spiral staircase was also destroyed. The rest of the structure withstood the blast.
By 1867 the lighthouse had been repaired and was put back into service until 1952. By that time the actual pass that had once been marked by the lighthouse had migrated about a mile south of the original channel due to silting and erosion of the islands. New light installations had been put in place for the channel, the channel had been stabilized by rock jettys and the original lighthouse no longer served it’s purpose.
In 1955 the U.S. Government sold the lighthouse into private hands for a winning bid of a little more than $25,000. It has been resold a few times over the years but continues to be in fairly good repair due to the interest of the buyers. At this time a caretaker looks over the property and though people are not allowed on the property without permission, it can be rented for a variety of purposes including wedding receptions and the like.
The trip back to Port Aransas offers a nice view of the Skyline and occaisionally the opportunity to see a large ship going into or out of the Gulf Of Mexico. This trip totaled 4.47 miles on my GPS so it's an easy and pleasant trip if you are not in any hurry.
With Lucie Belle
loaded and the gear stowed this trip is drawing to a close.
Back on the ferry the last part of this adventure is just recrossing the channel. I hope you enjoyed this little trip to our wonderfull old lighthouse as much as I did. If you ever get a chance to get down this way you might want to put this on your list of things,"to do."