GASP! Gulf Area Sea Paddlers
Copyright By Ken Johnson
Just returned from my almost nightly paddle on Corpus Christi Bay. Beautiful sunset, clear pure blue sky with white fluffy clouds, and magical colored teal blue bay with bright white sparkling whitecaps. The bay is a different color each time I paddle, harbor dredge islands are loaded with a variety of about 10 different kinds of birds, city skyline gleaming in the golden sun, white sandy beaches....I never tire of it. Can grab my kayak and be in the water in five minutes. Frequently paddle by a super tanker entering or leaving the port, and sometimes have a pod of dolphins romping along beside the kayak. The pelicans are absolutely majestic as they soar inches above the water, as are the black skimmers.
I retired six years ago to kayak "full-time" and looked at Costa Rica, Mexico, and South Texas as possibilities. Chose Corpus Christi because it was the least expensive with most sunny days and lots of variety of paddling right at hand. The Aransas River which comes into Copano Bay at Bayside is fantastic to paddle. You rarely see another person, and it feels like a scene in "Out of Africa" as you paddle through the winding river, with banks lined with all kinds of trees, birds, alligators, javalin, and deer. The only sound is the paddle in the water and the birds. It is just a 40 minute drive from Corpus Christi. And it is 30 minutes to Padre Island which again is loaded with about 20-30 different kinds of birds on all the bird nesting islands in the Laguna Madre. The gulf is great with the surf and oil rigs resting in clear blue water with lots of fish.
I have done many kayaking trips. In February I took a two week trip to Florida, renting a house at Key Largo to paddle the keys and the Everglades. In September I took a one month trip with kayak, mountain bike, and camping/hiking gear stopping at Sequoia, Yosemite, Crater Lake, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, the kayak symposium at the Olympic Rain Forest, and then back along the Washington, Oregon and California coast. Before that have paddled North Shore of Lake Superior, the Apostle Islands while attending the Trek kayak symposium at Bayfield, the eastern shore of Michigan while attending a kayak symposium at Holland, Green Bay Wisconsin and Rock Island, as well as San Diego and Baja's Scammond Lagoon in February to see the Gray Whales migrate. All in all, since I can live wherever I want, I would still choose Corpus Christi for the best paddling year around. I have had friends from California come out and paddle, telling me that they really appreciated the variety of paddling (bays, gulf, rivers, lakes) here more than in California, because in Calfornia they only had the Pacific.
I guess I am lucky. I never get bored paddling, like some other people I have paddled with. There is always different weather, wind, waves, currents, and I delight in seeing how the kayak handles differently in each situation.
I was really impressed with Jackie's description of the joys she has found paddling the Texas Coast...and I would have to day "ditto" but more so!
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