After two cups of coffee and a cold shower I found myself with a trailer fully loaded with kayaks and a van fully loaded with college kids. It was 8:00am on a crisp, Saturday morning and I was preparing to make a six hour drive to the gulf coast; just another day at the office.
Our goal was to sea kayak from Port O’ Connor near Galveston to Sunday beach on Matagorda Island. Our group was quite diverse, with students from China, Germany, and France as well as some good ole’ local Dallas boys. After a long day of driving and a fantastic brisket sandwich in La Grange we arrived at our first campsite in Port Lavaca on the mainland. We spent the first night with the friendly campsite owners, who even let us use their grill to cook our silver turtles! For those of you unfamiliar with back-country cooking, silver turtles involve carrots, onions, potatoes, and burger patties all wrapped in tinfoil roasting on open coals. Throw some cheese and spices on top of ‘em and you’ll never dread camp-food again.
The next morning, bright and early, we launched our boats into choppy, cerulean waters and started our seven mile trip to Sunday beach. The first leg involved crossing a deep channel made for shipping containers and boats. Since the start of the trip everyone had been asking me what kind of marine life we would see, and whether we would see any dolphins. Sure enough, less than a minute into our trip we spotted a pair of dolphins playing not 30 feet from our boats. With the crew energized, we pushed on and within another two hours we were resting just offshore from an old, abandoned coast guard station eating lunch. The view of the gulf was magnificent and the myriad of birds perched on the old station was a sight to see.
By four o’clock we were within spitting distance of our final destination: Sunday beach. We could hear the roar of the ocean across the island which was thankfully sheltering our approach. Our timing couldn’t have been better because as we finished up the last leg of the trip it happened to be dinner time for the wildlife around us. Birds were socializing on the sandbar to our left while fish were leaping out of the water to snatch insects off the surface to our right. The more adventurous birds glided over the bay and dove for their meals.
Amidst this cacophony we landed on a small, white strip of beach flanked by sand dunes on either side. Once we had pulled our boats out of the water we took a break and crossed the island to the gulf side. It was low tide and the tide was weak enough to let us swim out past the break safely. After a half hour of soaking in the sunset we set up camp and cooked up a quick dinner of cheese and bean burritos. With our bodies beat and our bellies full we promptly passed out.
The third day we slept in. We had a whole day to relax and enjoy the island. After a healthy breakfast of oatmeal and grits we set out to set up our tarp. The sun was already high in the sky and we all were looking forward to some shade. Eventually we got the tarp up right out on the beach with the waves crashing only 50 feet away. With some relief from the sun in place we spent the rest of the day skim-boarding, tossing the Frisbee around, and swimming in the bay. At sunset we split into two teams, a cooking team and a team to collect firewood. By nightfall we had a roaring campfire on the beach and a delicious pasta dinner on our plates. It seems the sun had really taken it out of us because soon we were fast asleep on the beach under the stars.
The final morning we woke up early, loaded the boats, and scarfed down the rest of our breakfast supplies. By 9:30am we were on the water making the trip back to Port O’ Connor. Surprise, surprise we saw about eight more dolphins on the way back, and we even saw a couple jelly fish floating alongside us. We reached our docking point an hour ahead of schedule and decided to stop for a huge, Tex-Mex lunch at the lovely La Parrilla Restaurant. After a superb enchilada platter we loaded up, popped in ‘The Dark Knight’, and hit the road for SMU. It was an unforgettable trip to say the least and I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.
Dexter Jacobs – Trip Leader.