Sand Castles and Red Tide

Click for Port Isabel, Texas Forecast

In early May we visited, and wrote about, the Sandfest activities in Port Aransas, TX., which is the largest sand castle competition along the Gulf Coast.  Last weekend South Padre Island hosted a smaller version of the “castle” building.

The competition took place at Isla Blanca Park at the south end of the island. The structures were no less spectacular.




They even had a “Lesson Beach” section to teach some of the techniques to novices.


Unfortunately, we learned about a new beach hazard.  The Red Tide.   The red tide is an algae bloom that is not harmful to humans, but quite deadly to fish.  Thousands of dead fish were spotted by the Coast Guard just off shore and some were washing up on the beach.

One side effect of the red tide is that the blooms emit  particles that are irritating to everyone’s breathing.   Everyone we spotted had a hacking cough that quit when they traveled a short distance from the beach.

Smart people came prepared with masks.


Most of the artists came prepared.


We headed up the beach about a half mile along the beach at the north end of the road.  The surf was extremely rough, and the tide so high, that we didn’t want to work that hard to travel up the beach.  With the red tide, we didn’t plan to spend much time in the sand anyway.


Texas Parks and Wildlife keep a website to advise on the various beach conditions, including the Red Tide.  (Click Here)

We will certainly check out the conditions before our next visit.

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