Friday, May 11, 2012

Salt water smell

Those who have made the transition to boat living probably don't much notice the salt water smell all around them anymore. That is how the human nose works; after a while smells fade into the background. And, given that even the cleanest and most meticulously maintained boats still manage to be pretty stinky places sometimes, that is probably a pretty good thing.

Thursday the pilot in me was tasked with bringing a plane load to the Gulf Coast for some big goings-on; big enough to keep us here over the weekend. Mmm...a couple of days to kill, a rental car, blue water somewhere not too far away? The sailor in me thinks its time to go a-wondering. The Maps-app on the smart phone suggests there is a place called the "Sabine Pass Battleground State Historical Park" south of the hotel and down near big water. Never heard of, it but it sounds interesting. It may be a smart phone, but it apparently isn't exactly sure where the Battleground is, or maybe where it is - either way when we get to where it says we should be, we are somewhere else.  The Sabine Pass Port Authority, (which sounds close) doesn't look much like a State Historical Park but the locked gate keeps us from going any further. A working-looking pick-up truck pulls up along side of our rental car and I tell him what we are looking for.

"Follow us." An offer too good to refuse. And a few miles later we pull through the gate to one of the neatest places I have seen in a while. I'm not much of a Civil War buff and, being an East Coast kind of person, wasn't much aware that the Civil War raged this far west. It did though. The park lies right along the Sabine River inlet hard against a giant ship loading gantry and surrounded by oil platforms waiting to be towed out into the gulf and put to work. People who know me suspect I am not much of a fit with the southern, particularly TX, mentality. But this is the kind of place I like; worked over and hard working, a place full of boats but not a party-barge in sight. Someday maybe I'll bring a sailboat this way.

The park itself was filled with High School kids on an outing, but still managed to invoke (in me anyway) that bit of somberness I find anytime I stand on ground where my fellow human beings sacrificed (or tossed away - depending on your point of view) young lives over arguments that old men were having.

It wasn't as good as being on Kintala this weekend, working with Deb and thrashing on a V-drive. But the smell of salt water is an okay substitute, and memories of the park will last a long time.