Finally, after spending a week and a half
sitting at a dock in Aransas Pass Texas,
we were told to take the barge to Nederland, Texas.
Let me tell you,
you won't find either of these towns
on Discovery Channel's
"Most beautiful Destinations."
When I awoke this morning and walked out on deck
it was nice to see some different scenery,
even if it was just grass.
The reason I brought my camera outside with me today
was because I wanted to take a picture of the ship at this dock,
and send it too my wife.
This dock holds special meaning to Mary Ellen
because 30 years ago she sailed to and docked at this very dock
when she was working as a deckhand on an oil tanker.
( I met her on a ship )
The ship she was on came to this dock in Texas frequently
and she learned a few things,
one of them being,
right outside the gate of the terminal there used to be a joint
that sold the best Tex/Mex food she ever had.
When I called her today from the boat
and explained where I was, she reminded me
that the lady who owned it would look for when her ship was in,
and she would be sure to have something vegetarian for her,
knowing that my wife would definitely be stopping in.
Mary always asks me if the place is still there.
My answer is always, "I have no idea,"
and here's why.
In 1980 when my wife was hugging the owner of the Tex/Mex joint,
(She comes from a long line of huggers, if this lady was fixing her up with vegetarian food
you can be sure she got hugged )
for her to go ashore, all she had to do was walk down the gangway of the ship
and either walk out through the terminal to the gate,
or call a cab, that would come down to the dock to pick her up.
Those days are gone.
That was before we started living in fear, before Bin Laden,
before profiling, before ungodly airport security delays and before we started getting frisked at public venue's.
Things have changed.
If I want to go ashore, first I need to notify my office,
who will then send to the "security" of this particular dock,
a crew list, which has the names of all the crew members on board our boat.
After an hour or so when that got taken care of,
I could walk off the boat
to a shack about 50 ft from the boat,
where I would show the guard my I.D.,
which consists of a TWIC card,
(Transportation workers identification card)
which came into being weeks after 9/11.
The guard would then call someone,
and maybe 30 minutes later if I was lucky,
a guy driving a terminal truck and wearing a shiny sheriffs badge
would pull up to wisk me up to the front gate.
He would say nothing during the drive, he takes his job very seriously.
Upon arriving at security point #2
I would encounter more security, more intimidating stares, more name signing and TWIC card showing,
all the while being sure to be wearing my hard hat and work vest.
I'm telling you, getting through Check Point Charlie was easier.
So, is the Tex/Mex joint still there?
I have no idea?
It's just too hard.
I haven't been ashore since 9/11.
I took some photos today,
Our Captain inspecting our rescue boat.
our Captain climbing up the side of the boat
to change a light bulb.
To be clear, the Captain doesn't have to do these things,
he has a crew for that.
When he came down the ladder I asked him,
in a motherly tone,
"Have you been drinking coffee again?"
Sheepishly he answered, yes.
We like to keep him on decaf when at all possible.
It's probably safe to say this guys boat modification
that he did in his backyard....
probably breaks a half dozen rules
concerning vessel stability.
As all days,
this one too came to an end,
with some much needed showers
for parched Texas.