Texas 2008
The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

There were two very separate opportunities to photograph things on this trip. First, while my wife attended seminars with her co-workers, us spouses had a field trip to the Downtown Aquarium in Houston.

(click on any image to view full-size)

This Clown Triggerfish has double camouflage. From below, it looks like sunlight on the surface of the water. From above it looks like reef.

The Archerfish is one you read about in school texts all the time, but I'd never seen one before.

I no longer recall what this fish is, other than photogenic.

This one, on the other hand, is quite recognizable, It's a pufferfish, or fugu.

The horseshoe crabs were quite nifty, and not behind glass either. Is it cool or just disturbing that 'kid-friendly' things support my hobby?

Another one commonly seen in books, the Lionfish.

The piranha isn't nearly as deadly as Sillywood says. But nothing is. As a good friend says: "If snow fell on America only once a century, they'd make a movie where it was lethal."

Another fish I forgot the name of. Something about the shape of the head looks familiar, but I'm no ichthyologist.

This skate is in the glassless area too. Wanna touch?

 The next big photo-op came on Saturday, when we drove down to Galveston. Galveston celebrates this wierd erzatz Mardi-Gras in late January. This was okay, because while everyone else was sleeping off the party, some nifty places were mostly empty.

 The day started out rather overcast, so we went for a drive. We decided to take a sightseeing ride up the Bolivar Peninsula, so we headed to the free Bolivar ferry. The ferry ride itself was a photo-op.

Here, a common-as-dirt Cowbird shows off it's two-tone colour scheme, and it's boat-tail.

The Laughing Gulls were present too, and the gusty wind was helping another common bird look more interesting.

The Cormorants were also on the scene. I enjoyed their stark colour scheme, and the poses they offered while preening were like anatomy studies.

 Once we were off the ferry we headed north along the Bolivar Peninsula. Suddenly we passed a sign that said something about birds, at an otherwise uninteresting side road. Turning around we headed back to read 'Bolivar Flats Bird Sanctuary". (or words to that effect).

Less than 200 yards down the road we began to see Great Egrets.

Not too shabby for a chance drive on an overcast morning. Thank you, Audubon Society.

The beach itself was less photogenic. The weather was coming down but small shorebirds could still be seen.  

After a morning in the sea breeze we turned back to the ferry. The clouds cleared as we went south, so once again, the ferry itself was a good platform to shoot from.

From the ferry we could see a submarine on the shoreline. Consulting our tourist pamphlets we decided to visit 'Seawolf Park'. Seawolf Park is a little confusing. It's on the tip of Pelican Island, so from the ferry dock you drive all the way around the main harbour. Once there you find that there are two boats on display: the USS Cavalla, a WWII era sub; and the USS Stewart, a destroyer escort of the same time. Neither has anything to do with the Seawolf submarine that the park was named for.  This must be one of those attractions that "just growed". As we stepped out of the car to go see the ships, we decided to stretch our legs along the harbourside walkway first. That's where we saw the dolphins...

They were fishing deep, diving for minutes, then coming to surface briefly with their gleanings.

My best guess is that there were only three of them. Here they were all at the surface at the same moment.

The dolphins were being followed around not only by me with my camera, but also by some opportunistic brown pelicans.

If the deep hunters were scaring fish towards the surface, the pelicans were happy meet them in the middle.

This pelican was on his own, cruising on the other side of the point.

Meanwhile, back at the walkway, a local fisherman ran afoul of some mighty persistent panhandlers. Or panbeaklers. Whatever.

Not even my Labrador Retriever can do the 'I'm not asking for anything special, nooooo" look as well as this.

Text and images copyright Glenn Gill. Permission is granted for personal use at no charge. Contact me for commercial use, or to order prints.