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0 Boating Adventures | "Mud Island Getaway" | Text and 6 Photos by Vicki Totten

Tiki Statue
"People can spend a great deal of money flying to exotic islands, seeking an experience of nature and some sense of solitude. But sometimes those experiences can also be found by looking in our own backyard - or in the case of Rockport - in our own nearby islands. Take Mud Island, for example.

For those not familiar with the area, Mud Island is a small, uninhabited island right next to San Jose Island, near the Lydia Ann Channel. San Jose, also sometimes referred to as St. Joseph's Island, is a private island owned by the Bass family. The only thing on the adjacent Mud Island, which is considered public land, is a half destroyed structure that used to protect the now half destroyed picnic table under it. There is also a nearby statue someone brought over, which caused that part of the island to sometimes be referred to as "Tiki Island."

Despite the unappealing name, a boat trip to Mud Island can provide visitors with some of the same kinds of experiences that are often sought after on those expensive vacations - except this one is totally free. A recent visit there helped me to appreciate what the island has to offer.

Our adventure began on one of those incredibly mild fall days we are often blessed with in Texas. There was a light breeze in the air and the temperature was hovering in the upper 70's and low 80's. We sailed out of the Rockport Harbor, following our friends Peggy and Scott in their boat. Our plan was to have dinner together on the island before retiring to our respective sailboats for the night.

The sail over was a bit slow because of the low wind, but you can sometimes sail the 4 to 5 miles from Rockport to Mud Island in around two hours. We weren't in any hurry and the winds were low, so the trip took us over 3 hours. It was a pleasant three hours though, with dolphins accompanying us most of the way, and other than our friends' boat, very few other boats in sight.

Dolphins accompanied us on our trip.
The idea was to anchor out and then dinghy and kayak over to the island to enjoy the dinner we had brought with us.

Unfortunately, the mosquitos scared us off after a few hours, so we ended up fleeing to our friends' boat to finish our barbeque before retiring for the evening. Sleeping under anchor on a Texas night when the weather is mild enough to keep the ports and hatches open is hard to beat. The only sounds are from the water splashing against the boat and the occasional birds flying nearby. After a good night's sleep on the water, we enjoyed our morning coffee with a spectacular sunrise before heading back to the island for more exploring.

The island had something to offer each of us. Stan kayaked along the edge picking up shells from his boat.

Scott and Peggy brought their fishing poles to do some fishing. And I spent most of my time walking along the shoreline, trying to figure out how to quietly walk on the shells totally covering the beach in order to get some good photos of all of the birds before scaring them off with my noise.

So, the next time you want to get away, don't forget to look in your own backyard - or to the nearby islands - for your adventure. Whether it is fishing, kayaking, shell collecting, bird watching, or just exploring nature, Mud Island is a place where you can do all of those things. And the best part is that it is free."

The island offers something for everyone.
The Explorer

Shells, Shells, and More Shells
There are plenty of birds for bird watchers.

Vicki and husband, ceramic artist Stan Irvin, are both retired professors who have discovered the joys of Rockport and living part-time on their 33' sailboat, while exploring new sailing destinations and adventures.

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