Friday, July 21, 2017

DESTINATION: Galveston, Texas

Our next adventure was a weekend trip to Galveston, TexasGalveston is a coastal resort city on Galveston Island and Pelican Island of Texas.

Pleasure Pier on the beach at Galveston

Named after Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Count of Gálvez, Galveston's first European settlements on the island were built around 1816 by French pirate Louis-Michel Aury to help the fledgling Republic of Mexico fight Spain. The Port of Galveston was established in 1825 by the Congress of Mexico following its independence from Spain. The city was the main port for the Texas Navy during the Texas Revolution, and later served as the capital of the Republic of Texas.

Pelican Island once housed an immigration station

Pelicans in Galveston Harbor

Carnival Cruises set sail from Port of Galveston

The tall ship Elissa is a three-masted barque. She is currently moored in Galveston, Texas, and is one of the oldest ships sailing today.  When she's not sailing, Elissa is moored at the Texas Seaport Museum in Galveston. Public tours are available year-round-provided she is not out sailing. The ship is sailed and maintained by qualified volunteers from around the nation.

The figurehead on the prow of the Elissa

The Elissa

We were promised dolphins!

Several boating tours offer dolphin watching near Pier 21.  Most boats offer a covered interior and are considered dolphin safe due to the type of motor on the boat. We used Baywatch Tours for our tour.  They offer daily 45-minute tours that allows guests to view the dolphins in their natural habitat during an informational tour of the harbor.

During the 19th century, Galveston became a major U.S. commercial center and one of the largest ports in the United States. It was devastated by the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, whose effects included flooding and a storm surge. The natural disaster on the exposed barrier island is still ranked as the deadliest in United States history, with an estimated death toll of 6,000 to 12,000 people.

Seawolf Park is located on Galveston's Pelican Island on a former immigration station site. The park offers one of the island's most popular fishing piers, picnic sites and a playground. The park is also home to tourist attractions, including the WWII submarine the USS Cavalla and one of only three destroyer escorts in the world, the USS Stewart. The remains of the tanker S.S. Selma, the largest concrete ship constructed, can be seen northwest of the park's fishing pier.

Seawolf Park

USS Stewart

USS Cavalla

Historical marker for SS Selma

SS Selma as seen from Seawolf Park

Galveston is home to six historic districts containing one of the largest and historically significant collections of 19th-century buildings in the United States, with over 60 structures listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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Remains of Jean Lafitte's (the pirate) house in Galveston.  The house was called Maison Rouge

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Moody Mansion