Monday, March 12, 2012

Vanishing Texas River Cruise

Vanishing Texas River Cruise is promoted as the premier ecological cruise of Texas. Its website states that the cruise provides spectacular views of Lake Buchanan, the Colorado River, native Texas wildlife, waterfalls, and world-class bird watching including 25 nesting Bald Eagles. Wow, this is my kind of event!

We were warned ahead of time to dress warmly as being out on the water early in the day would be cold. I wore my Winter coat and stocking cap and found it to be perfect for staying on the bow of the boat. There is an enclosed lower deck, a partially enclosed upper deck, and the open bow. Pictured are some of the RV park crowd.

Being psyched by the description of the cruise, I hadn't really given much thought to the effects of the draught. The lake was down 50' and the waterfalls were dry. The water level in the river was too low to navigate. These snags haven't been seen since 1998! On the positive side, the lower water levels have uncovered many old settlements around the area for historians to study.

We saw lots of Cormorants and Pelicans at a distance. Thank goodness we grabbed the binoculars on our way out the door or we really wouldn't have seen much besides specks like in this picture. The cruise does rent binoculars. The black specks you see in this picture on the water was actually a very cool formation of Cormorants. My digital camera's telephoto lens wasn't adequate to the task of capturing bird photos. The Eagles have also moved on. People that went on the cruise the previous year and enjoyed it said that the Eagles were so far away in the trees along the shoreline that even with binoculars you would just catch a glimpse of their white feathers. Even though the draught eliminated much of what was promoted from previous years, we still enjoyed our two hour narrated cruise and felt it was worth the $18.60 per person rate.