Friday, January 29, 2016

Galveston, Oh Galveston!

When we visit a town associated with a song, we sing and hum that song all day.  So along with Glenn Campbell, we hummed "Galveston, Oh Galveston" while we visited some new (to us) parts of the city.  We've been here several times to board cruise ships, but today our main destination was the Ocean Star Drilling Rig Museum.

In the past, when we left Galveston's port on those cruise ships, we saw miles of off-shore drilling sites sprinkled in the water throughout this Gulf region.  Now we have learned more about that drilling process.  We also learned about the unusual method for transporting the workers and their luggage to and from the off-shore site.

We also saw robot-like suits used by very non-claustrophobic repairmen that can travel a mile below the ocean's surface to fix problems under water.

It was interesting to find that there are many different methods of drilling and maintaining an off-shore site.  One method used in very deep water is to actually chain the platform to the ocean floor up to 6000 feet below.  This is the size of a single link in a chain that is over a mile long.

One of the reasons this museum was so interesting to us was that our youngest son is an engineer at an oil and gas company.  It was good to see some of the things we have heard him describe in his work.  This would be a display of different drill bits used in drilling the oil well.

We also took a picture of the oil field's version of a Christmas tree--a stack of valves and gauges that control the pressure of an oil well.

This museum is actually located on a retired off shore drilling rig--the Ocean Star.  We were allowed to walk out on the drilling platform.

Across the harbor, we could see more active drilling platforms all around us,

and tankers full of oil floating by.

The Galveston harbor also plays host to fishing boats and shore excursion boats.  We watched as this one unloaded its catch of the day at the port.

We decided to explore the southern part of the island, some place we have never seen.  So we headed to Galveston Island state park to walk the beaches on this cool day.  We almost had the place to ourselves.

We can't go to the beach without looking for shells.  This would be a first for us--our favorite shells displayed on a gloved hand.

We did some hiking on the bay side of the state park before driving home via the southern tip of the island.  We saw miles and miles of houses built on stilts looking out over the Gulf as the sun was setting over the bay.  As we drove and hummed, "Galveston, oh Galveston," we realized that even though we have been here many times, we can always find new places to explore on a cool January afternoon.

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