The expected departure in Houston of our 21 day cruise never came on the expected day. The captain’s decision to wait for sixty eight, late cruise passengers had resulted in the delay of our late afternoon departure. By the time of their arrival at 8:00 pm., a severe weather pattern of gusty winds emerged from the Great Plains to scrub the entire mission this day. An atmosphere of foggy desolation pervaded the cruise port as we awaited in limbo for a break in the weather. It seemed fitting then that the captain would inform the passengers that we would be leaving on the last cruise boat to be docked at this inland location.
To make the best of these uncertain times, my wife and I took advantage of the extra Internet time available from the Texas shore. At these times, we were often distracted by the synergy of wind swooping gulls and pelicans with the mother ship that remained silently still. Settling into my soggy lounge chair, I envisioned the reappearance of Noah’s Ark to carry me away from the great flood beyond the Texas shore.
It appeared to me that the impulsive solution to dredge this waterway to make way for the passage of Houston oil tankers in this inland waterway had not fared well as a location for a busy cruise port. Our point of debarkation nearby the ugliness of burning oil wells did not please the eye while the long and winding passageway to the Gulf of Mexico ahead seemed ill suited for the modern era of colossal sized ocean liners in today’s times. Any kind of movement from this inauspicious place seemed to be sorely overdue.
I regretted the long term costs of this ill-fated passenger terminal. Hungry pelicans intently landed near our ship now as time passed more slowly. In their desperate plunge to the sea to find fish, I pondered their future loneliness at the impending abandonment of this location. In addition, it seemed wasteful that so many trees had to be uprooted, to make way for this colossal failure of man-made construction in the name of profit. Perhaps, the windswept destruction of a hurricane here would provide a better solution for the use of this land.
A sign of optimism now appeared on our second morning on the ship. Tugboats begin to circle our vessel as wind and rain diminished. Black smoke rose into the air now as the ground began to rumble. At last, the stern voice of the captain from the intercom gave the “all clear” for us to proceed. The experience of nearly two days in a place of unknown idleness had been a test of my patience for sure. Bon voyage Houston.