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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Touring the Houston Ship Canal

We had seen the ship canal from the air at the San Jacinto Battlefield monument and crossed it several times on bridge and ferry. Local friends had pointed out a free boat tour of the canal and that had immediate appeal to half of us.

This Corps of Engineers photo taken from about two miles East of the I-610 bridge shows much of the canal that we saw on the 90-minute round trip.

I had previously taken these photos of ship traffic along the canal.

HoustonShipCanal-2 HoustonShipCanal-3

HoustonShipCanal-4 HoustonShipCanal-5

In case you were wondering what kind of ship that last one is, it's the towboat San Brendan pushing a barge.

Reservations are required in advance for the boat tour and capacity is quite limited on the small boat operated by the Port of Huston. But the price is right. Watching others on the tour I noticed a pattern. Many of the women were talking to each other and ignoring the sights. At least two of the guys exclaimed, "Gee, that was really neat. I'm glad we found out about it!"

I have no photos from the actual tour since the Port of Houston website said photography was not permitted. If I had brought by camera, I would have first photographed the three other people taking pictures. Then I would have captured the two refineries, cement plant, gypsum-board factory and numerous other plants that line the shores of the canal.

But this U.S. Coast Guard photo of the refinery near the I-610 bridge will give you a good idea of the beauty of the place.

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