The Blue Goose II

This story really begins in 1918 when my great grandfather purchased 400 acres of land in Goliad County, Texas. There is a small community of German descendants, which is named Coletoville, after Coleto Creek which formed the eastern boundary of my great grandfather’s land. The land is divided in half by a road. In 1945, the family had an old farmhouse built from a scattering supply of wood from across the region. In 1980, the county decided to build a coal plant along the creek and needed more water to cool the product, so they dammed the creek and turned it into Coleto Creek Reservoir. The reservoir reduced our land from 400 acres to 260 but brought a new way to enjoy the property. My great grandfather passed seven years later, and my grandfather inherited the land.

I was brought into this world soon after and we went to ‘the lake’ a few times a year. My grandfather split his time between raising cattle on the property and commercial shrimping near Port Lavaca. He would tell us stories about the land, like where the old road used to be and the four trees that were planted by the Karankawa in a perfect rectangle. When the reservoir was filled, it took some indigenous people heritage with it as well. On the north side of the property is the ‘Blue Hole’, which was an area that the Karankawas dug out to keep warm. Now, it’s a swimming hole that goes from three feet straight down to twenty feet deep by means of a vertical wall. It was always a little creepy to swim there growing up.

When my rambunctious cousins, brothers, and I made it to the lake when we were growing up, we were fishing, boating, or riding the go-cart around the land. We would also paddle a fourteen foot aluminum boat called ‘The Blue Goose’ through the calmer waters of the lake. A boat that size isn’t exactly meant to be paddled, especially by little kids, but we made due. My grandpa and uncle used to fish for flounder on the boat in Lavaca Bay, where they also commercially shrimped. After they were done with it, they brought it to the lake and left it for us to mess around with. It originally had a motor but that luxury wasn’t included for us. Now the boat wasn’t exactly in pristine condition and by the end of a day of paddling it would have about three inches of water in it. We would pull it out at the end of the day in fear that it would sink if we didn’t. It drained overnight and we would do it all over again the next day.

My grandfather passed away in 2013 and my grandma divided the land between her two sons and two daughters. My mother inherited around 50 acres where she and my father built their retirement house in 2019. Once they permanently moved in, I knew I wanted a sailboat for the property. The wind seems to always be blowing and if it wasn’t, it would be calm enough to go wakeboarding.

So the hunt started early in 2019 for a sailboat with a budget of around $500. I told my brothers to be on the lookout when they drove down to the lake, but they didn’t have any luck. I’m currently living at my parents’ house now that I have paused my bike tour around the perimeter of America for COVID-19. I was able to find a boat on Craigslist before everything went full lockdown, just a few days after I got here. The boat was $300, so it needed some work. It’s a 1978 AMF Puffer, twelve and half feet long and about four feet wide. It has a daggerboard, which is a removable board that serves as your keel when sailing. Over the past few weeks, my dad and I have done some fiberglass work, clear coated the entire boat, resealed a few holes, and replaced some running rigging.

It felt fitting to name the boat the Blue Goose II since a new generation has started here. While I won’t be living here forever, my hope is that my brothers, nephew, niece, and future ones are able to play on the Blue Goose II just as I played here on the original. The boat can be paddled and I hope they are brave enough to sail her one day. My sailing career didn’t start until I moved to San Francisco in 2017 and hopefully this will allow them a new opportunity that I didn’t get to experience growing up. I took her on a sea trial today and it’s a pretty hard cove to sail out of with a predominant headwind straight down the tree-lined channel. I’m going to keep all of my sailing instruction books in my sailing box so they can hopefully figure out everything they need to know.

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