Sunday January 2nd was my 48th birthday. As a present, my family graciously gave me the day off. I had previously decided I would like to amble along the Bolivar Peninsular so I took the opportunity to do so. I’ve never been to High Island before so approaching in the darkness, I was unsure exactly what I’d find. What I found, where State Highway 124 intersects State Highway 87 at the beach, was this nodding donkey.
High Island is so called because it is 45 feet above sea level. The rise itself sits above a salt dome and salt domes in Texas signal oil. The nodding donkey in this image was literally on the beach. Oil was first discovered here in 1916 but the local boom in drilling came in the 1930′s. After sun rise it became apparent that the shore line has retreated since the first oil wells were drilled – and it became apparent just haw many wells have been drilled.
At one time, State Highway 87 used to pass between this well and the beach and run east along the coast to Sea Rim State Park – indeed Google Maps still suggests the road exists – but it has been closed since Hurricane Jerry made landfall on October 15, 1989 with much of it washed away by subsequent storms. With the right truck or 4×4 I’m sure it would be an interesting drive along the beach but I didn’t think my 11-year old Honda Accord was the best vehicle in which to undertake that exploration, so I headed west towards Gilchrist, Crystal Beach and Port Bolivar, communities annihilated by Hurricane Ike on September 13, 2008.