Sunday Beach, the place to be
Aug. 26, 2012 at 3:26 a.m.
Updated Aug. 24, 2012 at 3:24 a.m.
by Dianna Wray
SUNDAY BEACH – The water lapped against the shore and music drifted along the edge of the bay as Peyton Martin guided his boat into the shallower depths of water so clear you could see your toes in it as you walked to the beach.
The afternoon sun glinted down and the blue sky was clear overhead, though banks of fluffy clouds hovered on the edge of the horizon. Martin dropped anchor and hopped into the water, one of about 20 boats already lined up on the beach. “We’ve got some good weather here today,” Martin said.
Sunday Beach is located on the west end of Matagorda Bay, a line of sandy shores and marsh grass that divides the bay from the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of Cavallo Pass.
Only accessible by boat, the beach is calm on one side, a place to talk, lounge in the water, sip sodas and beers, and grill hot dogs while children splash in the water and make sand castles on the shore.
Just a short walk across the dunes, another world exists. Here, the blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico roar into shore, with white caps of foam, and rush away again.
People who enjoy Sunday Beach generally have been doing so for years. Their parents brought them here, and they bring their children and their children bring their children.
“I’m 15 years old and I’ve been coming here as long as I can remember,” Eva Carey said. “It’s nice because everyone knows everyone and we get to see everybody the way we always do.”
Her cousin Jane Lehman, 12, nodded her head in agreement. “It’s a really fun beach,” she said.
On the Gulf side of the beach, 13-year-old Alex Elder and his brothers dug furiously in the sand as the metal detector their father was holding beeped steadily over the spot.
The Elder family has been coming to this beach since they bought a place in Port O’Connor nine years ago.
Residents of Spring, just outside of Houston, they come here to get away from the whirr and pressure of the city. “Here, we can just be a family without being around all of the stresses of the city,” Tina Elder, Alex’s mother, said.
The place has a long history. Martin has been coming to this beach with his family as long as he can remember – he knows all the stories. Once, a Confederate soldier waited on this beach, searching for the Yankee blockade of boats that was keeping supplies from reaching them. He walked on a broken leg to a lighthouse that sat on the other end of the island to warn the soldiers that the Yankees were coming.
Just over the dunes, the ruins of Fort Esperanza, once one of the largest forts in Texas, can still be traced in the sand.
Sunday Beach used to be an island, Martin said, but the currents have been dropping sand along the edge of it for years.
There have been numerous shipwrecks on this stretch of land because every time the tides change or a storm roars through, the land is remade and reshaped again, making it impossible to ever know it completely. Now it stretches like a hook, but that will change.
“We’re going to have a storm sometime and it’s going to to get wiped off the map. People forget how vulnerable we are,” Martin said.