10-Apr-2011 -- Underway from Vitória (E.S., Brazil) with 1,750 pieces (i.e. 30,000 metric tons) of steel slabs today, after a 17-days lasting voyage, we arrived at Brownsville, TX.
The Confluence is located 8 nautical miles (14.8 km) off the coast and the natural entrance to the Laguna Madre, commonly known as Brazos Santiago. From there an artificial navigable channel cuts in SW direction toward the Port of Brownsville, TX.
From the Confluence itself not too much can be seen. Toward WNW we see some hotels of South Padre Island and there is a close oilrig to SE.
The view toward WSW, unfortunately heavily in clouds today, would show us the US-Mexican Border area.
Brownsville, TX is located on the N side of the Rio Grande, thus directly on the river forming the border between the United States of America and Mexico. Opposite, on the S side of the Rio Grande, on Mexican territory, there is Matamoros – the “Twin Town” of Brownsville. Due to heavy traffic, commerce, and migration, several such “Twin Towns” have formed along the US-Mexican border. The most famous Twin Towns are Brownsville-Matamoros (Texas/Tamaulipas), El Paso-Ciudad Juarez (Texas/Chihuahua) and San Diego-Tijuana (California/Baja California).
The Rio Grande (Spanish: Río Bravo del Norte) forms the international boundary between the United States and Mexico. The river, however, is closed to navigation by international agreement. Rio Grande has a total length of about 3,000 km (1,860 miles). Its spring is in Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains. Hence it crosses New Mexico, and at El Paso begins to form the boundary between Mexico and the USA for about 1,800 km (1,100 miles) down to the Sea. Rio Grande is the second largest river of the USA after the Mississippi/Missouri. However, not much is left nowadays from the “Great River”, as it is heavily drained for the irrigation of large agricultural areas. The International Boundary Commission has installed additionally several dams on the river to prevent fresh water wasting into the Gulf of Mexico.
The city of Brownsville, TX lies about 40 km (25 miles) upriver. It is both a summer and winter resort, which lies on a major route into Mexico at the center of a rich agricultural valley. Brownsville is the terminus of the Intracoastal Waterway, a sheltered route over a distance of more than 1,000 nautical miles (1,850 km) from Carabelle (Florida).
Brownsville itself is an industrial port, mainly linked to the oil industry (maintenance of oilrigs) and there are several scrapyards. The pilot who brought me in called it “the Bangladesh of the United States” (due to the fact that Bangladesh is known worldwide for having a very busy shipwrecking and steel recycling industry).