PORT ARANSAS, Texas – “I didn’t know there’s a port in Arkansas” was a comment I heard in a phone conversation a few years ago. Such is the fate of living in a town with a rather unfamiliar name. Most people struggle with the pronunciation the first few times. That includes mistakenly adding the letter ‘K’ while assuming that it must have been omitted in a typo. The Texas Almanac references the pronunciation as (uh RAN zuhs). It’s simply “Port A” to most folks.
The word Aransas stems from Spanish exploration in the mid 1700’s. As the story goes, Captain Oribio Basterra was exploring an area near the Trinity River. In his travels, he named a stream El Rio Nombrado Nr’a Senora de Aranzazu (the river named Our Lady of Aranzazu). Aranzazu is a village located in the Basque region of Spain.
Years later, the spelling was changed to Aransas and now applies to a bay, a river, a county and two cities in Texas. As this video illustrates, life on the island has changed a bit since the days when Captain Basterra governed Texas. Despite the changes, Port A is still a small, but vibrant coastal community. Modern day explorers love visiting and often decide to stay. I know. I did.