We headed south of the border yesterday for a weekend of beach walks, seafood, and enjoying the Sea of Cortez. What a joy to arrive in time for a beach walk at sunset. I was stunned this morning to wake up and see this magnificent sunrise from our room.
Have a great weekend!
What highlights do you have planned for this weekend?
This morning on our beach walk, I first noticed three signs and yellow tape.
We stopped to read the signs and a woman approached us wearing a hat that said volunteer for some marine life organization. She said there was a distressed sea lion ahead. It had been resting on the beach behind the signs and yellow tape.
Then when a young woman was walking her pit bull, the dog pulled out of its harness and attacked the sea lion.
The volunteer from the Channel Islands Marine Wildlife Institute told us the sea lion escaped into the ocean. She explained that the sea lion was suffering from Domoic Acid poisoning, which is caused by algae bloom.
My husband said that algae bloom happens every year. Isn’t that a normal thing? Wouldn’t sea lions be used to it?
She said they were inundated with calls about sick sea lions along the coast and that the Domoic Acid poisoning could be fatal. The volunteers were out observing the sea lions from sunrise to sunset along the beaches. Apparently stress could make the illness worse. She was standing on the beach all day to keep people and dogs away from the sick sea lion.
I asked if we could still take our morning walk.
“If you have to,” she answered. “Please stay along the cliffs and as far away from the sea lion as possible.”
We started on our walk, but as we got closer to the sea lion, we turned around. It wasn’t worth it.
We also spotted the young woman with her pit bull walking down a trail to finish their morning walk. She was avoiding the volunteer who was positioned by the signs. The young woman spotted the sea lion in the ocean in front of her and thankfully turned her dog around and headed back up the trail.
I’m trying to get my head out of Mexico and a relaxing three-day weekend, back into the real world of everyday life.
Several of my friends were worried when they heard we were driving to Mexico. I had been afraid for more than a year. I was too afraid to go. Finally, I talked to people who have gone there and they assured us it was safe.
The drive is very easy — once you get off Interstate 10 and the crazy Phoenix traffic. It’s a straight shot down a two-lane highway to the border. It’s such an easy drive that I take over in Gila Bend to Ajo and Why — all the way to the Visitor’s Center at the Organ Pipes Cactus National Monument. (Ajo and Why are two tiny American towns.)
The beach resort is one hour from the border on a road exactly like on our side of the border. The only difficult part is what I call the gauntlet. Once you cross the border you have about 300 meters of mutilated beggars, squeegee guys and tamale and tortilla hawkers. They surround your car and we nod our head “no thank you” repeatedly. It’s really a depressing view to enter and depart Mexico. It’s a gut wrenching contrast to our life in the states.
Once through the gauntlet, it’s smooth sailing. They love tourists. The resorts are 50/50 Americans and Mexican families. There are security guards and police at every resort and throughout the town.
We took beach walks, collected shells, and I read tons. Then we worried about where to go for dinner. That was it. I really got into a relaxed frame of mind.
Where is your favorite place to relax? What do you like to do during a weekend getaway?
We got away for two weeks and life felt like it did before the pandemic. It gave me hope that yes, we will return to life before COVID-19 at some point in time. These past six months (or 165 days) of sheltering in place will come to an end.
With my husband required to work remotely, and my writing that can be done wherever, we returned to a tiny beach bungalow for the third summer in a row. We had planned this vacation way before the pandemic, but with the onset of working remotely, we extended our stay and had more time to escape the desert heat and relish in a change of scenery.
There’s something about the ocean that is spiritual and calming. I didn’t realize how much anxiety had been building inside me until I got to the Pacific, walked along the shoreline with waves lapping at my ankles. I could breathe. My back straightened up. I no longer felt trapped and scared.
A beach walk near Santa Barbara
The most freeing feeling was diving under a wave. I’ve always worn hard contact lenses — well since 7th grade anyway. I could never freely dive into a pool or ocean without goggles and worrying about losing contacts, which I’ve done more than once. Last fall I had cataract surgery and no longer wear contacts. It took me a couple dips into the ocean to realize that I could swim and dive under waves without fear.
Our kids joined us for a few days, along with my son’s girlfriend and one of her sisters. We shared meals outside, beach walks, and excursions into the city of Santa Barbara. That felt normal like prior summer trips. We’ve been visiting good friends in the area since before the kids were born. We caught up with other couples and had fun laughing and talking over meals, always outside and socially distanced. But what a nice change from all those months of no social activity.
Santa Barbara Harbor
Yes, I’m back in my house, it’s 109 degrees outside. But, I still have a little bit of that feeling of hope that things will get better. And life is good.
What experiences have you had that give you hope that the pandemic life will end?