A Perfect Getaway: Puerto Peñasco

Sunset on the Gulf of California at Puerto Peñasco, known in the US as Rocky Point.

We are home safe and sound from a quick trip to Puerto Peñasco, Sonora Mexico with another couple. I was having anxiety over the trip because it’s the first time spending more than an hour or two with these new friends. I wrote about that HERE.

My worries were for naught. Mostly because of the condo we stayed in. It had two master suites with patios, plus a shared kitchen and living room with an expansive patio between the bedrooms. We weren’t on top of each other. We were steps from pools, hot tubs and the beach. Sometimes we went to the pool or beach together — and sometimes not.

This was my third trip to Puerto Peñasco. I liked this condo complex better than the other ones we stayed at. It wasn’t overwhelming with younger people ready to party or giant towers of too many rooms. It had many pools many tucked away in private settings. It did have a main pool and bar with a stage with live music at night that was quite good.

The pool areas were separated with lush landscaping and green lawns where families played soccer, football and frisbee.

Here are a few more of our sunset views:

Sunset view from Bella Sirena condos on Sandy Beach.
This view is from Wrecked at the Reef, a restaurant with live music, a sports bar inside as well as tables on the sand. We ate dinner the first night here and watched the sunset from a table a few yards from the ocean.

I’ll post more pictures of our Mexico beach trip this week. The best thing about Puerto Peñasco is it’s four hours from home. I love it when we make it there and when we return home. A perfect getaway.

Do you have any favorite places where you can spend a few days relaxing or adventuring?

Magic at the Beach

Beach at Padaro Lane
Labor Day walk at the beach. We go early to beat the crowds.

Every single day we observe dolphins. At first, it was one or two. Then it became three and four. Now I walk a quarter mile with dolphins leaping, playing, cruising up and down the beach. I can’t imagine how many are in pods that stretch the length of my walk.

Every single day I try to get a video. They don’t do the dolphin magic justice. That is what they are to me. Magic. Or is it spiritual?

My husband was out catching waves with our son’s girlfriend. They both told me how they were out beyond the waves and a dolphin leaped out of the water right before their eyes. It’s mesmerizing.

I can spend hours starting at dolphins. I feel peaceful and in awe.

Here are four fun facts about dolphins from the Monterey Bay Aquarium followed by one fact from the Dolphin Project:

  • Bottlenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Australia learned to wear sponges over their beaks while foraging among sharp coral — the only known case of cetacean tool use.
  • As is true for all cetaceans, a dolphin’s nostrils have shifted to the top of its head, becoming a blowhole that permits easy breathing at the water’s surface.
  • A bottlenose dolphin contains three times more blood than a human by body weight, increasing the dolphin’s oxygen-storage capacity during dives.
  • When asleep, a dolphin keeps half of its brain awake in order to keep breathing.
Image result for dolphin facts

Dolphins have very large brains– their brain to body size ratio is second only to our own! They also exhibit sophisticated forms of communication, tool use, cooperative feeding methods, culture and social learning, and play.

https://www.dolphinproject.com/resources/about-dolphins/dolphin-facts/

I keep taking videos of dolphins with my phone. As soon as I stop the video one or two leap into the air. The best one was filmed on Labor Day.

A pod of dolphins near Santa Barbara.

What magical or inspirations sights have you seen lately?

We’re having a heat wave!

Showing off my new boogie board.

It’s hot. Hotter than at my home in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and we are at the beach. It topped 104 degrees in Santa Barbara yesterday. The only cool place to be is in the ocean.

Taking the advice of fellow blogger of Living in the Gap, Cheryl Oreglia, I bought a boogie board. She didn’t say “buy a boogie board.” She asked if we’d done anything spontaneous lately. If you don’t follow her or read her blog, you’re missing out. She has her first book under contract that will be released in 2023. You can find out more from her latest posts.

I haven’t been in the ocean for several years. First it was my knee surgery from a ski accident. That was 2018 and I was sporting the heavy ACL brace you see on NFL players. Not a good thing for the ocean. Then I worried about waves and babied my knee the next year. The following year there were the Great White Sharks.

I watched my son’s girlfriend surf for hours every day while they visited. She inspired me. I remembered the days when I’d ask the lifeguards to watch my kids while I swam out to a buoy or did a bit of boogie boarding. Then I boogie boarded with my kids as they got older.

The other day, I was hot and I wandered into the ocean knee deep to cool off. It dawned on me — my knee is okay. Also, I had cataract surgery. I don’t have to worry about losing my hard contact lenses that I wore from seventh grade to age 59! Woohoo! One drop of water on my eyes and I’d lose my contacts. It really restricted my ocean adventuring.

I decided to rent a boogie board where my son’s girlfriend rented her surfboard — at the surf shop a quarter mile down the beach from where we hang out. $15 for one to three hours. But I was at the grocery store when I saw a boogie board on sale for $15 because it’s the last weekend of summer. Tough choice.

So I did it. I got back into the ocean after four or five years and I feel like a kid again. The perfect end to our beach vacation. Even with the heat wave. Or especially BECAUSE of the heat wave.

I caught a wave! A little one, but I’m back!

Heatwave, Ella Fitzgerald.

Are you having a heat wave? How do you survive the heat?

Have you done anything spontaneous lately? What was it?

Life at the beach

Another foggy day at the beach.

People who live here year-round complain it’s been too cold this summer. We’ve had foggy days with small slivers of sunshine peeking through. On some days there’s no sunshine.

That is fine by me. I’m loving the cool weather for beach walks. It’s such a contrast to our desert life. Also, the tiny house doesn’t have AC, so it’s better to have cool weather than hot.

I read in the news that Interstate 10 washed out near the border of Arizona and California. We missed wild weather.

I’m hoping the road will be fixed before we drive home. The alternate routes are hours longer! Plus one alternate route closed due to downed power poles and lines.

Maybe we’ll be stuck here at the beach in the tiny town of Summerland.

What has your August weather been like? Is it unusual or more of the same?

We watched a pod of dolphins playing during our afternoon walk.

Just sit

White egret hunting on the beach
I like to watch the egrets hunting on the beach.

One of my favorite things to do besides taking long beach walks is to sit and read at the beach. One day over the weekend, I found myself alone on the beach without a book. My husband was driving our son to the gym for physical therapy. Our son’s girlfriend had walked to a surf shop to rent a board and wetsuit.

I wanted to get back to the house to pick up the book I’m reading — Shirley Jackson’s “We Have Always Lived in the Castle.” But I was a good three miles away from the house. So I just sat. It was one of the most peaceful afternoons I’ve experienced in a long time. It was too bright to surf on my phone. I couldn’t even read emails.

I watched the pelicans, egrets and sandpipers. I watched the waves. I felt connected to the sea.

Here’s the opening paragraph of the Shirley Jackson book I’m reading:

My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise, I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/89724.We_Have_Always_Lived_in_the_Castle

I read “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” when I was a teenager. My mom had a copy. Then I read it again after college. It’s been at least 20 years since I’ve picked it up. It is still captivating.

But sometimes I just like to sit. I find it beyond relaxing. Watching the waves I find similar to meditation.

I love watching the sunlight play on the waves.

Do you ever find yourself just sitting? Why do you think it’s good for us to be quiet — and not be reading, on our phones or computer? Do you have a book to recommend for my beach vacation?

It’s all about the sea

Cloudy day at the beach with sun peeking through
Evening at the beach during a cloudy day, looking north. University of California Santa Barbara is at the furthest point of land in the distance.

Our vacation is centered around the ocean. Every morning we start the day with a long beach walk. Then after the strong rays of sunshine and crowds leave the beach, we head back to sit, read and walk some more.

Yesterday was cloudy and I wasn’t sure about going to the beach in the evening. I thought it would be too cold. But it was quiet and peaceful, except for the roar of the ocean. I sat watching perfect wave after wave curl into a barrel. Only two other families were at the mile long beach. I felt so thankful to be here on vacation.

beautiful blue sea and sky that matches
Walking south during the cloudy day. I loved how the blues of the water and sky matched.

One thing that surprises me is that our friends who live here don’t take advantage of the beach. One friend said she’d like to join me for a beach walk this weekend. That she hasn’t walked on the beach since last time we were here! I think that was last August. To give her credit, they do own a sailboat and sail one day per week.

I know if I lived here I’d make it to the beach every single day. At least for my morning walk. I wouldn’t take it for granted having lived for 35 years in the desert.

Where you live do you take your environment for granted? Or do you try to enjoy it to the fullest?

5 takeaways from vacation

The beach at Padaro Lane, California
Afternoon beach walk.

As my days of vacation dwindle, I find myself focused on what makes me happy. I have a finite number of days — and I want to make sure I don’t waste them. I’ve decided I need to takeaway the optimism I’m feeling on vacation and stir it into my daily life.

I’ve listed what makes me smile on vacation:

ONE

I’ve discovered I need beach time every day. A walk on the beach in the morning. An hour or two in my beach chair reading in the late afternoon. I’m not sure how to incorporate beach time in Arizona, but maybe more visits to the lake? Or, maybe it’s time outside in nature.

TWO

I’ve found satisfaction from writing and working. During the last year of shutdowns, I lost motivation. Freed on vacation, I did an interview and had a story published and it gave me a charge that I haven’t felt for awhile. (Most likely I haven’t felt it because I haven’t been writing and submitting my work.) Clear answer to this. Write more often and submit my work.

THREE

Another thing that I enjoy is playing like a kid. On our morning walk, my husband I discovered the park below our house had two permanent ping pong tables. I love ping pong. My husband loves ping pong. We had a ping pong table in our garage at our old home that got covered with dust with years of neglect. We didn’t move it to Arizona. I foresee a ping pong table on the patio.

Summerland beach park ping pong tables
Concrete ping pong tables at the park above the beach.

FOUR

Reading is a big part of my vacation days. I read on the beach, I read in the middle of the day. I read at night. At home, I can definitely find more time to read.

FIVE

Drawing. As a kid, I spent hours drawing. I drew trees, houses, people, flowers. I loved to sketch. I was very judgmental of my work and felt I wasn’t any good at it. Especially when I compared myself to the two kids in my class who were “artists.” The teachers and kids would ooh and aah over their works. I took drawing and art classes in college as electives because it’s what I liked to do. On vacation, I brought a sketch pad and when I couldn’t find pencils or charcoal, I ordered a small set on Amazon. I like to sketch my surroundings here. I can take an art class, watch youtubes or keep on sketching at home.

Horses on Summerland beach
Horses share our morning walks on the beach.

What pleasures do enjoy on vacation that you can incorporate to your daily life?