Monday, January 26, 2009


Before we saw the killer whales we came across countless dolphins. Here's some video I captured and posted on Youtube.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Killer Whale Sighting

Today seemed like a good day to get on the water. We took the boat to a beach on the back side of Carmen Island near the old salt mine. The ride was rough as we sped across the channel bumping our backsides the whole way. I clung to a towel for warmth and protection from the wind. I was being a good sport until about 45 minutes in when it seemed like we'd never get there and I suddenly had an urge to to kill Robert when, lucky for him, we spotted dolphins.

I've never seen so many at once; and so many young ones. There must have been a hundred. As usual, many followed our boat jumping and surging all around us. They were marvelous. The beach, when we finally arrived, was a nice stretch of white sand very thick with shells. We spent our time gathering shells and lying in the sun. The weather was just perfect, though the wind was beginning to pick up. We saw seagulls dining on beached Humboldt squid. Strange creatures, those squid.

I was dreading the return trip, but something wonderful happened along the way: We encountered killer whales. At first, I didn't believe Robert when he spotted them. There were two close to us and others at a greater distance. The two turned out to be mother and calf. They were breaching and diving and making quite a show. Incredibly, the two of them came right up to our boat, the baby close enough to touch if we'd been brave enough, but we were pretty jittery about the whole episode. You know, they're killer whales for Pete's sake.

God, they were magnificent. I tried to shoot some video, but between the rocking boat and the excitement and the glare of the sun I did not get the shots I wanted. I did get some of the two chasing down a water fowl, a duck, we thought. They seemed to be tormenting this poor duck. They would rush into it and attempt to toss it. But they never ate it. Amazingly, it managed in its weakened state to fly away eventually.

I posted a video, albeit a shaky one, here and on Youtube. However, the low quality is probably because there's not enough bandwidth here to upload high-quality video.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More of the same, but different

With our daughter in school again I find I'm not posting much. Reason: I have to wake up early now; no more late-nights which is when I prefer to write. I have to haul my behind out of bed by 6:00 to get Allison ready for school. Really, I'm glad for the change. I need need the discipline.

The alley outside our house has been getting a little attention from the developers. It has gone through so many transformations I can't keep count. Once it was leveled and laid over with loose gravel; that was back when the heavy machinery used it as a thoroughfare. One day I awoke to find the gravel being removed. Hurray, landscaping must be coming! Months later it was once again a dust bowl. The gravel was replaced. Then removed.

Stone sidewalks appeared. And much later some plants down the center. Then the plants disappeared and huge holes were dug for trees. Weeks went by; we worried for any wayward pedestrian who might unsuspectingly fall into the abyss. We were relieved to see the holes being filled finally, even if it was with dirt, not trees.

This week a crew appeared and within two days we had this: an uninspiring field of plants, none which bear color, and we have no decorative rocks like the other alleys closer to the Inn.

Not to worry, I am told. This too, is only a temporary fix. Later, crews will remove everything including the sidewalks. We will be treated to a real professional job that includes wavy paved pathways, a fountain, bicycle racks, mesquite trees and, finally, the much needed step up to our doorway.

I don't want to appear to be complaining. I am always happy to see something, anything, happen in my cluster. I guess I find it somewhat amusing how things get done. And things are getting done. The neighborhood is busy with activity, mostly along the lines of landscaping and hardscaping. The paving of the Paseo has not resumed, but the water (or sewer?) pipe along the center of the Paseo has been repaired. Crews are working hard in Agua Viva, and the golf course is looking beautiful. Wish I could say the same for the tennis center, but that is long on the list of priorities for Replay. We play anyway, though the wind-blown dirt on the courts is growing thick as sand dunes.

Did I say I love living here? We are so happy to be here. Any inconvience is tempered with jubilation of waking every day to sunshine and the promises each day holds for outdoor fun. We are constantly on our bikes meandering through the neighborhood or taking long walks at sunset. We're playing tennis, golf, hiking, beachcombing, exploring. The weather is still somewhat cool in the morning and evenings (and in the shade) but, what we have is sun and that is a dear thing in January to us norteamericanos.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Back to School

School began Wednesday. Allison is attending Colegio Calafia, the private Catholic school in Loreto. After the typical back-to-school jitters, she settled in quite well.

Mornings are difficult for us as I am not a morning person, and she is a perfectionist who dissolves into tears if I don't arrange her hair just right. We barely got off on time because I couldn't find her sweater. School begins at 8:00 a.m. and is out at 1:30 p.m.

Colegio is not a school you want to be late to. All the legendary Mexican disregard for promptness doesn't apply here--at least it hasn't in the past. There is a new Directora and she does not have the terse demeanor of the first one. We shall see how tight a ship she runs.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Happy New's your bus ticket!

Beau and Karly left for home today. Their flight on Continental at 8:00 am left out of San Jose del Cabo. When we made arrangements in late November, all departing flights on Alaska from Loreto were booked. Leaving out of Cabo was the only option. Originally, I'd intended to purchase flights from Loreto to Cabo on Aero Calafia, but I waited too long and, they too, were sold out. Their plane carries only 13 passengers. Our next option was to drive them, but with my mother arriving to Loreto today, it would be too stressful to make a quick round-trip to Cabo. When I go to Cabo I prefer it to be because I really, really, need supplies--and--I need a diversion from the backwoods pace of Loreto.

The next option was the bus. But, God, could I subject them to a monotonous 8-hour ride in a nasty old Mexican bus? I didn't want their last impressions of their Christmas vacation to be tainted by the unpleasantries of public transportation. Robert sat me straight: "They are young--they can endure it. It will give them a story to tell." I know he's right, but...I can remember well the only bus ride I took. Seven hour and several stops in lonely, forgotten towns--and back in the days before cell phones, hand-held gaming devices, and hand sanitizer. I endured it well enough to say, "never again!" Oh, well. They will survive. So I got them on the 8:00 am bus on Saturday, reserved a hotel for them in Cabo, packed them a lunch, and bid them farewell.

I will miss my oldest son, especially since he really, sincerely, truly, loves being with us. Our younger is already squirming to get back to his friends even though it means exchanging swim trunks for thermal underwear. His college break is nearly a month long, but two weeks with your parents is eternity at his age and station. For now, I've got him right where I want him and, lucky him, there is no 8-hour bus ride in his future.

As for Beau and Karly, they have each other, so anything done together is more fun. I enjoyed watching them together. I see my son broaden his focus to include another's welfare. Besides being cute, it gives me a certain sense of pride to see him look after Karly. For Robert, I know he gets pride in seeing Beau develop his business. Me too, but I respond with a sigh of satisfaction when I see scenes like the one in this photo. As a mother I can say, got that part right.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Boat's Afloat

We took Robert's new boat out Wednesday. This was my first time on it. It had some mechanical difficulties earlier in the week that perplexed Robert until finally he managed a fix. He is supercharged about his little boat. ( I think it's little, he thinks it's just right.)

Now we can get out on the water and really enjoy living on the Sea of Cortez. It's true; if you don't get on the water you're missing half of what's special about Loreto Bay--the dolphins, the whales, the seals, the occasional sea turtle, and all the other marine life. We saw a turtle paddling the waters around Coronado Island. The sight surprised Robert as he first thought it was the tip of a rock outcropping and he almost veered away. I tried to photograph it but it dove under as we approached it more closely.

The dolphins are my favorite. When I'm out there I'm looking for them every minute. More than often we find them (or they find us) and they'll tag along for awhile, racing about the boat, bounding out of the water. The motivation for their frolicking could only be pure, playful joy. We can't contain our excitement over the spectacle. And maybe they find our joy just as amusing as we hang over the boat gawking, laughing, pointing. Beau painted a funny, but quite probably accurate, idea of how the dolphins must see us humans: physical manifestations of the expression "WOW." What goofs we must look like to them.

Tomorrow, the guys are going out at sunrise to fish. Word's out that the fish are biting. Allison and are taking a pass, but our friend, Doug, and his little boy were game. They must be pretty excited: Doug phoned me tonight to tell me he's preparing a lunch for the four or them. Does Robert like tuna salad, egg salad, or peanut butter and jelly? As if it matters. He's just giddy to get out on the sea and frolic. Happy happy joy joy.