Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rocky Point Redux

After a spectacular 3 day Easter Weekend in Rocky Point visiting our friend Margie and meeting new friends Rick and Linda (who were also visiting that weekend), we looked at Melinda's work schedule and decided to go again this last weekend! Margie, always the gracious host, didn't turn us away at inviting ourselves down again, so we made the trip, this time bringing our buddy Donna along. Donna is a Florida native exiled to the desert, so jumped at the chance to spend some beach time so close to Arizona. We headed down Saturday morning, arriving mid-afternoon in the sleepy tourist town, sleepy, at least compared to Easter Weekend! I joined Donna on a walk on the beach (that is her foot in the picture at left), while Melinda, who worked graveyard the night before, got a 40-wink nap.

Two weeks earlier, our group had headed to the old section of town to have dinner on the bluff overlooking the old port of Puerto Penasco. There are a couple restaurants up a few hundred feet overlooking not only a wide expanse of the Sea of Cortez, but also a bird's eye view of town and a long stretch of resort development. Over Easter, there was so much traffic with the end of spring break and Easter revelers that the police had closed off the streets and we couldn't get there. This time there weren't any crowd issues, so we made it up the hill. A couple years back, Margie, Melinda, me and a few others had eaten at "Captains" up at the very peak. Margie has heard the food is a little uneven, so this time we ate at the adjacent "Lighthouse". The food turned out as spectacular as the views. Donna and I both had steak and shrimp - the bacon-wrapped and grilled shrimp being quite Divine. Shown here in the growing twilight the brilliant Venus shines over the lights of town.

One of our interests this trip was the status of our friendly Osprey couple that we imaged in our last post. They were religious about staying on their eggs, so we were wondering if they had any babies yet. We have good news - there are at least 2 babies that we saw! The nest is deep enough that we saw them only rarely, but there are definitely at least 2 chicks. On Monday morning, a dreary day when it actually was spitting rain, I was photographing the nest after one had gone out for food. Luckily, after being gone a good 15 minutes, it returned with a sizable flounder to share. Note the little head popping up from the nest - a lil' baby Osprey! By noon, the weather had cleared, and I walked down to pace off the distance to the nest from Margie's house (a good 200 meters!). They don't really like visitors as they watched me like, well, hawks! Check out those talons - between those and the "barking" warning they gave, I didn't tarry!

The one thing that surprised veteran beachcomber Donna was the tidal amplitude. It was nearly full moon, just a couple days past new, and the low-to-high tide was over 5 meters (over 16 feet). While not sounding like a lot, with the shallow slope of the beach, at low tide, the Sea went out a couple hundred yards! Shown here are pictures from Saturday afternoon's nearly-high-tide compared to Sunday morning's low tide. Taken from nearly the same spot you can see the amazing difference. As I understand it, the tidal effect is amplified by the long, narrow, relatively shallow Sea of Cortez, and almost acts like water sloshing up the shallow end of a wading pool.

And of course, with my recent display of 3-D images in our last post, many of the pictures I took were of the stereoscopic kind, where 2 pictures are taken from slightly different angles. Refer back to that post for hints on fusing the pair together - some can see depth in the thumbnails, but click on the image to enlarge it to see the detail. I'll have more soon, but this one will do for now - it shows the shells of little crabs poised on low rocks waiting for the tide to come back in. It is Melinda's current favorite, so check it out!

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