Thursday, December 26, 2013

Feliz Navidad de Puerto Peñasco!

We're just returned from a spectacular 3 days in Rocky Point, Mexico!  Our friend Donna joined us in paying a holiday visit to Margie, who has part-time interest in a house there.  Even though there was an apparent drug-related shootout 5 days before we arrived (killing 5), we decided not to change our plans, though perhaps many did, as beaches, streets, restaurants and fish markets were deserted while we were out-and-about.

We've posted about visiting Margie many times before. Her house is about a block from the Sea of Cortez, leaving the shore and seabirds visible with slight optical aid from her vantage points. The house layout is pretty much ideal - a trio of bedrooms on the ground floor, living room and kitchen sharing an open-air outdoor table on the second level, and an upstairs "astronomy" deck up on the roof.  I left tripods on the roof and spent most of the sunsets, sunrises and many hours of the day viewing a number of items that will appear here the next few days.

We made a number of short walks down to the
beach.  Temps were pretty nice for the end of December - reaching nearly 70F most days, though the water temperature was quite a bit brisker, but not too cold to get your feet wet.  Unfortunately for this trip, the moon phase was at 3rd quarter so the tides that can reach upwards of 6 meters near new or full moon were only about 1.5 meters, still an impressive range.  At left Melinda is shown enjoying some beach time at low tide.  Since we are budding birders, I attempted to document a few of the new ones to us.  And even while we've seen scads of brown pelicans in many locations, it is always amazing to watch these birds - the way they dive while fishing, and soar for seemingly hundreds of yards a few inches off the water.  You could actually see their wingtips splashing the water when they did flap to gain some altitude.

On Christmas Day we had reservations at Casa del Capitan, a restaurant atop a hill adjacent to a lighthouse overlooking the city.  Reservations were hardly needed as there were few other diners, and unfortunately it was too windy to sit outside and enjoy the view.  The mosaic at left was taken before sunset from the deck showing the development at Sandy Beach to the upper left, to the old town section below center.  Off in the far distance to the right is the extinct Pinacate volcanic range, which I'm told has some amazing crater fields.  The food was great, and we had a good time socializing with Margie and some of her friends from Cottonwood who were also down for the holiday.  At right is Donna and Margie after dinner.

But mostly is was a quiet time to unwind - we didn't have internet access, Margie's TV satellite plan only had Spanish language channels, and the international roaming charge was $1 per minute so I had my phone off the entire time...  It was fun to sit and watch the world spin, and you will see some of that the next couple posts.  And of course, we celebrated Christmas!  Margie had decorated the outside table area with Christmas lights that I suspect will remain up through the year - it was a very nice ambient glow for eating and conversing while enjoying the views.  Between friends, osprey, dolphins, the resident cat Amigo, and some of the celestial wonders you'll see the next few days, it was a memorable time!

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