While other Sea Bird passengers had their turn whale-watching, we were shuttled via zodiaks to the Baja beaches to explore the sand dunes.
We had seen them from the boat, but they looked a whole lot bigger and much more daunting up close.
We were told there were oodles of shells on the beach and there certainly were! But we were also told repeatedly that we were not to take anything from the beach except pictures.
It took all the willpower I had not to stash away a few of the dozens of huge complete sand dollars we saw....bigger than the palm of Kim's hand!
And "nosepickers" (I'm sure that's not the scientific name for them...) up to 6" long. Wow!
And so many other big and complete shells...treasures we have never found on the Emerald Isle beach.
It was chilly, too cold to sit on the beach and soak up some rays....so we decided to hike across the 1-mile stretch of sand that formed part of the perimeter of Magdalena Bay to the Pacific Ocean on the other side.
Looking back at Mag Bay....
I always follow my intrepid leader...
...mainly because I can't keep up his pace and also because I like to stop and take photos along the way.
The wind created mesmerizing designs in the shifting sand....
The Pacific is somewhere over that next line of dunes....
We saw lots of bones along the way, remnants of birds and animals that the resident coyotes had feasted on. But it's especially intriguing to find large bones which, as the naturalist explained, were from dolphins or whales that washed ashore and were drug out of the surf by the coyotes.
Aha....there she is! The tide was out and the water was very shallow (and cold! We opted NOT to swim out there...) for quite a ways out.
This blue crab in the low tide shallows posed in defense mode for a cool ripply photo.
We had thought we'd see lots of sea birds, but this was the most we'd seen together up to this point in the trip.
Our kids can easily recognize this walk...it's Kim's "nature is calling" walk. I'll spare you the follow-up photo, but yes, Kim left behind (no pun intended) a "souvenir" of his presence on Baja on the way back that afternoon. Something for the coyotes to puzzle over...
A mile in this sand is a LONG hard hike....but these sandscapes were magical.
We finally made it back to our drop-off point, claimed our life vest, and awaited our zodiak taxi.
The next morning, same scenario but different area of Baja. We were told (erroneously, as we discovered on our own...) that this slice of land was much narrower than yesterday's and the ocean much closer.
So once again my strong fearless leader took off....
The dunes were higher and walking was more challenging...
I'm looking back at how far we'd come already (and no Pacific in sight). See the Sea Bird resting in Mag Bay waaaayyyy back there?
And then the bare dunes became vegation-covered dunes. Still the Pacific was nowhere in sight...
How these pretty little flowers have enough water and nutrients to grow here is beyond me. Only God!
Meandering through the dunes gave me just a tiny inkling of how the pioneers must have felt winding their way through the mountains, searching for the easiest route.
As I watched Kim climb on top of this line of dunes, I was sure he was gazing upon the Pacific Ocean just steps below. My own Lewis & Clark-type explorer.
He waited there for me, and I envisioned us descending the slopes together, hand in hand, splashing our way into the sparkling sea waters.
When I got to him, I discovered I was wrong.
The ocean was still at least a half mile away...a half mile of very difficult terrain, and this flatlands Hoosier girl was done traversing dunes. Kim was determined to make it, so I sat on top of the dune, drank my water, and enjoyed the peaceful view awaiting his return.
I expected him to regale me with tales of endless shell-covered beaches, flocks of birds, with dolphins frolicking in the waves and whales blowing just off-shore. But he said it was very anti-climactic...he stuck his toes in the water and turned around to hike back. So I didn't miss anything (or if I did Kim was kind enough not to tell me). Except a little longer sand-walking leg workout.
When we finally got back, we saw some of our fellow travelers chillin' on top of a large dune. One of our young naturalists was having fun sliding down the dune and climbing back up again. Our grandkids would have loved it! Kim and I were perfectly content to enjoy it vicariously.
Such a unique spot on the earth. I've never experienced a place like the...