This last January we pet sat in Santa Cruz for a wonderful cat named, Baxter. He warmed up right away and spent a lot of time sitting next to us purring when he did not command a good spot on our bed, grin. We also met his humans, Susan and Rick and enjoyed having dinner and getting to know them.
Santa Cruz is a beautiful beach town in Northern California and we had a great time there. Here is a photo of the sunset from the pier where we are dinner. There are many redwood forests in the mountains that are very close so we took 3 drives up to see them.Here is a deer that we saw from the road out of the Big Basin Redwood national park. The highlight for me was the trip down to Monterey to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Taking photographs there was thrilling.
One of the most spectacular sites was at the beach watching the kite surfers. It is amazing how high they fly above the ocean.It was a wonderful pet sit and it was good to be able to go somewhere different in our home state of California.
We tacked on a visit to relatives in Sacramento on our way home. I love pet sitting.
Hastings is an old fishing town. Fishing ships still are pulled up to the shore and rest over night on the pebbled beach.There are historic net buildings where the fishermen used to hang their ropes and nets out of the weather. These black tall buildings are part of the way you identify the Hastings beach.This is a rough sea coast. There are often strong winter storms and fishermen need to be rescued. They have a good lifeboat group that saves lives every winter. The beach is a good place to let your dogs have a good run on a sunny afternoon.But be sure to pick up after your puppy if he leaves a gift in the sand. There is a 1,000 pound fine if you are caught not picking up doggy poop. There are many historic houses in Hastings. The house we are pet sitting in is probably from the 16th century. There are many 15th and 16th century homes that line the oldest streets in the town. The house we are in does not have door knobs in the house. All of the doors are kept closed by latches.
Here is a sunset that I took on one of the few days when we have had a clear sky over the sea. This is taken over the Hastings pier.
So we bid a sad goodbye to Galway a couple of days ago. It is a wonderful city to visit, and we enjoyed our week there very much. This was our apartment in the student section of the city. We remember what it was like to be a young university student with all of those stairs. This is the city where the Claddagh ring was first made. David bought me one 17 years ago when we first came to Galway, and I am wearing it today. If the heart on the ring points to your body that means you are taken, if it faces away that means you are available. I am definitely taken.
It is a city of trees, rivers and churches.This is the Corrib River that runs through the city and where people can fish for salmon. Most of the oldest parts of the city have been destroyed, but the Spanish arch from the 16th century that was part of the city walls is still standing. The people are very hardy here. We walked down to the Galway bay promenade which is in a part of the city called Salthill. There we watched some brave young people jump off the Blackrock Tower into the freezing (well, darn cold) ocean (54 degrees). But the young ones are not the only people to brave the cold ocean. We met Aidan and his dog Ross as he was getting ready to go out and swim in the bay. He says he does this every day, all year long, and that the water temperature does get as low as 39 degrees. He was telling us about the group of older people who do the same thing, mentioning another hardy swimmer who had halted his daily swim only a year before his death at the age of 93. I think this is how they live so long.
This visit to Blackrock had been late on Friday afternoon. We returned Sunday about noon, and there was no water whatever below the tower. In fact, there was a pile of jagged, moss-covered rocks. The range of the tide here is typically 12 feet, and as much as 17 feet. We were amazed that there was no monitoring of access to the tower, from which a low-tide jump would be one’s last.
We finished off the visit with a rousing show called TRAD ON THE PROM. It was a splendid night of Irish music, dancing and song. If you visit Galway this show should be on your list to see.
Now we are in Belfast for a week…more adventures to come. Thanks for taking the time to read our adventures.
We have been having so many adventures on this trip. We went up to the top of the crater of the volcano which made part of the island of Maui.Haleakala ( 10,000 feet high). It is on top of the clouds and feels like the top of the world. It is windy and cold hence the snow gear. We got to watch the sun set and to see the planets and the stars with an astronomer who educated us about the Maui night sky. www.mauistargazing.com
Then yesterday we went on a whale watching trip at sunset. We saw lots of whales. One of them even touched our raft. They are very gentle and it was very exciting to be that close to such an enormous animal. Here are some photos of a whale breaching. Thought you might like to see the size of the raft we were on and a whale’s back. Maui is a wonderland and we are having so much fun.
Hale Kai is the small , intimate group of condos from the 70’s that has been rennovated. It is right on the ocean and is only 2 stories high. This type of small condos are quite unique for this part of Maui. The northwestern part of Maui is dominated by large ritzy developments by big companies like Marriot, Ritz Carlton, and Hyatt etc. The people who come to Hale Kai come every year on the same weeks. They book their condos a year in advance and have made friends over the years.
One of their traditions is that every night at sunset people gather around the pool and have drinks and celebrate another day in paradise. They blow conch shells like the old Hawaiians to announce the sunset, a birthday or a new comer to the group. It is quite charming.
Here is the sunset that we were celebrating tonight. Since it was Sunday night we all got invitations to bring pupus ( little munchies) and make it a party with food. The pupus were excellent and everyone is crowding around the snack table to try the tempting morsels. Ladies were asking for recipes and talking about their sea adventures here on the island.
We have met several really nice people. What I really like are the moms and daughters that come back together every year. Here are some photos I took of two of them.
How lucky these women are that they can spend special time with their moms, I wish my mom could have done this with me.
Well, it is off to bed as a new adventure is calling us tomorrow. Aloha!
We went to Popotla a Mexican fishing village last night at sunset. There was a large sea lion on the beach looking for some final fish handouts from the fishermen before the sun went down. They are such noble animals. The fishermen were pulling the last of the fishing boats up to the shore. They go out early in the morning to fish and bring back fresh fish to sell on the shore. As the sun set we went to one of the beach restaurants to have a wonderful lobster dinner above the beach. ###Travel tip: the cost of the fresh fish is much lower here. You can even have fresh caught crabs cooked quickly in hot oil for a small fee. Take them home for a heavenly meal of garlic butter and crusty bread.Our life and our meals are closer to nature here in Mexico.
We stayed here at this development last year at this time and the beach was glorious. We could walk from our condo development 1 kilometer ( 6/10ths of a mile) on sand.The photo above is of the beach last year. Since the storms of El Nino have been so violent; 4 feet of sand is missing this year. Rocks that we did not know were under the sand have cut the walking beach in half. We have been told that the sand will return in April. These rocks were all covered with sand last year. It is hard for old guys like us with bad knees and ankles to walk on these rocks. Unlike this young man that we saw walking quite easily along the surf. We tend to hobble carefully . Here is a photograph of David holding my walking stick. You get the idea. But we persist and walk the section of the sandy beach almost everyday.
Thought I would put up a photo of our condo development. We are in the first building on the 13th floor. It is a little too high for both of us but I try not to look straight down. lolWe love everyday here. David’s blood pressure has dropped because he is so happy and relaxed here. We feel very blessed to have this peaceful time.