Word Of the Week #553: Observation

March 11, 2015 by · Comments Off on Word Of the Week #553: Observation 

Observation something learned in the course of observing things.

What observations have you made in the last week? Do you like to learn things? Have you ever questioned why you believe what you believe? Has an observation ever changed one of your beliefs?

I watched “Hector and his Search for Happiness” this week and really liked it Hector is a quirky psychiatrist who has become increasingly tired of his humdrum life. He feels guilty dispensing recommendations to his patients that never change their conditions or make them any happier. So he tells his girlfriend, Clara, that he needs to go on a journey to research happiness. It’s pretty funny, thought provoking, and sweet. During his “research” he makes the following 22 observations:

  • Making comparisons can spoil your happiness
  • Happiness often comes when least expected
  • Many people only see happiness in their future
  • Many people think happiness comes from having more power or more money
  • Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story
  • Happiness is a long walk in beautiful, unfamiliar mountains
  • It’s a mistake to think that happiness is the goal
  • Happiness is being with the people you love; unhappiness is being separated from the people you love
  • Happiness is knowing that your family lacks for nothing
  • Happiness is doing a job you love
  • Happiness is having a home and a garden of your own
  • It’s harder to be happy in a country run by bad people
  • Happiness is feeling useful to others

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  • Happiness is to be loved for exactly who you are (People are kinder to a child who smiles)
  • Happiness comes when you feel truly alive
  • Happiness is knowing how to celebrate
  • Happiness is caring about the happiness of those you love
  • Happiness is not attaching too much importance to what other people think
  • The sun and the sea make everybody happy
  • Happiness is a certain way of seeing things
  • Rivalry poisons happiness
  • Women care more than men about making others happy
  • Happiness means making sure that those around you are happy

This week’s focus is on making an observation. How many of Hector’s observations rung true with you? Are there any that you had never given much thought to before? When was the last time you just sat quietly and observed the world around you?

This week’s picture incorporates a number of Hector’s observations that we had on our Baja Wilderness and Whale Adventure trip last month.

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FUN-travel: Baja Wilderness & Whale Adventure – Las Animas – Day 3

March 10, 2015 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Baja Wilderness & Whale Adventure – Las Animas – Day 3 

Cruising and Clam Digging

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Sea Lions & Seagulls Sunning

  • Once again we were awakened by another magnificent sunrise. This morning’s breakfast was scrambled eggs, refried beans, and cheese quesadillas. We made sure we were sufficiently sated for our morning adventure on the sea. The good news was the winds were gone and the water was like glass. We were given the option of either taking the boat that was in search of more good fishing or the scenic cruise just simply enjoying the wildlife. I opted to try my luck at fishing and Chris chose the latter in hopes of getting some great photos.
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Finback Whale

  • At 9:00 we motored off and cruised out of our small cove headed to our first destination; a small island covered with sea lions and seagulls sunning on the rocky shoreline. Then within minutes of heading deeper into the Sea of Cortez we spotted a pair of huge finback whales.
  • In our quest for finding another “feeding frenzy” we came upon a school of over 30 dolphins. As we approached, it became apparent that they were ready to play and frolicked in the wake of our boat, putting on quite a show.

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  • We dropped our lures in several spots but to no avail. The yellowtail just weren’t biting today. So as we headed back we detoured around several of the small islands that jut out of the sea and saw more blue footed boobies, cormorants, egrets, herons, sea gulls and pelicans resting and nesting on the steep, jagged slopes.

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  • Lunch was more great food with carrot soup as our starter followed by chicken tostados. Then it was a short siesta before our afternoon boat excursion to the opposite side of the cove to see the mangroves and to go digging for oysters and cockle clams.
  • Today’s happy hour treat came from the fruits of our labor again; this time, two trays of clams and oysters, with fresh chips, guacamole, and salsa. That was followed by a spectacular sunset before we feasted on more marinated, grilled yellowtail with rice and a salad. Then we warmed ourselves around a beach bonfire before calling it a night.
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Clam Digging

FUN-Finback Whale Facts – Second in size only to the blue whale, the finback reaches about 70 feet (21 m) in length and weighs up to 70 tons (64 metric tons). It shares with the blue whale the distinction of having the deepest voice on earth.

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Spectacular Sunset


FUN-travel: Baja Wilderness & Whale Adventure – Las Animas – Day 2

March 7, 2015 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Baja Wilderness & Whale Adventure – Las Animas – Day 2 

Hiking & Hammocks

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  •  We awakened to a vibrant sun rise after a wonderful night’s sleep. Streaks of orange, yellow and red filled the morning sky. After some nice hot steaming coffee we were treated to a breakfast of huevos rancheros with fresh refried beans, avocado, and homemade salsa.
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Our Yurt

  • The wind had kicked up during the night, so this morning’s plan was a hike in the 34 Baja California Adventure 2.15mountains, as the sea was too choppy and rough to go out in the boats. We headed west toward the mountains and discovered lots of different types of cactus and rocks along the way. Those who wanted more strenuous exercise climbed up to the top of one of the hills. Several of us opted for a shorter version and then strolled back on the beach collecting sea shells along the way. The beach was overflowing with unbroken, fully intact shells and sand dollars of varying sizes and colors. After a short break I ventured back out to look for more specimens. The wind was blowing so hard the sand on the beach stung my bare feet.
  • Then it was time for an ice cold Pacifico before we savored today’s lunch of chicken tortilla soup. Accompanied by bowls of chopped onion, cabbage, crispy corn tortillas, and more sumptuous salsa our tummies were pleasantly full.
  • The wind did not die down after lunch as anticipated so our afternoon boat trip was canceled. Each of the yurts included a covered patio with chairs and a double-sized hammock. Some in our group chose to simply relax or read a book. We on the other hand opted for yet another siesta.
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View From Hike

  • Yellowtail ceviche was our happy hour treat today, followed by dinner of breaded and sautéed yellowtail cutlets, salad and broccoli.

FUN- food Fact – Every morning at 6:00 we were treated to fresh baked chocolate brownie muffins (still hot from the oven) and a variety of cut fresh fruit.

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FUN-travel: Baja Wilderness & Whale Adventure – Las Animas – Day 1

March 6, 2015 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Baja Wilderness & Whale Adventure – Las Animas – Day 1 


  • At 8:00 am we were whisked away by private plane from San Diego’s Brown Field for our flight headed to Las Animas Wilderness Retreat. Located in the Sea of Cortez, near the town of Bahía de Los Ángeles, it is a one-of-a-kind “boat in only” private paradise. Ninety minutes into our flight we touched down for a short stop in San Felipe to clear customs. Before landing in Bahía de Los Ángeles, we got an aerial view of the majestic mountains, islands dotting the sea, and our private beach. In the crystal clear waters below we easily spotted a shark near the shoreline.
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Aerial View of Sea of Cortez

  •  At 11:30 we landed at our first destination and were greeted by the local taxi van. Within minutes we arrived at the shore where our boat to Las Animas awaited. But not before we sipped an ice cold Pacifico and took in the beautiful blue sea surrounded by the rugged mountains and desert landscape.
  • As fairly well seasoned travelers, we decided that at this point in our life we only want to take trips that include amazing experiences and see things we have never seen before. And that is what we got! It also turned out to have a lot of “firsts” for us.
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Feeding Frenzy

  • Our “first” private plane trip with no airport screening lines. (I was already feeling spoiled) They only allow a total of 10 people with a guide ratio of 1 to 5. Our group included 9 adults traveling in two 6 seater planes.
  • Then another “first” when we saw Blue Footed Boobies basking in the sun on the jagged rocks of one of the many small islands that fill the Sea of Cortez. I had only seen them before in the Galapagos. They were joined by an abundance of pelicans, sea gulls, egrets, herons, and cormorants.
  • Then, as we embarked on our boat, within the” first”15 minutes of leaving shore we were in
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    Tom & Our Fresh Catch of the Day

    the middle of a “Feeding Frenzy.” The birds were in full force dive bombing the surface and we could see the yellowtail just below us darting in all directions at record speeds. Tom, our pilot and guide, had the fishing pole ready, dropped the lure, and within 60 seconds had his first bite. I kid you not! As soon as he got that one reeled in, he dropped the lure back in, and hooked the second one just as fast. Channing, one of the guests, was the lucky guy this time and got to reel that one in. Thirty minutes later we were motoring off with two 40+ pound fish. Just enough to feed us for the next three days.

  • We arrived at 1:30 and dropped our small bags (another “first”) into our private Yurt (a round fully insulated wood frame structure with a solar shower) before sitting down for our lunch of fresh fish tacos, guacamole and pico de gallo. Then it was time for our siesta.
  • 6:00 and it was happy hour margaritas in the main yurt with an oversized attached patio. Here we sat and watched the beautiful sunset. Then we got to enjoy the fruits of our day’s labor! Feasting on our Fresh Catch of the Day starting with a sushi appetizer, followed by the main course of marinated grilled yellowtail, spinach salad, and rice. Absolute heaven and some of the best fish we’ve ever tasted. Then to top it off we had some fabulous flan for dessert.
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Our Motley Group

FUN-fish facts – Although Yellowtail typically run 10 to 20 pounds, they can reach an enormous 79 lbs. They are epic fighters and pound for pound one of the best fighting local game fish.

FUN-video: Baja Wilderness & Whale Adventure – Las Animas

March 5, 2015 by · Comments Off on FUN-video: Baja Wilderness & Whale Adventure – Las Animas 

This is the video from the first three days at the Las Animas Wilderness Retreat.


To see the photos scroll down the post.

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