Still in the throes of moving my aunt from one room to another. It'll be a long, busy week spent going over there almost every day and hauling the contents of her closet, treasures from the curio cabinet, and who-knows-what-all from the shelves and cubbies in her various pieces of furniture. And then there's the furniture move on Saturday. Oi...
Happily, there were some fun things that happened last weekend that were so relaxing and enjoyable, I've had some good times to think about this week. L and I went on a whale watch out of Newport Harbor. Now technically, as my cousin Brad pointed out, since we didn't see any whales, it was just a "watch." But no matter - it was one of the most gorgeous days in recent history. Blue skies, sun shining, the whole lot. Everything you all come here for on vacation.
As you head out of Newport Harbor, it's a kind of narrow bay between Newport and Balboa Island. You see a lot of homes just like this one lining the bay as you head out.
Humble little places. Are you kidding me??? Actually, they're so fabulous and out of reach that you're not even jealous. It just amazes me that there are people who really get up everyday and live like this, and you can't help but gawk a little bit.
We headed out past the jetty and turned down the coast towards Laguna. There's a great hotel in South Laguna called The Montage. I've been lucky enough to stay there twice. I think the cheap rooms there are now up to about $750.00. Both of my stays were for business, and the first time, since I was the meeting planner, they comped L and I a SUITE. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven for sure. It was awesome. Anyway, here it is, perched on the cliffs of South Laguna Beach:
There is no lovelier location for a hotel. Maybe the Bacarra in Santa Barbara, which is just as pretty, although in a colder climate. Anyway, L and I gave it a wistful little nod and wave as we sailed by. It was nice there for sure, but I'd have to have a lot more money than I do now to pay those prices. But work was paying for it before, so I'm glad we had our couple of chances to live large.
We turned away from the coastline and headed a little more out into the ocean. We saw 2 dolphin playing in the distance, jumping out of the water close to a paddle boarder. We saw lots of sea birds and pelicans. We saw tons of seals. But no whales. No dolphin pods. Mostly just a lot of this:
And somehow, that was okay. It was peaceful and pretty and satisfying. L and I went up to the bow of the ship and stood there feeling the boat lift and drop with the ocean swells. I loved the feeling of that. So free with the sun on my face and the salty spray. I understood the passion of people who own sailboats. We could see Catalina Island in the distance, and I wished we could go all the way there, riding the rise and fall of the huge ocean surrounding us.
Too soon, it was time to turn back into Newport Harbor. The whales had eluded us that day. Somewhere, they were in hiding. Luckily, we hadn't really seen more than the couple of dolphin, so we all got a voucher to come back another day and try it again. I was a little disappointed we hadn't seen any whales, but on a day as gorgeous as that, it's hard to have any regrets. Just outside the harbor, there is a bouy, and as usual it was full of seals of all shapes and ages napping in the sun. Big ones, little ones laying on their mamas, big daddy ones all snoozing away in the afternoon warmth.
And what did we do after we stepped off the boat? Why, we went and had some fish and chips and clam chowder, of course! A perfect end to the perfect, peaceful afternoon with my sweetheart that I'd been craving. The worries and responsibilities of the daily grind were kept at bay for a few short hours, and we were able to enjoy a classic, made-to-order Southern California day. I can't wait to get out on the water again.