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First Beach Day of 2011, in Bucerias!

So my doctor said that swimming in the ocean would actually be good for my leg wound – fantastic news!  I had been missing swimming something terrible since I got that bad leg infection three weeks ago.  So off I went to the beach at Bucerias with my waterproof media player pouch and my kick-board!

It was a gorgeous day too, blue skies with a few wisps of cloud.  Well, most days here are gorgeous – always a high of 27 and about 60% humidity.  Today was better than usual though as there wasn’t much wind, so the waves were much milder and so I wouldn’t wind up with as much water up my nose.

I ran across the beach to the ocean, put on my swim cap & cranked up my mp3 player, and swam out about 25 meters.  Fantastic!  I just paddled there for a little while, enjoying the feeling of being buoyed up and watching the surf roll onto the beach with the well wooded mountains behind it glinting distantly green in the clear air.  Beautiful.

I swam with my kick-board for a while, just enjoying the water and the exercise.  There were some people para-gliding relatively nearby, and it was neat to watch their rainbow chutes whirling away up in the sky.  I also passed a fisherman wading out to throw this oddly weighted net into the water and haul back in buckets worth of shrimp!  Nifty to watch, I’d never seen traditional ocean net fishing before.

I kept paddling along, waving to another swimming nearby (the only one I saw).  After a bit I caught motion out of the corner of my eye and turned, and BLOOP! a pelican hit the water in a dive about 10m away from me!  It was quite amazing to watch.  They’re ugly birds, but watching one dive was quite electrifying.  Looking up I saw that there about a dozen flocking nearby, and paddled a bit and watched them moving from ocean to beach and back again.  When they glided, their outlines strongly reminded me of the depictions of pterodons in our old children’s dinosaur books.  Not hard to believe at all that birds are the direct descendants of dinos, seeing those pelicans like that.

The pelicans moved farther up the ocean after a while, and I settled back down to swimming when suddenly POP! a fish jumped out of the water a few meters away!  It didn’t do it again, but I got a good look at few minutes later when another couple fish ahead of me did the same.  So cool!  I knew that I was surrounded by living things in a huge ecosystem, but it’s all kept from my view by the coruscating green waves.  Seeing the fisherman, shrimp, birds and fish like that was like being given a special glimpse into those hidden places from naughty children teasing a stranger.  Much better than the grumpy old men jellyfish and stingrays telling me to ‘get off their lawn!’ last time!

Eventually I made my way back to the beach after a good 45min of so of swimming.  I would have liked to have gone longer, but swimming in amongst all those currents is *really* exhausting – unlike lane swimming in the pool, you have to use your whole body to compensate for the multiple forces pushing you out of alignment.

Walking back to the car along the beach was also pleasing to mine eye.  The mountains around Banderas Bay are full of iron and sulfur, and there is lots of rain and water up there that constantly sweep the mountainsides clean and dump the dust out into the bay.  Many days you can’t see into the water at all, there are big bands and tongues in the bay that are grey green instead of blue green from all of that laden water coursing down from the mountains.  Makes for some super cold currents too!!!  The effect on the beaches is more than worth it however.  You often hear the phrase ‘golden sands’ and you’ve seen sand at the playground or on the beach and think, yah, that’s kind of yellow.  Not around the bay – it really IS heavily mixed with gold!  Fool’s gold, that is – all that iron & sulfur forms huge amounts of pyrite, and it almost coats the beaches!  Gorgeous to watch it as it dries in the sun, especially when it’s framed by the wave patterns laid down in black iron oxides around it.  Neither pictures nor video do it justice, it has to be seen first hand.

After getting towelled off I decided to walk around Bucerias, as I’d seen lots of places I wanted to visit when I’d been down there walking around on New Year’s eve with Wayne.  I like Bucerias a lot – it’s very similar to Banff, with lots of galleries and little stores and fine dining and such, but without the heavy big-chain commercialization.  Like Paia in Maui, but larger and with a lot of higher end establishments as well as little mom and pop type places.  I stopped in at Sweet Thing Cafe & Bakery and had a very yummie ham, egg and cheese bagel with hash browns for just CDN$4.50 in a dining are that was more garden and patio than anything else!  It looked so nice i took some pictures:

Left of my table, Sweet Thing Cafe

Left and forward of my table, Sweet Thing Cafe

Forward of my table, Sweet Thing Cafe

Right and forward of my table, Sweet Thing Cafe

Right of my table, Sweet Thing Cafe

Behind my table, Sweet Thing Cafe

They didn’t have croissants, which I have been jonesing for, but the owner (from Manitoba) did direct me to a French cafe up the street and mentioned a patisserie in the downtown (I was on the equivalent of Edmonton’s Whyte Ave or Scottsdale’s Old Town).

So I hit up Cafe Delicios around the corner, and found an incredibly well made croissant – soft spun buttery starch, huzzah!  I was served by the owner’s wife (the owner was done up with traditional French chef’s jacket and hat and was busy cooking behind the counter in the open kitchen), and my broken Frawnch was better than her pidgin English.  She was please to be able to converse in Frawnch, so we had a nice little natter a la Francais and learned that her boulanger was the bakery downtown I’d learned of from the Sweet Thing’s owner.

Munching away happily on my croissant, I resolved to visit downtown and the bakery another day and went back to the car, drove back to San Vicente and was pleasantly tired and replete with yummie goodness for the rest of day.

Today I’m off again, but this time am taking my media player glasses to do yoga on the beach first before heading out to swim – I think it’ll be the perfect place to do yoga, and the swim after will get me nicely tired out again!  I’m definitely designed for tropical living, no two ways about it.

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