Albuquerque to Santa Fe (with stops in Madrid and Cerillos)

Both Kelly and my host in Santa Fe recommended taking highway 14 instead of the interstate and stopping in two small communities along the way. Advice from locals must be heeded! And the interstate isn’t much fun. 馃檪

This part of NM really reminds me of the Okanagan.

This part of NM really reminds me of the Okanagan.

First stop was Madrid. Not pronounced Meh-drid, but Mah-drid, an old coal mining and then ghost town that is now a quirky little shopping district.

Entering Madrid.

Entering Madrid.

Shops line highway 14 on both sides.

Shops line highway 14 on both sides.

I drove to the far end of the town and parked at the antique shop there. I went in and poked around. Near the end, I found a pair of earrings I fell in love with and the owner gave me a bit of a deal, not charging tax on them, so a flat $20. I tried to photograph them, but I didn’t manage it. They are rather like two glass marbles, a smaller one on top of a bigger one, with d茅coupaged flowers in them. The friendly owner said I was welcome to remain parked at his shop and gave me recommendations for restaurants. I wasn’t hungry, of course, but the words ‘ice cream’ and ‘coffee’ did catch my attention. 馃檪

I stopped in a few shops on the way to the ice cream, seeing tons of jewellery, but nothing I liked nearly as much as my new earrings. It’s always risky buying the first thing you see, but I tend to know what I like and recognize things that are unique.

The ice cream place had Dreyer’s ice cream or locally made gelato. I went for the latter as they had chocolate with brownie pieces.

This is their 'child's size' gelato. I would have hated to see an adult one...

This is their ‘child’s size’ gelato. I would have hated to see an adult one…

Amazing driveway made of... broken glass? Lots of colours.

Amazing driveway made of… broken glass? Lots of colours.

I walked as I ate my treat, making a note of shops I would want to stop in later. I stopped at the famous Madrid Mineshaft Bar, thinking to tour their museum, but I waited for ages to buy a ticket and no one showed, so I figured it wasn’t meant to be. I wasn’t disappointed as it didn’t sound great and I would have just gone as a way to kill a little time.

Famous Mineshaft Bar.

Famous Mineshaft Bar.

The entrance looks like a mine shaft.

The entrance looks like a mine shaft.

Instead, I did a few more shops, then got a coffee and sat to watch both pedestrian and vehicular traffic for a bit.

Their coffee was good! :)

Their coffee was good! 馃檪

Java Junction. No pricier than Starbucks, and tastier.

Java Junction. No pricier than Starbucks, and tastier.

I liked their old sign.

I liked their old sign.

Then, it was time to stroll back to my truck.

Old miner's house.

Old miner’s house.

This is where I got the gelato.

This is where I got the gelato.

:)

馃檪

Name of the shop.

Name of the shop.

So many pretty buildings!

So many pretty buildings!

It's sitting there on flat tires waiting for someone to love it enough to restore it...

It’s sitting there on flat tires waiting for someone to love it enough to restore it…

Another pretty shop.

Another pretty shop.

If the snakes don't get you, the faeries will!

If the snakes don’t get you, the faeries will!

Old station wagon.

Old station wagon.

Photo park.

Photo park.

My last stop was a bit of a mistake, or so I thought when I walked in, as it was the Madrid grocery store, housed in, well, a house. Prettiest grocery store I’ve ever seen! Well, I found some handicrafts in the back, including Guatemalan purses that are the exact style of purse I was hoping to find in Maz this winter, basically a large wallet with a shoulder strap that can be tucked out of the way. I can throw it in my giant tote to go to Maz or use it as is around Isla. It was a little pricey ($25), but the colours were perfect and I knew I would regret not getting it.

So I definitely contributed to the Madrid economy!

I continued on through gorgeous scenery.

Really looks like the Okanagan!

Really looks like the Okanagan!

Doesn't it?

Doesn’t it?

Next stop was Cerillos, as in little cerros (hills) not matches (fire sticks). This is turquoise mining country and Cerillos was once seriously considered to be the capital of New Mexico. Now, it is almost a ghost town. I followed the signs to the museum and petting zoo.

Museum and petting zoo is stretching the truth a tad. :)

Museum and petting zoo is stretching the truth a tad. 馃檪

Another quirky building.

Another quirky building.

The entrance is a jewellery shop. The owner’s son, a guy about my age, was very friendly. He wouldn’t take my money for the museum entrance or a bag of feed for the animals, so I bought another pair of earrings. 馃檪 These were turquoise, beautiful small rough mismatched pieces of it on surgical steel, for just $10. My first piece of turquoise jewellery and what a place to have gotten it!

The museum is a well curated and organized collection of old stuff.

The museum is a well curated and organized collection of old stuff.

My farrier friend Charles would likely recognize all of these.

My farrier friend Charles would likely recognize all of these.

The animals were a few chickens, three goats, and a llama. One goat was hungry, and the other two just wanted to be petted! I fed them a mixture of grain and corn. I had water and soap in the truck for washing my hands after nearly getting licked to death by the goat! 馃檪

The llama wasn't friendly.

The llama wasn’t friendly.

The goats were!

The goats were!

And so were the chickens.

And so were the chickens.

But not these chickens.

But not these chickens.

Scenic overlook.

Scenic overlook.

The top of the building is lined with glass telephone pole insulators.

The top of the building is lined with glass telephone pole insulators.

Front of the 'museum.'

Front of the ‘museum.’

'Downtown' Cerillos.

‘Downtown’ Cerillos.

RVers would have watch out!

RVers would have watch out!

Rather impressive church for a small town!

Rather impressive church for a small town!

Cerillos was a fun little stop along the road and I’m glad I stopped in.

It was early when I drove into Santa Fe, but I had left ABQ earlier than expected. I called my host to see if it was okay to come in early, yup! I headed out there, but had to call for help near the end since my GPS was being useless. I eventually found it!

So that’s where I am now, just outside of Santa Fe. I am staying at reader John’s spread, but I won’t say which John just to give him a modicum of privacy. 馃檪 Now, get this. John has me living in his Arctic Fox trailer! I’m in an RV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John made me feel very welcome and I will likely be here a week. I don’t plan to work as hard as I did in T or C because Santa Fe is the NM city I really wanted to explore, but I will work some (and have a project due Friday). The trailer is wonderful — comfy bed, full kitchen, dinette for working, and full bathroom. I have FHU. John showed me around a the ‘neighbourhood’ a bit and then left me to my own devices.

I went back to town and bought groceries for a week, dropping more than 50USD! But this should last me the week, in addition to a couple of meals out when I’m in town. There was also a two for one deal on some white wine, so I opted for that instead of beer. 馃檪 I did Panda Express for dinner though, as I was famished and too tired to cook.

Thanks for the warm welcome and hospitality, John!

El acuario de Mazatl谩n (Aquarium)

The acuario de Mazatl谩n (aquarium) is a great place for a family to spend a few hours. It is a combination aquarium, zoo, and botanical garden, with several live shows during the day.

I will admit that I had some concerns prior to my visit about what the aquarium would be like and how the animals would be treated, but my prejudice was unfounded. I have been to aquariums and zoos in Canada where the conditions were nowhere near this good. While I found some of the enclosures small, the animals were all well taken care of, with plenty of fresh food, water, shade, and stimulation.

Entry to the aquarium is 100 pesos for adults or 70 pesos for children, a fantastic deal, especially if you take in at least one show.

Entrance.

Street entrance.

You buy your ticket from a disembodied voice. Seriously. The ticket booth has a mirrored surface and you cannot see the attendant. You then take your ticket inside and trade it for a bracelet. I was greeted in Spanish and blasted with information that I didn’t entirely grasp. I asked the attendant to please repeat herself and she instead switched the flawless English, telling me about the schedule for the shows, where to grab a tour, the location of the bathrooms, etc.

The ticket booth.

The ticket booth.

The entrance.

The entrance.

My snazzy Acuario bracelet.

My snazzy Acuario bracelet.

All the other staff I interacted with during my visit had a good level of English. There is rudimentary English signage throughout the aquarium, but you really do need a basic level of Spanish to get the full experience and read all the informational placards. That said, I still think you can get a lot for your 100 pesos if you don’t speak Spanish.

You start in the building that houses the aquarium proper. It’s well done, but nothing spectacular, with tanks holding different varieties of fish and other critters, and a few small exhibits about boats, shellfish, fishing traps, coral, and a few other things.

Then, you go outside to visit the botanical garden, aviaries, zoo, another building with more fish, and a few other exhibits.

The tortoises were one of my favourite things.

The tortoises were one of my favourite things I saw today.

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IMGP0754

Tortoise skeletons look rather sinister!

Tortoise skeletons look rather sinister!

I've got one of these on my desk!

I’ve got one of these on my desk!

And one of the sand dollars, too (bottom left).

And one of the sand dollars, too (bottom left).

Sea lion skeleton.

Sea lion skeleton.

I couldn't find any signage explaining what animal this is.

I couldn’t find any signage explaining what animal this is.

There was a little booth showcasing all the things to see and do in the state of Sinaloa.

There was a little booth showcasing all the things to see and do in the state of Sinaloa.

I'll like to go see this.

I’ll like to go see this.

It is called the Mirador del reloj and is in Choix.

It is called the Mirador del reloj and is in Choix.

The interior part of the aquarium is quite small, but beautifully done.

The interior part of the aquarium is quite small, but beautifully done.

I arrived at 10:45 and there was a sea lion show at 11:00, so I went right there from a very quick inside tour (returning to the inside exhibits later). The sea lion show area was covered and had heaps of seating.

Interestingly enough, a sea lion in Spanish, like in French, is a sea wolf.

The show was really fun! The sea lions seemed to be enjoying themselves and it was obvious that the trainer has genuine affection for them. The only thing I disliked was that the commentary was done with a background of very loud music so I could barely hear anything, even when they said things in English.

At one point, the commentator asked the audience where they were visiting from and pointed to me. I said, “Canada,” and he switched to English to ask me where in Canada. I replied, “Saskatchewan,” and he wowed me by asking closer to Saskatoon or Regina!

Pictures really can’t do justice to this show, so I’ve included a video with highlights from it at the end of the post.

After the sea lion show, you can take a picture with a sea lion for 30 pesos with your own camera or 50 pesos with theirs and you get a framed print. Good deal! I would totally do this if I was visiting with a child.

After the sea lion show, you can take a picture with a sea lion for 30 pesos with your own camera or 50 pesos with theirs and you get a framed print. Good deal! I would totally do this if I was visiting with a child.

Show set up.

Show set up.

This sign made me laugh. Spanish: The sea lion jumps could wet the people in the front row. English: Siting (sic) in the fronts (sic) seat will get you wet! I like that the Spanish one explains the English one. :)

This sign made me laugh. Spanish: The sea lion jumps could wet the people in the front row.
English: Siting (sic) in the fronts (sic) seat will get you wet!
I like that the Spanish one explains the English one. 馃檪

Some sort of bird of prey was sitting above us.

Some sort of bird of prey was sitting above us.

Stork.

Stork.

The stork few down to the show area and made itself comfy to watch it. I like that the trainer would periodically send it fish, too!

The stork few down to the show area and made itself comfy to watch it. I like that the trainer would periodically send it fish, too!

Here comes Bony!

Here comes Bony!

Notice that he's holding himself up by his flippers!

Notice that he’s holding himself up by his flippers!

After the sea lion show, I wandered the grounds.

Interesting placard talking about how far back in history botanical gardens have existed.

Interesting placard talking about how far back in history botanical gardens have existed.

It's a fair sized facility.

It’s a fair sized facility.

I’m pretty sure I saw the first ostrich of my life. Wow, their heads really are disproportionately small compared to their bodies!

Ostrich! I think this is my first time seeing one!!! His lunch looked really yummy, lettuce with all sorts of veggies mixed in, plus seeds.

Ostrich! I think this is my first time seeing one!!! His lunch looked really yummy, lettuce with all sorts of veggies mixed in, plus seeds.

There was another, small, building with fish tanks. I think they might sometimes have sharks there, but there were none today.

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Doesn't he look like Casper, the friendly ghost?!

Doesn’t he look like Casper, the friendly ghost?!

The crocodiles were amazing. They look like they are carved from rocks. I spent a lot of time just staring at them. The video at the end of the post shows one moving to a warmer spot.

Crocodile.

Crocodile.

I literally watched this guy for 10 minutes to see if he was alive. He was.

I literally watched this guy for 10 minutes to see if he was alive. He was. He breathes very shallowly so you have to really look to see his chest expand and contract. I also saw the tongue undulate a bit.

I did not expect to see a tiger today!

I did not expect to see a tiger today!

These silver foxes were very friendly. They ran up to me and made it very clearly they wanted to be petted. It was very hard to resist!

These silver foxes were very friendly. They ran up to me and made it very clearly they wanted to be petted. It was very hard to resist!

Koi pond.

Koi pond.

You can pay extra to snorkel with the stingrays!

You can pay extra to snorkel with the stingrays!

I love their translations. Do not introduce your hands.

I love their translations. Do not introduce your hands.

There were a couple of aviaries where you could walk among the birds.

There were a couple of aviaries where you could walk among the birds.

I think this might have been my first time seeing peacocks in North America, and very likely my first time seeing coloured ones (I saw albino ones at Scone Palace in Scotland). The plumage is stunning, but the birds are actually quite unattractive.

Peacocks are actually quite hideous, but their tails are impressive.

Peacocks are actually quite hideous, but their tails are impressive.

I could have taken in a bird show, with trained parrots, but it didn’t interest me at all, so I skipped it. They have a third type of show, but I didn’t catch of what and it wasn’t running today.

Toucan!

Toucan!

Barn owl.

Barn owl.

Fresh food for the birds.

Fresh food for the birds.

A goose who followed me around.

A goose who followed me around.

There was a small display with snakes and frogs that I enjoyed but for the fact that the glare made it difficult to see things. I’ve never seen so many boa constrictors in one place and there were babies, too!

I love that Spanish has a word for 'frog habitat.'

I love that Spanish has a word for ‘frog habitat’ (ranario).

All told, I spent a solid 90 minutes at the aquarium. I could have easily added an hour to that by taking in the other two shows (if the third had been running).

Poseidon.

Poseidon outside the aquarium.

A Weekend Off

I haven’t had a real weekend off since I arrived on Isla, a couple of days that I choose to take off rather than them being imposed, days where there is absolutely no need to be glued to my computer hoping that a last minute project will come in, and which I can truly enjoy because there are plenty of projects behind me and I know when the next ones are coming in.

I finished work around 11:30 yesterday (Friday) morning (putting in a full five hour day!) and then spent a few hours updating my professional website before giving the house a thorough cleaning. After that, I collapsed with a movie and a beer, stepping out to get some hot dogs for dinner. I went to bed early since I’d been up since 5:00.

It was 6:30 when I woke up this morning and I enjoyed the incredible luxury of fixing myself a cup of coffee and going back to bed with it! I obviously don’t bother doing that in Miranda since once I’m down that ladder, I stay down!

I stayed in bed for a good hour reading and playing games on my iPad. I finally got up, put some laundry on, took out the water bottle, brought a full bottle in, and made a ridiculously huge breakfast.

After I ate, I went over to my landlady’s house and, yay, she was finally home! I paid my rent and told her that my roof had leaked during the recent rain, just in the bathroom, and it had messed up the ceiling paint. (By the way, roof and ceiling is the same thing in Spanish, techo.)

We then discussed something important. Drum roll please… I told her I am 90% certain I want to rent this house again next winter! I’ve been looking at other options and have decided to play it safe and just come back here. I really do like the house (and location!), I have laundry and internet, and the rent, while a bit higher than I’d really like to pay, is very reasonable. She said to call her late this summer to confirm. Of course, it’ll be a shorter stay next year, five months instead of six, and so I’ll probably arrive at the end of November and then leave mid-April.

All that done, I packed up my tote bag and headed to Maz, with the plan being to visit the aquarium. I arrived on the Maz side only to realise that I had never actually looked up where the aquarium is exactly. But I’d seen plenty of signs for it and had a pretty good idea of where it was, so off I went. I’ve come a long way from the frustrated gal walking around in circles!

I took Guti茅rrez N谩jera towards the Malec贸n, got myself a grapefruit juice, and then turned northish (Golden Zonewards) one block before the Malec贸n. I just walked this road for quite a while, enjoying how peaceful it was. I could periodically see Avendida del Mar (what this stretch of road along the Malec贸n is called), so I had quite a few landmarks.

No idea what this building is, but it made me laugh.

No idea what this building is, but it made me laugh.

Detail of the exquisite doorway.

Detail of the exquisite doorway.

And then, I spotted a big blue building off in the distance.

Could that be...

Could that be…

It is!

It is!

Well, that was easy. 馃榾

I’ll do a separate post about the aquarium!

I came out of there after a few hours and spent two hours literally just walking aimlessly. I found myself on the Malec贸n, the hilly part of Centro hist贸rico, Olas Altas, Plazuela Machado, the Mercado, and then Zaragoza, at which point I was ready to go home. I had vague plans to get lunch, but it was just too dang hot!

I did get some ice cream from my favourite vendor. I now know that it is called nieve de garrafa (English article) and is a water based fruit sorbet native to Mexico. They had pineapple today for the first time, and I got that with mandarin and prune.

One of the many papier m芒ch茅 statues along the Malec贸n.

One of the many papier m芒ch茅 statues along the Malec贸n.

Colourful houses on a street in the hilly part of historical Maz.

Colourful houses on a street in the hilly part of historical Maz.

A sweet little bench across the road from the Malec贸n.

A sweet little bench across the road from the Malec贸n.

Devil's Cave.

Devil’s Cave.

Well, that was anticlimactic.

Well, that was anticlimactic.

I got in around 2:45 after stopping for fresh tortillas and made a salad with some cream cheese roll ups and a beer for lunch.

It’s been a wonderful day with lots of entertainment, sun, and exercise! I’ll finish it up by getting some shrimp burritos from Miguel’s and watching a movie.

Tomorrow will be an at home day where I’ll catch up on bookkeeping and admin tasks and do a project for Contessa. None of this counts as work in my book!

Off to prepare my aquarium post. First, I need to splice together a movie!

Driving Through Saguaro National Park and Visiting the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

For this afternoon, I wanted an activity that would get me out of the truck (so not too far from Coolidge in the direction of Tucson), but which would still be outdoorsy. I found the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which sounded like the perfect way to wile away an afternoon. To get there, my GPS routed me through Saguaro National Park, a route I would have avoided had I not had my parks pass as it costs $10 to enter this park for a week. I pulled over a few times to enjoy the view of all those hills covered in one saguaro cactus after another. It looked positively like an alien landscape!

Later, at the museum, I asked someone there all my questions about the saguaros. First of all, the g has the Spanish pronunciation, so it is more like sa-wah-ro聽 than sa-gwa-ro. Next, the root system really interested me. The saguaros have a lot of roots, most of which are just below the surface and the radius of the roots equals the height of the cactus. So if you have a 10′ cactus, the roots extend 10′ all around it. The older the root, the more woody it is. The saguaros are firmly rooted, but sway in the wind. They get their first spear (arm) when they are about 75 to 100 years old and they live a long time!

The desert museum admission is just shy of $20 and you need at least two hours to see everything. I stayed 2.5 hours and that was just enough to view everything except hike the desert loop to the coyotes because it was just too dang out.聽 Anyway, I see coyotes all the time back home, so I decided to see the (indoor) snake exhibit a second time instead. 馃檪

This museum is really a zoo and botanical garden. You get to see all the animals of the Sonoran desert as well as the plants, insects, and geology. It is beautifully laid out.

I arrived around 1:40 and was told to hoof it down to the rear of the site to catch the raptor show at 2:00. This was an incredible experience! Several types of trained raptors, including peregrine falcons, Harris’ hawks, and barn owls fly over and near the crowd. One hawk swooped so close to me that I had to duck! The show lasted a half hour and we learned about how these birds thrive in a desert environment.

After that, I just wandered the site with my map, looking at what was interesting, from the aviary to the big cat canyon, the mineral dump where I was able to find a treasure to take home to the hummingbird garden, the bee and butterfly habitats to the cactus garden, and more. There was lots and lots to see and plenty of cool buildings to duck into when I had enough of the unrelenting sun. There was also a conveniently located caf茅 selling ice cream at a reasonable price. 馃檪

The museum takes good care of its guests by not only providing a lot of sources of good drinking water for refilling bottles, but also sunscreen in every bathroom!

My camera ran out after the black bear. I got some more pics with my iPhone, but I forgot to bring the transfer cable into the bunk with me. All you’re missing is pictures of prairie dogs, several rattlesnakes, and every more saguaro-covered hills. In other words, not much. 馃檪

I learned so much today about this desert that extends as far north as B.C.’s Okanagan region. The saguaro-savvy staff member and I talked about about that and she explained that prickly pear-type cacti do well in colder climates, hence why we have them in Canada. She was surprised that we have them as far east as southern SK, though.

From the museum, I took a twisty road to Tucson, stopping along the way to soak in the view. It’s been another full rich day!

Checking Out Port Aransas

Thursday promised to be grey, not the best weather to go out gallivanting, but off I did go, leaving around 8AM. I got fuel and then drove straight to Aransas Pass to catch the free ferry to Port Aransas.

One of the goals of this trip was to see what it would be like in an RV and to scope out the boondocking spots. I’d already made the decision not to move Miranda there, but I wanted to know what I would be missing.

The ferry was very tight. I did see a ginormous fiver come off the ferry ahead of me, but I would not feel comfortable taking my rig on there as there is zero room for error.

Port Aransas is bigger than I thought it would be and full of colourful unique storefronts (see the gallery below). First stop was the Marine Science Institute, where there are a few free displays. They sometimes have free educational lectures and movies, too.

I met a wonderful lady traveling from Minnesota. We gabbed for ages and she was delighted that I’ve been through her state a few times and could easily point out her town on a map. We talked a little about my travels and she asked me if I’d ever been to Alaska, wondering how hard it is to get there. I explained that the Alaska Highway is super easy to drive and that there’s no need to over prepare to go north. She actually took some notes. I hope she gets up there some day!

Next, I came upon one of the many RV boondocking beaches in the area. You need to pay to boondock and you can only stay three nights out of every three weeks.

I drove out to another beach south of town. Both locations were lovely, but the ground was very soft and the tides more likely to come up very high. I really don’t feel like I’m making a mistake not detouring to Port Aransas to boondock, but I’m glad I checked it out.

I’d asked S for a lunch recommendation and she told me to try the pizza at The Gaff, so that’s where I went. Woah, what a place… It’s a shack (and that’s a kind way of putting it) with a pirate theme. It didn’t feel too clean and I’m not convinced the pizza maker washed her hands once between everything she was doing. That said, the experience was worth it and the pizza not bad! I was only able to eat a couple of slices and I took the rest with me. I knew it wouldn’t survive the trip to Harlingen, what with the truck sitting in the sun, but I was able to snack on another couple of slices and found that this is a pizza that’s best served lukewarm. I loved the sauce and cheese, the crust was so-so. The server had just started working there and had everything under control. We had a nice chat and she said that I should come on a Saturday night when they have beltsander races! I would never have tried this place had it not been recommended to me and I’m so glad I did!

It was coming on to 1:00 when I came out from lunch, so it was time to move on. Next stop, Corpus Christi.

Aim Low Insurance in Aransas Pass; the name struck me as funny.

Aim Low Insurance in Aransas Pass; the name struck me as funny.

Driving towards the Port Aransas ferry.

Driving towards the Port Aransas ferry.

The road to the ferry is lined with instructional signs for using the 'ferryboat.' My favourite was 'the ferryboat's capacity is whatever it can safely carry.'

The road to the ferry is lined with instructional signs for using the ‘ferryboat.’ My favourite was ‘the ferryboat’s capacity is whatever it can safely carry.’

Good thing there is a little boat on the instructions, or I would have serious doubts about my GPS!

Good thing there is a little boat on the instructions, or I would have serious doubts about my GPS!

Waiting in line at the ferry. I was signaled to go 'thataway' with two fingers waving, so I deduced (correctly) that I had to go into the outer lane.

Waiting in line at the ferry. I was signaled to go ‘thataway’ with two fingers waving, so I deduced (correctly) that I had to go into the outer lane.

VERY tight squeeze on the ferry.

VERY tight squeeze on the ferry.

Leaving Aransas Pass.

Leaving Aransas Pass.

Port Aransas

Port Aransas

Ferry heading for Aransas Pass

Ferry heading for Aransas Pass

Port Aransas

Port Aransas

Desserted Island Ice Cream

Desserted Island Ice Cream

Marine Science Institute.

Marine Science Institute.

Sculpture outside the Marine Science Institute.

Sculpture outside the Marine Science Institute.

I really enjoyed this display that showed the teeth of sharks that swim in these waters and offered humorous commentary on their diet.

I really enjoyed this display that showed the teeth of sharks that swim in these waters and offered humorous commentary on their diet.

There were a few aquariums with live fish.

There were a few aquariums with live fish.

Cute grumpy fish.

Cute grumpy fish.

Nearly invisible flat fish.

Nearly invisible flat fish.

Yummy red snapper.

Yummy red snapper.

You are so delicious smoked!

You are so delicious smoked!

More hiding fish.

More hiding fish.

"Come on, inner peace. I don't have all day!"

“Come on, inner peace. I don’t have all day!”

I had never heard of 'sea beans' before today. They are seeds that are carried to far away lands by sea currents.

I had never heard of ‘sea beans’ before today. They are seeds that are carried to far away lands by sea currents.

More about sea beans.

More about sea beans.

A variety of sea beans.

A variety of sea beans.

More sea beans.

More sea beans.

One of the RV boondocking beaches.

One of the RV boondocking beaches.

One of the RV boondocking beaches.

One of the RV boondocking beaches.

One of the RV boondocking beaches.

One of the RV boondocking beaches.

One of the RV boondocking beaches.

One of the RV boondocking beaches.

One of the RV boondocking beaches.

One of the RV boondocking beaches.

View from one of the RV boondocking beaches.

View from one of the RV boondocking beaches.

I missed a turn on the GPS and came upon this. Best store entrance ever.

I missed a turn on the GPS and came upon this. Best store entrance ever.

Second best store entrance ever.

Second best store entrance ever.

Another boondocking beach.

Another boondocking beach.

Another boondocking beach.

Another boondocking beach.

Another boondocking beach.

Another boondocking beach.

Sea turtles are endangered.

Sea turtles are endangered.

Rules for boondocking here, including have a permit and stay only three days.

Rules for boondocking here, including have a permit and stay only three days.

The sand was a little soft in spots.

The sand was a little soft in spots.

The Gaff Pirate Bar

The Gaff Pirate Bar

I wouldn't have ventured in this place if it hadn't been recommended to me.

I wouldn’t have ventured in this place if it hadn’t been recommended to me.

Decent pizza with good conversation.

Decent pizza with good conversation.