For Elizabeth R. – booby photos

Mother booby and child

Alas, the feet are not so apparent in my photos.  But I hope it helps if I describe the color. The blue feet were the most apparent, and they were the color of public swimming pool blue.

It was quite unreal.  I think in one of these shots (maybe the cave picture), you can see the green-ish color, too.

We saw the boobies and bird sanctuary on the day we took a boat trip, ended up humpback whale watching, saw dolphins and the other boat saw a whole school of sting rays at the surface of the water.

A green-footed booby may almost be visible here.

When we arrived on a little island not far from the bird sanctuary island, we saw the scene above (first photo).  You could see one or two birds and what looked like rolls of cotton at the edge of the nest.  The cotton soon woke up and we saw wobbly spindly babies trying to stand up, maybe being fed and moved around.

A few of the guides from our trip climbed up the rocky side of the island wall to try to get closer and the adult birds took on a defensive stance.

Surf’s up, and my new abs o’ steel.

I didn’t get sad until I walked across the tarmac at the airport in Puerto Vallarta. But as Olivia and I approached the plane, warm sun beating down on our heads and shoulders, it hit me that this most restful and physically challenging week was coming to an end. I was heading back to Seattle, Wash. after a week in Sayulita, Mexico with 20 sort-of strangers who were now friends and/or friendly.

Beach scene from Mexico, island off Puerto Vallarta
Private beach not far from the blue-footed & other-colored booby sanctuary

This was my second time on one of Jen Isaacson‘s yoga retreats, and the second to Sayulita. Last year’s trip was rejuvenating, and transformational (as I described when we set our intentions on one of the first days), and I loved the sleepy yet vibrant fishing and surfing village of Sayulita.

This year’s trip kicked my butt, mostly because Jen was going full-steam and there were lots of enthusiastic yoginis who asked for more and more each day.

Last year, I was tired on Friday. This year, I was tired on Tuesday and had to skip a class to give my bod a rest. It also gave me the chance to catch up with Wendy, who was on the trip last year. We did the girl talk thing (talked about boys) and I was really happy to see her again. She’s young at heart like me, and she helped me find a fabulous necklace. (Thanks to Marta on that, too.)

Allen, Hannah, Luis & Jen on the boat ride

So, the yoga kicked my butt as well as the hills I trekked up every single day. We did so much ab work one day, and then went surfing, that I had to roll sideways out of bed that night and the next day because it hurt too much to sit up. I didn’t feel quite so wimpy when I heard some of the younger and super-fit on the trip say the same thing. I also brought back war wounds in the form of bruises on my hips from surfing. That’s not something I can write all the time, so it’s important to document. Yo.

The group this year was a lot more light-hearted and independent than last year’s group. The light-hearted brought laughter to every class and every party, and it was something I really appreciated.  I was baffled during last year’s retreat about the negativity that some people brought along for the ride, but I suppose Jen would just say that those people are just where they’re at, and it just happened to carry with it some negative vibes.

She said something great on one of the first days to help all of us let go of whatever we were carrying on the trip. She talked about being present, in the moment, and related it to when we were leaving Seattle and had our boarding pass and were getting on a plane. We knew in that moment where we needed to be, for sure.

It isn’t always easy to put aside stressful thoughts about work, or the boy who said he needed space and broke your heart a month ago (yes, girl talk) or where you are going to get coffee after class, but Jen provided encouragement during every class to help take my mind off things. I’m pretty sure others would say the same thing.

Humpback whale sighting (!)

One of my favorite memories from the trip & class was the day we were rolling backwards (like into plow) and then coming forwards pretty quickly so that we landed in a deep squat. I was among the last to get to my feet.  Luis was looking at all of us and maybe struggling a bit and he said, “Man, you chicks kick ass,” which meant he also needed to complete the task to join us chicks.  Okay, one of my other favorite moments with Luis is when Jen was having us do something with the block and he wasn’t digging the block, but she thought he just wanted a different size. Not this block!

Other great memories – connecting with Jodi and appreciating her positively infectious attitude; hanging with Teal and Olivia, the Capricorn (slow and steady wins the race) and meeting them on the bus ride into Sayulita; being around Allen’s goofiness, which was a big part of the light-heartedness we all enjoyed during the week; tequila bottle in class (yes, Jen, I encouraged Allen to put it near the altar); seeing that Alaina had Rufus Wainwright on her iPod; meeting Nichole, who works at Harborview & having that work connection; having a fabulous meal of mahi mahi and other amazing Mexican food at Alaina, Rose & Lauren’s place (group dinner was a fabulous idea); being around the dynamic duo of Amanda (sexy booty shorts – I need to get a pair) and Allison (sorry I missed the bartending night!); Hannah’s exotic and quiet beauty; Andrea’s fabulous hair; talking with the Aussies from Capitol Hill and appreciating their exuberance and back flips in the ocean, and descriptions of the Villa Amor (will I really be there next year on my honeymoon? It’s a thought); last meal of a small Mexican baby, I mean burrito, outside the P.V. aeroport with Allen & Olivia; learning that I’m not the only one struggling with relationship issues right now (duh); taco truck, surfing, blue-footed (and other color) boobies.

And I’m sure there are other things I am forgetting and leaving out details from the other beautiful people on the trip. But here are some thoughts for now, after my first day back at work, before time passes and Sayulita is too distant of a thought.  Namaste.