Thursday, January 02, 2014

Days 1 and 2 of 2 Weeks Christmas Staycation 2013

San Diego 2011 Christmas Staycation
( 2012 Christmas was in Philippines )

Where's the best place for a Christmas vacation? For us, it's home. :) Unless going home to the Philippines to visit family, we always prefer to just stay home for Christmas. We always do not have to leave San Diego whenever it's my school vacation time. A San Diego vacation, or stay-cation, does not always disappoint because it is where the heart is.

Anyway, if I were a tourist in my hometown, where would I hang out first? Hmmm, hard to decide, since San Diego has too much too offer, both city and nature. But city is always there, once you've seen it, it's like, "okay, been there, done than!" But nature is different! It's different every breath you take! Nature relaxes mind, body and soul. Thankfully, San Diego is a blend of both nature and city, where escaping civilization is just a matter of minutes, because civilization and wilderness are perfectly meshed together.
Home Sweet San Diego

Anyway, if I were a tourist in San Diego, and have 2 weeks to explore, then, I would visit and hike all of Betchai's favorite places in San Diego, haha! I will not skip hiking at Torey Pines State Natural Reserve and Mt Woodson, her top 1 and 2 San Diego hikes. If I go more for city features, then, I would not miss Betchai's favorite San Diego City spot, Balboa Park, a cultural (with more than 12 museums), historical and nature park in one. I will follow the tips provided in her "Visiting San Diego" post.

Here's day 1 and 2 of my 2 weeks Christmas Vacation, at Home Sweet San Diego.
Day 1 of Vacationing At Home Sweet San Diego

Day 1, we spent most our time exploring La Jolla Cove, which is our favorite place for snorkeling in San Diego. However, someone thinks that it's too much work to put on a 5 mm wet suit and only stay in water for 30 minutes. For us to stay in water for 2 hours or more, someone needs a 7mm wet suit. :) This time, instead of jumping into the water, we simply enjoyed La Jolla Cove on land. What's the highlight for this day? I must say the sea lions on the beach at La Jolla Cove.
Sea Lions on Beach

It seemed weird to us that the place where we snorkeled a lot (maybe we stopped snorkeling only a month ago ) was yesterday already invaded by the sea lions. Maybe, because there were very few swimming that the sea lions thought men abandoned the beach. 
More People Now on Top of the Hill than Down at the Beach

Some may be intimidated looking at the sea lions and fear them either on land or in water. On land, sea lions may look scary and may bark at you if you get too close to them, but in water, they are the most gracious acrobats and helpful. Unknown to most, the sea lions and dolphins are part of US Navy. Sea lions and bootlenose dolphins are very intelligent mammals that the US Navy train them for some military applications underwater, just as dog on land since the 1960s. Use of sea lions in the US Navy includes detecting underwater landmines, equipment recovery, and protecting US ships from enemy divers. They have been protecting our waters from terrorist activities. However, there has always been controversy and critics about the military using intelligent mammals such as dolphins and sea lions, that by 2017, it is hoped that the robots will replace the service of these wonderful creatures. If in case you are visiting San Diego, chances are you may see some US Navy Sea Lions working with Navy Seals! :)

Anyway, we had fun watching the sea lions on the beach. It was such a treat because it seldom happen. Usually, the sea lions just stay on rocks, men at the beach, and the water is shared by everyone ( men and all forms of underwater life and ocean wildlife ). Anyway, the sea lions on the beach motivated onlookers from on top of the hill to go down to the beach that in a short time, men and sea lions where sharing the beach.

Another highlight of my day was seeing the breeding plumage of double crested cormorants.
Cormorant in Breeding Plumage
(the white crest right above the eyes could only be seen in breeding, it's still early of the breeding season, thus the white crest which looks like white wings on the head are still not that tall enough )

Here is a video from mostly day 1 ( with some footages from day 2 such as the dolphins and peregrines ), notice how many languages could you identify.

A Wonderful Wonderful Life @ La Jolla Cove and Torrey Pines
( hear not only the noise of sea lions, but the sheer happiness of people having that chance to be as close to them, and could you hear some tagalog words spoken, aside from English and other languages? It's a cultural mix enjoying one nature )

If Day 1 was sea lions at La Jolla Cove, day 2 was dolphins at Torrey Pines. However, unlike sea lions, dolphins don't haul out on the beach. Though they play with the surf oftentimes but they are smart enough to jump away from the waves to the deeper water before they would be smashed on shore. Dolphins surfing is sure fun to watch, from the land.
Day 2 of 2 Weeks Christmas Staycation

What a wonderful day of thanksgiving it was today, with the dolphins putting up a show while we were on top of Torrey Pines bluffs at Gliderport. Aside from dolphins, the hawk and crows were also putting up a show. Because the hawk preys on crow, the crows usually harass the hawk together to get even. Maybe, shouting to the hawks, "mean birds! mean birds!" Oh well, I love hawks though, I love watching bird of preys for they have such haunting eyes and so much inner strength in their stare alone. What's the highlight for day 2? Oh oh, pardon me if I should say, EXTREME HAPPINESS! :)
Day 2's Highlight: Simple Joy, Simple Happiness

I am loving the first 2 days of my Christmas break, no Christmas shopping stress. :) Ask me if I am done with Christmas shopping, and I say, "what Christmas shopping?" Life is too joyful outdoors to spend it shopping, haha! Just like with household chores, shopping and other errands are done weekdays after work, so that my free time, is spent mostly on the joys of outdoors. Taking delight on God's amazing gifts to us that are free, if we take the time to slow down and listen to the joyful beatings of simple life. One of the things that I love most about San Diego is that we do not have to get out of the city to enjoy the gifts of nature's awe and wonders.
Nature Within San Diego City Limits @ Torrey Pines Gliderport 
( this is where we love watching dolphins and whales from on top of the bluffs. it's easier to spot whales on top of the bluffs than at sea level at the beach.  )

Being an "outdoorsy city", men and nature are not walled off from each other, they co-exist beautifully. Like when there were no people anymore lazying at the beach of La Jolla Cove, sea lions enjoyed the sand there for a while. Their presence motivated people to go down the beach to enjoy that rare treat of being with the sea lions on beach. Well, now, because sea lions motivated men to enjoy the beach again, the sea lions are now back on the rocks, their home sweet home. 

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” ~ Peg Bracken

PS.....I would like to extend my thanks to those who joined the fun with me in my post "Arc'teryx in the Summer" and shared their guesses if which State did we spend our 2010 summer vacation. The guesses were: Utah, Arizona and most of the guesses were Alaska. No one was able to guess the State right, I guess because of all the ice and snow in the summer, a picture that often describes Alaska.
Without Snow, Glaciers, Rain forests and Ocean, Maybe These Structures Will Easily Help Now Identify the State of Washington

Seattle, another "outdoorsy city", was our arrival city but not our destination. I will write about our Washington's National Parks Road Trip 2010 later. For some reason, I had overlooked this trip and forgot to share the itinerary here, will do later, better late, than never. :)
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  1. I'm currently on my nth (I've lost count) of my staycation too and I can absolutely say it's very boring -__- I am green with envy. Cheers!

  2. You enjoyed a lot with your life and truly a Christmas season with love.

  3. "Being an "outdoorsy city", men and nature are not walled off from each other, they co-exist beautifully." - i think you should write you own travel book, Beth.

    someday, someday... Zen and I will invade your paradise. hehehe! Blessed Christmas and Bountiful 2014 to you, Khai and all your love ones! Sending warm virtual hugs from Sg. Love you!

  4. What a beautiful staycation you had, betchai. I am so happy to see you so happy :) And I completely agree with Cherry's comment above, I also think you should write your own book. Your beauty truly reflects in your thoughts and I love reading them and also try imbibing them in my own self. What a wonderful paradise you live in, here's to a great festive season. :)

  5. It is indeed a very nice place. I love the sea lions. But I could not imagine having them beside me while snorkeling, hmmm as if I can go there... :-)

  6. Hahaha I was just about to tell you too that we were talking today about dreaming of joining your nature watch in your home sweet home San Diego! :) looks like twinzy came here first :) I love the Cormorant in breeding plumage and the bluetiful shots here and as always your joys of simple life! Christmas amidst God's creation, a very meaningful one indeed! ♡ love yah!

  7. What a wonderful and fantastic staycation place, Betchai!

    Merry Christmas to you and your husband!

  8. Looks like a lot of fun! You're lucky your hometown has lots of amazing sceneries, you don't need to go far! :)

  9. For many years now, our family has been spending our Christmas at home. Going out at this time of the year is usually very stressful and costly. Next year though, I hope my family can have a quiet adventure somewhere else. Merry Christmas!

  10. no wonder why you would rather stay at home or stay within San Diego its because of the beautiful scenery it offers. what more would you ask for? If we see this kind of place we have too, i would never leave the place too except to be in the Philippines where i know i'll be happier too because my family are there.

  11. wow i can totally swim in that beach right after i see it!! i lve swimming in thebeach specially if it looks gorgeous like that! those sealions looks amazing!

  12. Wow. Nice photographs. Thank you for sharing it.

  13. The Falls looks so beautiful ate!

    Merry Christmas!

  14. Husband and I love San Diego. In fact, at one point he strongly considered retiring there, but the past few years, he changed his mind. Florida na daw haha.

    Staycation is becoming more of a norm nowadays, especially if you live in a place as beautiful as San Diego.

  15. There are lots of cool places to visit in America but surely San Diego is the best among them.

  16. Wow! San Diego is a very lovely place. I wish to visit it one day! ♥

  17. The Cormorant looks really stunning. I have never seen it before not even on Nat Geo. :D

  18. Seeing those cormorant and other lovely birds is such a great adventure.

  19. I have so much family here that I am never bored being around them but have to agree with you in that viewing nature gives you a different glimpse at every breath. God is never boring with His handiwork.

  20. I am not only mesmerized by the beautiful sights here but more smitten by your happy smiles, Te Betchai! Home will always be where the heart is!

  21. Can you be my tour guide when I come to visit? San Diego didn't seemed as interesting when I visited last, but on your posts, I feel like I have not even seen 1/2 of what San Diego has to offer. Lovely photos of you too. :-)