I strolled the beach with my companions: a steaming cup of coffee and a groggy four-year-old Faye. It was our final morning at our Magdalena Bay campsite and Faye and I quietly walked the shoreline as the sun burned off the last of the early-morning clouds. Our stride was slow. There was no rush. We dipped our feet in the water, carved our names in the sand with our big-toes, picked out the most brilliant and beautiful shell on the beach, then immediately found another (and another and another) to replace it. Faye and I did everything we could think of to linger just a bit longer.
Our bags were packed and waiting for us in the boat. We hugged the crew and said our grateful good-byes, thanking everyone for taking such great care of the Conway family during our time on the Bay. Chef Hubert tossed Samuel into the air and gave him a tight hug. During the week, Samuel and Hubert bonded over a similar sensibility that bested their language barrier. But Magdalena wasn't done with us yet. Life jackets on, we boarded our faithful 'Carla' once again and made wake to the sand dunes.
The horizon of Magdalena Bay is ever-changing. Shaped and sculpted by the Pacific wind, the Bay's massive dunes are constantly manipulated into new, rolling forms giving a pulse to the stark and stunning landscape. We anchored in the backdrop of the blue sky and golden sand, and shared the shoreline with a dozen cormorants who were completely indifferent to their new visitors. I took a few pictures of the birds, but like the cormorants was a little indifferent and, like the kids, was eager to explore the dunes.
Sand dunes insist on playtime. The entire group took turns leaping off the steepest dunes. Our landings weren't always pretty, but they were soft. The kids did a few sandy rolls and learned quickly to keep their eyes and mouths shut. Aaron and Gabs nailed a few back flips.
Flips and leaps out of our system, we continued to cross the dunes. A 45-minute walk brought us to the Pacific coast and to an entirely differently environment. The lush mangroves that lined the Bay were replaced by stretches of soft white sand. The beach was covered in shells foreign within the Bay. We cooled our feet in the cold Pacific waters and wandered the shore. We came across a turtle shell and part of a whale's backbone - both white with wear from the sand and sun.
The sun was heating up and it was time to turn back. The warming sand quickened our pace - so did the thought of the picnic lunch waiting for us back at the shoreline. Fresh ceviche (and an excellent vegetarian version made from jicama for this grateful vegetarian), tortillas, fruit and hibiscus tea were promptly consumed. Bellies full, we boarded the boat. Samuel was last to get in. He was distracted by his recent marine discovery: a living sand dollar nearly the size of a dinner plate.
We disembarked back in Lopez's marina and said good-bye to the rest of our fantastic crew. The three-hour drive back to La Paz was quiet. I sat in the back of the van with my three kids who fell asleep leaning against each other like a toppled row of dominoes, and dusted the last of the sand off my toes.
To read additional entries from our family Mexico adventure, click here.