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The highlight of our trip to Victoria was our day in East Sooke. Conor and I rented wet suits and we went snorkeling with John and Hudson. There were moon jellyfish everywhere, in fact, Quinn was catching them and trapping them in a tide pool. Snorkeling showed me how out of this world the ocean is. It was so cool! We found crabs and big purple starfishes. It was really, really cool. Our older girls went snorkeling too - Holly used my wet suit and Greta borrowed one from Allison. Maeve loved playing on shore with her cousins and Enoch liked climbing and exploring. It was a super fun day and while we all were sunburned, we loved it!

Here's a link to a video my bro made of our adventures!

We had a fun day playing at the beach and at a playground. It was the perfect location. The weather was still really cool when we arrived. Maeve was asleep in her carseat so I curled up on the blanket and took a little snooze myself. It felt so good! We were really happy when Nathan, Daria and their crew arrived to join us! It was a great afternoon, the perfect way to end our trip!

Our second time to Los Frailes was great! The girls and I walked along the beach and explored the big rocks. Amongst the rocks was lots of coral. We didn’t bring any home (we are rule followers!), but I really wanted to! There were lots of little crabs on the rocks too. 

We came back to a baby caked with sand and so happy about it too! 

We made friends with a family sitting beside us. We quickly found out that they are the same religion we are. I heard the woman say, “JesuCristo” and “ultimos dias” and I was like, wait what? It was really fun to strike that connection! They have been members for almost 2 years and her son is 5-months into a mission in Chile! So incredible!

We were at the beach on this day earlier than we usually are and at the time of day when the sun is the strongest. I have been so vigilant with sunscreen and wearing t-shirts and taking care of everyone’s skin. We’ve all done really well in the sun until this day! Conor, Holly and I got so sunburned. I’m not sure how Greta made it out without a sunburn. And thank heaveans, Maeve didn’t get burned. I’m so glad I spent $20 on her swim shirt. And Conor thinks that they thick layer of sand on her legs protected her from the sun! At least it happened on our last day.

I can’t even say how much I loved our time in Puerto Lopez! We stayed in the best place and having Conor on vacation time was so awesome! Living in Ecuador has had a lot of challenges and I think striking a balance has perhaps been the biggest and most prevelant. Our family loves the ocean. Conor and I reflected a few times on our vacation we took to San Diego many years ago. The time we spent in Puerto Lopez was so similar. It was very relaxing, very fun!

One afternoon, after a slow, lazy morning that included lingering over breakfast, we went to what is supposed to be the most beautiful beach in Ecuador, Los Frailes. And it was really beautiful! The beach was clean, the sand was perfect and the waves were so fun to play in! We had such a great time, we came back the next day!

We feel a little iffy about bringing electronics to the beach. Guayaquil and the coast get a bad rep from the rest of Ecuador. According to many, all the bad people live on the coast. Which I just don't believe is entirely true. A new big prison was built in Cuenca and someone told us that it houses all the criminals from Guayaquil. That being said, when in Guayaquil stopped at a light, a boy offered to wash our windshield. We said, no thank you and he continued to linger at my open window peering into the car. I really got the feeling that if there was something valuable within his reach, he would've stolen it. I can't know for sure because there wasn't anything of value within reach, but that's the vibe I got. Also gotta add, we never drove a car in Cuenca or Quito so... the experiences aren't equal. When we were in Quito, we were told that the Mountain people in Cuenca whisper behind each other's backs. There's a lot of regional prejudice here, very similar to the way it is between the east and west in Canada and places in the USA. So Ecuador is just a normal country. 

We brought our camera to the beach and I felt no risk of it being stolen. We did clip the backpack to the chairs and umbrella. 

I love the beach! There are so many vendors selling all sorts of things! We bought empanadas, green mangos with lime juice and salt and sweet plantain chips topped with a drizzle of mayo and cheese. Sounds totally weird and gross but it was out of this world delicious! Would eat again! 

All three of my girls love the ocean. They could swim all day. Things I wish I brought (in our carry-on luggage!) include sun shirts and a wrist to ankle swimsuit for Maeve. Greta got a little too much sun yesterday. I myself spend a lot of time under the umbrella because the sunshine here is strong! 

It's a little tricky to balance out Conor still working a few more days while we are here, but I just have to hang in there until Wednesday and then he's on vacation. And let's be honest, I'm on the coast in Ecuador. There's challenges, but it's also amazing! 

Maeve is learning to smile for the camera! And she discovered that the only thing better than swimming in the ocean is swimming in the ocean naked! I rinsed the sand off of her and she screamed and wailed when I took her out to a towel and a diaper. Baby girl is definitely my daughter! 

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