La Playa

So far, I am the first one up every morning.  I’ve taken to drinking some coffee on the balcony, and then heading out for a long walk along the beach before the sun gets too scorching. (This is really only good for avoiding sunburn, it’s plenty hot.)  I walk all the way down to the point and all the way back up, the sea splashing my feet, and me marvelling at the waves.

We are on Kitebeach in Cabarete, so named because the wind and surf are consistent and strong – perfect for kiteboarders.  Dozens and dozens fill the beach in the afternoon, but in the morning, before the wind comes up, the surfers sleep and I walk the beach just about alone.

There is a reef here, a little ways out, and it protects the beach. The waves are still fierce and strong, but it makes it possible to swim – provided you’re a strong swimmer. We see no little kids anywhere near the water here.  There’s an undertow, and getting out is a little tricky – but once you’re past the point where the waves break, you can swim for hours.  (Then you have to come back in – past that point where the waves break again. Yesterday one caught me from behind, knocked me face first into the beach,  folded my legs over my head then rolled me along the sand like I was a shell. The trick, I am here to tell you, is to see that as an emergency. You have to rush to stand up, once it lets go of you, or the next one will really have it’s way with you. If two get you, the third one is sure to, and then you’ll still be spitting up sand and examining your sandblasted knees at midnight.)

By where our little apartment is, the beach is just sand, but farther down as I walk I find rocks, and cliffs of stone for the waves to crash on, and it’s all been carved into wild shapes by thousands of years of waves.

I could watch it all day, and it’s just water.  I’m amazed.

That’s today’s Spanish word.  La playa.  The beach. 

109 thoughts on “La Playa

  1. I watched a great documentary about surfing once (“Step Into Liquid”, it’s great) and one of these sweet California boys had a great insight about the healing properties of their sport: How many people just go and watch a tennis court?
    Nobody, not if there’s not anyone on it. The ocean, meanwhile? Even if you never step a toe in, the view is itself restorative.

  2. Beautiful photos. So glad you are taking some time to enjoy the water and congratulations for making it out of the surf.

  3. Beautiful!! Thank you so much for sharing and so glad to see you relaxing. Loved the almost pics of the whales yesterday too!

  4. Sometimes the secret to getting through tricky waves is to dive through them [for the ones where the standing water is about waist high and the waves are a little bit over your head] or to stand backwards (facing the shore) while the wave passes by you, for the ones that are between knee and mid back height.

  5. Nothing is more relaxing than listening to the waves come in, again and again and again… It is soothing, calming and, well, I could go on and on…love me some waves…thanks for sharing your wave experience with the rest of us…

  6. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing your little corner of paradise with the rest of us.

  7. I love the beach! Looking at your pics, I can practically hear the whoosh of the waves…delicious!

  8. Your photos are taking me back to all my lovely memories of the Dominican Republic when I went there a decade ago. Thanks for the memories.

  9. I don’t know why it’s never occurred to me before how absolutely perfect it would be to knit by the sea. All those negative ions plus the meditative effect of knitting… Thanks for bringing it to my attention – now I know what I want for my birthday!

  10. I’ve been flipped exactly like that by undertow. It’s very scary. The beach looks beautiful, and a LOT warmer than Ontario is today. Enjoy for us.

  11. Warm up for Maui for me. 17 days and counting.
    NOTHING not even knitting can relax you like the ocean.
    And Yes there will be whales.
    If you think Ontario is bad try Saskatchewan!

  12. You’ve chosen to vacation in the town known as the Windsurfing capital of the world – their terms, not mine.
    Muy hermosa; gracias!

  13. I hope you’ll forgive me for nagging, but *please* don’t swim in the ocean alone. *Please.* Young, strong swimmers drown every day. (I live near the ocean and I know.) They get caught in rip currents and get dragged out and can’t get back. It happens all the time– and they weren’t being stupid, or showing off, or anything. Please respect the ocean and limit your early-morning alone time to walking on the beach, keeping the water below your knees. Take a swim later, *with friends.*

  14. Loved your photos of waves. Family and friends tease me about all my “wave” photos. It seems there’s always one more perfect one follwing the last one and I’m always trying to capture them all. Your early morning strolls along the beach sound like perfect relaxation

  15. Thanks for sharing the photos–gorgeous! We got more snow here in Minnesota during the night. It was lovely to look at the pictures of the beach and imagine walking in the warm sand! 🙂

  16. When we were on our honeymoon in Maui, I had that same experience with a wave. My husband later that week posed next to the warning sign on the beach showing a person being bowled over by a huge wave and made me take a picture (that sign was NOT THERE when it happened to me). He found it hilarious, but then he’s not the one that spent the next several hours finding all the places on the body that sand can, indeed, be shoved if the water is determined enough…

  17. Oh it sounds Heavenly…a beach vacation is the best vacation. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  18. Lovely warm water and beach pictures. I’m soaking them in, up here in the frozen north.
    Watching waves or any kind of flowing water is calming, relaxing,and soothing. Even if the beach is covered in snow and ice, and the temp is well below freezing. The only time I find the waves of our big lake not calming is when it’s a nor’easter nd the wind is screaming and the huge waves are crashing and throwing spray way up on the shore.
    It is still beautiful, wonderful, mind clearing, and exhilarating, but not calming and soothing!

  19. I had a crazy wave experience. Now, I am a Jersey girl, lived down the shore every summer, had undertows grab me, learned how to handle them, etc. This was different.
    We were in St. Maarten at a lovely beach. We were warned to leave glasses etc on our chaises while in the ocean. Yes, it had a strong tow, but the worst part was the unevenness of the sand as you head out. I seems the waves have carved out hills that will trip you! Going out, I avoided falling, but the water level was very low, so I just got myself wet, splashed around a bit and then went to head back to shore. As I got closer to the shore, it was REALLY tough walking, as the sand was so uneven and the tow was pulling you back. I got almost out, when a wave knocked me in the knees and I fell. My husband and a nice young man came to my rescue. The young man had my hand and wrist, but the water had the rest of me! I was doing barrel rolls! I managed to sit up, and then I was spinning like a top! Of course, I was laughing the whole time! Unfortunately, no one got it on video.
    It gets better! My husband then decided to go in for a swim. I warned him, and he’s not that experienced with the ocean, but he insisted. Well, as he was coming out, I saw this look on his face. He came back to the chaise and said “I think I hurt myself.” He got a hernia from getting out of the ocean!!!! Thank goodness we were on our way home on a cruise, and we had a driver.
    Yes, you can get hurt, do not swim alone, ever!

  20. We go to Marco Island in January and yes, I walk the beach..all day if I can. I watch the water, the dolphins, pelicans and the little shore birds. I pick up shells and I just be…that’s all.
    Its rejuvenating, relaxing and restful. Much nicer than northern Ontario in January and February.
    Enjoy.

  21. Blue, blue, and more beautiful blue! And foamy and gritty and wet. And the wonderful feel of the air. I luurrves the sea. I’m going to pretend your feet are my feet right now.

  22. Thank you for not leaving “the blog” behind as you go on vacation. It thrills my soul to see sun and waves together in that beautiful harmony that is the Carribbean. This sooooo makes up for the days you miss posting. Hugs to ya all the way from Alaska. Keep enjoying the sun!

  23. Watching the waves is directly related to watching a fireplace or campfire: endlessly fascinating, and great Karma. Enjoy every minute of your vacation!

  24. Yes, I’ve been knocked over by a wave like that and I wasn’t even swimming. My family and I were walking on the beach quite a ways away from the water line and a big wave came up and tossed us all around. Phew!
    I’m looking at what I think is a cloud bank on the horizon of your third picture. Awesome! Did you have bad weather come in later or does that hang around now and then. Very cool looking. And a little intimidating.

  25. Absolutely awesome and beautiful. Enjoy it for me also. Wish I were there. Enjoy your vacation!

  26. Thank you for sharing your vacation with everyone. Some day I hope to spend a week in a cottage near a beach, but until then I really do appreciate that other people write and take photos of their time 🙂

  27. I had that happen to me (and my dog) on Tow Hill in the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii). But the water is freezing and the sand is smooth , black pebbles about the size of a plum. So it was incredibly fierce and magical to be in that wild water, tossed around. My dog learned to stay out of the water and just barked at me until I came back in. But somehow I just couldn’t stay away. I swam for hours and came in hypothermic but refreshed. One of my favourite memories. I think I’d prefer your version. All the magic without the hypothermia. Don’t you just love the ocean?

  28. Looks like a wonderful place to refill your cup and bring peace to your soul. Happy vitamin D collecting you deserve a break and what a lovely way to take one. Happy for you.:)

  29. Gorgeous colors! I wish the colors of the sky, ocean, waves, and beach in the third picture could be accurately recreated in yarn!

  30. I’m glad you’ve escaped the frigid north for a little while 🙂 It’s pretty brutal here in Ottawa, I can’t imagine Toronto is much better. I’m glad you’re finding a private happy place every morning!

  31. Wow… That is just beautiful. It’s snowing here, and as much as I love the lazy downy flakes we’re getting, I would LOVE to be somewhere warm.

  32. That 2nd wave photo is a classic bodywhomper. I can just hear it, the quiet turn, then slamming the sand all at once. Cautionary tale: My husband spent a day in ER because his head hit the sand, we know a surfer who died after getting bodywhomped.

  33. Your post brings back so many memories. We stayed just down the beach from Cabarete on our honeymoon. It will be 5 years on Saturday. We walked there nearly every day. Beautiful! Hope that you are having a great time.

  34. Mezmerising is the word…and just think – oceans do that forever. I’m so glad for you and your family to be in a beautiful place. I’m happy your eyes are seeing all the color and texture…hmm, i also wonder what the beautiful blue yarn will turn into. Can one knit a wave?

  35. Thank you for the wonderful pictures and descriptions. Seeing the ocean reminds me that I have been a Prairie Girl for far too long and recalls my childhood vacations in Cornwall and North Wales. I miss the Atlantic; perhaps it is time for me to visit it again. Meanwhile it’s good to know that your are relaxing and enjoying your Caribbean holiday.

  36. I have a place by the sea in NH…I could, and do, sit and watch the ocean for hours. So glad you’re having this peaceful time!

  37. You know you are Canadian when you see a photo of bare feet in tides and think, “Brrrr.” I’m so cold, I cannot comprehend that it is warm somewhere.

  38. Lovely pictures, I hope you are enjoying your vacation as much as I’m enjoying your pictures!

  39. I’m so glad you’re getting to relax! Thank you for your generousity in sharing some of that vacation time with us. Please do follow the advice of caution in the water – you don’t want to hurt your hands (or any of the rest of you!).
    I love winter and cold for wooly wear and sweaters and blankets. But if the heat must come, it should come with an ocean! This Kansas girl has a real ocean fixation – so enjoy, have fun, and less all the stress pour away….wave it away!

  40. Beach living tip: Dishpan of water outside the door. Dip feet in, less sand in beds.

  41. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us. Your words and pictures get my day off to a good start.

  42. Wait, is that sun? Sigh. I remember seeing that a long time ago. Oh yes, it was in October. Indiana gray winter days can make a person forget the sun and warmth. Thanks for reminding me.

  43. I love the ocean. I’m not a strong swimmer, but I’m content just to be in its vicinity. To hear the waves hit the beach. I gave up life in a state surrounded by water to move to one that’s thoroughly landlocked. Man, do I miss it.
    Thanks for the gorgeous photos!

  44. Thank you so very much for sharing your adventures! Your photos are gorgeous!! So happy for you and your mum that you could have a vacation and in such a beautiful spot.

  45. Thank you for sharing this vacation. I am walking along side you every morning. That sounds so peaceful and refreshing. I could watch the waves forever also. Thanks again for sharing.

  46. Hey, Stephanie, I have a great idea for a new blog for you–a hybrid knitting/travel blog! 🙂 Actually, I just love enjoying your vacation vicariously through your beautiful pictures and how much fun you and your family (and the whales!) are having. Are you going to go ziplining again? I loved those pictures from last year.
    It’s so nice of you to give us all this mini-vacation. Thanks for blogging on your time off!

  47. Looks beautiful, and it’s wonderful that you are enjoying yourself. But don’t be tempted to stay…I may be overstepping here, but….that doesn’t look like a place to wear hand-knitted socks. Or any socks, for that matter. No place is perfect 🙂

  48. Sounds like you’re having a lovely relaxing holiday. There’s something soothing about the water, isn’t there? We went to Kauai, HI 2 kids and 5 or so years ago, and the thing that stayed with me to this day is the sound of the waves. We stayed near a quite rocky beach (hardly any sand really), and when I close my eyes and remember, I can still hear the water crashing over those rocks. Such a powerful sound yet at the same time, relaxing.

  49. I love your great vacation stories and photos. Vicarious relaxation that inspires real knitting and coffee drinking. 🙂

  50. Have A Great Time on your vacation. I love the pictures and its almost like being their (Kinda). Beautiful place I’m sure. Enjoy it !!! You deserve it with all that you do for all of us!!

  51. Every time I go to the beach, I bring both something to read and my knitting, and they always end up staying in my bag while I sit and watch and watch and watch the waves, which were on my most recent visit a remnant of a hurricane (foreshadowing!). During that visit, the beer that came along with the yarn and magazine did come out of the bag, and then needed to come out of me, so when I went into those same fascinating waves to deal with the situation, I got completely beat up and the pee got scared back inside of me. The sand in my knees, hair, and shoulder took a few days to get all the way out, and I was spitting sand for a few hours.

  52. Thank you for taking us with you on your vacation. I so want to be there in the warm(hot) breezes and gorgeous sandy beach. Pure envy.

  53. Thanks for posting the “Old Joe” sock pattern.
    I love the ribbing- I must admit that varying the rib never occurred to me! Now, on to the body of the sock ( hopefully not too much cursing will follow!)
    Have a restful holiday 🙂

  54. Thank you for the wonderful pictures! I just love listening to the waves come in. We got married in Jamaica a few years ago and the beaches were so beautiful. Enjoy your holiday!

  55. Since you asked Passiflora edulis or better known as Passion Fruit
    High in Vit. C and high in fibre. Fantastic food!
    Had to answer here as I am not on Twitter.

  56. ummmm, you don’t wanna know what’s goin’ on here
    but it’s white
    really really white

  57. Enjoying your very warm and fab looking pix. As Donna at 2:45 said, it is white here – very white AND deep – 2.5 feet fell in less than 24 hours. Huddled down in the house, still have power so all is good.
    Inhale all the restorative powers your fantastic vacation can provide for you.

  58. We stayed at a resort near Cabarete last year. My husband wore his Go-Pro while (attempting to) go swimming at the resort. The resulting video looks like he’s being flushed down a toilet. You were very brave to try to swim in that!! I didn’t!

  59. Just finshed you book “At Knit’s End”
    Whould like to make the magic scarf you talked about on page 301. Where can I get the patteren?
    Thanks Jamice

  60. “Ahhhhhh…can you knit your images?” Second the motion (and really wish that Ken could devise “Like”, Love”, “Agree” buttons!!!!!)

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