Travel Date: Thursday, Oct 9 2014
When I woke up, Steve made me some eggs for breakfast and then we headed out. He went to work and I went to San Diego. After a relatively short drive (3 hrs – which by my traveling standards is relatively short) I park at Ralph’s home.

I actually don’t know Ralph personally, but our mutual friend Ally tried to connect us together when she found out that we both were walking the Camino in Spain at relatively the same time period. Unfortunately while we messaged each other on fb while walking in Spain we never connected. So when I was in San Diego, Ralph was also at home so we decided to actually connect for the first time.

I meet Ralph at his home and we are two peas in a pod. After getting settled in, we decide to venture out and see San Diego.

We drive around towards the beach. Ah the Pacific Ocean … you are so beautiful.

Watching the waves crash on the rocks is always fascinating and soothing.

We stop at another view as well.

And then I see Fred Flinstones house in Bedrock.

We drive a little further to the La Jolla Cove Tide Pools with an assortment of marine life.

And then walk around to an underwater park where you can snorkel.

There is a lot of people here.

I tell Ralph that I have never snorkeled before. He is a marine biologist and dives into the water for a living taking amazing pictures of marine life. So he offers to take me snorkeling in the ocean and to witness marine life.

BTW You should check out his photos – they are professional and amazing… yes he has a waterproof camera.

Ralph Pace Photography: https://www.facebook.com/ralfotos

We head back to house and pack some wetsuits and other gear.

Then head over to the I.B. Divers store that his friend works at and pick up some rental gear.

And time to head out in our wetsuits. This is the first time I have worn a wetsuit. Always a first time for everything on this adventure.

We head out and hit the ocean not via the popular cove but right in the middle of the scarcely populated beach called the Marine Room Dive Site. I struggle a little with my breathing through the tube as we go further in the water but after a little time in the water I get used to the feeling and get more and more comfortable.

Soon we are about 7+ feet deep in the ocean and I am swimming with leopard sharks and schools of fishes, and held thornback ray and two spot octopus … a free dive led by my marine biologist friend Ralph.

My favorite part of this entire snorkel experience was the octopus. When I held it in my cupped hands I felt the suction on my arms and the slipperiness of its skin. When I slowly opened up my cupped hands, I made eye contact with it, and a very large part of me connected with it feeling sorry that I have briefly kept it in captivity. As I let it go, it inked out in the ocean and the whole experience was amazing. Thank you for that Ralph!!!

Wish I took pictures but I forgot to buy a waterproof case.

Back from the snorkeling expedition … and all wet!

We change and head back to the house, clean up. And lounge for a little bit, go grocery shopping and when Kristen gets home, they begin to cook some swordfish tacos and carne asada.

At the grocery store I pick up the only bottle of Spanish Rioja wine and we begin to cook, drink and chat.

The dinner table is set.

And it is time to get festive with these two awesome people sharing stories about our journey walking the Camino in Spain. I cannot believe I walked at around the same time as them – maybe 5 days apart from start to finish and we never met UNTIL NOW!

The swordfish tacos were amazing!

Cheers to great company and a beautiful center piece.

I thorough enjoyed every aspect of their collective company. Very beautiful people and personalities. And the common connection of the Camino is Spain is the icing on the cake.

And the cause for our connection is my dear friend Ally who is actually celebrating her birthday the next day in Roanoke, Virginia. So we wait for 12 AM on the East Coast and record this video message for her. Without  her this experience between Ralph, Kristen and I would not be possible.

Reflections:
What an amazing start to San Diego. I meet Ralph and we instantly bond. He shows me around San Diego and then takes me snorkeling for the first time which is an unbelievable experience. I am falling in love with the ocean and the possibilities. I meet Kristen and she is beautiful inside and out. And watching them two interact makes you appreciate a great couple relationship. I loved our various conversations about the Camino while drinking Spanish wine and dining on delicious swordfish and Latino spiced carne asada. What a fantastic day. Thank you Ralph and Kristen for a great San Diego start and hosting me… and thank you Ally for the introduction.

Expenses: $33.91
Wine: $33.91 (2 Bottles of Rioja wine)