Looking back on Baja

By: Alisha Kramer, high school alumna High School Adventures, Scuba, Sailing

It’s hard to imagine what my life would be like now if I hadn’t experienced two amazing adventures with Broadreach. My trips to the Caribbean and Mexico were so different and unique. One would think that diving would just be diving, and a teen summer program would be just another teen summer program, but my summers weren’t like that at all. I came home from the Caribbean determined to pursue a career, at fourteen, of marine biology. My love for the ocean increased dramatically to a level of curiosity, excitement, fear, respect, and longing. Most importantly was the personal and emotional level of connectedness that I felt for this magnificent and majestic creation of nature, the ocean. Living on a boat for three weeks was one of the best experiences of my life. I am still awed by the fact that wherever we traveled, from island to island, from dark blue expanse to light and clear blue-green bays, we always had whatever we needed on our little boat. Our home and belongings were always with us. We were self-reliant, true travelers. Wherever we went, wherever we traveled, we always had whatever we needed “on our backs.” I remember writing a comment about my trip on the little forms we had to fill out at the end. I wrote, “This experience has been a dream and on one hand I am dreading waking up but on the other hand I can’t wait to see how this dream will have changed my reality.” I came home from my trip with so many memories and some incredible pictures to prove that I had actually been to the fantasy lands I had been describing. I knew right away that I had to go back. I could not stay away from the ocean, the underwater world, a place I had learned to call my home.

So I signed up to go to Baja this past summer. I was expecting a trip not too different from my previous one, but my expectations were flipped upside and sky rocketed in a different direction but still up higher than I could have ever believed. Can I just start off by saying 20 foot whale sharks? Mantas with 8 foot wingspans? Just being able to swim with these breathtaking, heart stopping creatures would have been enough. But there was so much more. I got to know the specific fish that inhabit the sea of Cortez. Every dive was like going down to see old friends because by the end of the trip I could identify many of the fish I saw, and I had acquired a few favorites. When I finally came home I realized that I missed the fish I had become so accustomed to seeing everyday. I missed them so much, and I missed watching them in their seemingly untouched, undiscovered, magical world. I found out that I LOVE SURFING. After being in the middle of the ocean and experiencing life underwater, there was something so refreshing about being able to be a part of the waves, the life just at the surface, the tranquility, foam, and sparkle that arrived between sets of waves, and always the refreshing, ice cold water mixed with breezy sea air. At night I could fall asleep on a bed of sand under a sky filled with more stars than I knew existed. Accompanying all of this were the people. The amazing people of Baja who led us on dives, hikes, taught us how to surf, and provided us with quesadillas at every meal. I loved being able to practice my Spanish and just being able to communicate in another language was an experience within itself.

On every Broadreach trip we are able to write a letter to ourselves that will then be sent to us around the following winter holidays. I have yet to receive my letter that I wrote in Baja, but I feel like the letter I wrote in the Caribbean puts to words so many feelings I experienced that are so hard to actually put into words.

By now it’s the holidays and I am probably in Utah with ray. But I won’t have forgotten my 3 weeks in the Caribbean. I don’t want to forget the feeling of having everything I need on a small boat, or the feeling of going to sleep under the stars, or the magic of the underwater world. I don’t want to forget the people or be able to jump off the boat and swim in the middle of the ocean. I never want to forget the sunsets, the crystal clear ocean, or wakeboarding. I want to always have the wind in my face blowing my hair back with the sound of ocean in my ears and the taste of salt in my mouth. The hikes, animals, towns, and refreshing rain will always be with me even when I’m back in the harsh ignoring world of reality. In a busy world I want to be able to find the peace, calm, happiness, and serenity that I have found here. And although it might be awhile before I sit on the bow of a boat and sing, I feel confident that it will happen again. So this is a reminder of the 3 weeks I spent in the Caribbean and the advice I want to live by for the rest of my life and keep with me forever.