Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Baja Culture, The Big Picture by Green Edventures' student Maria Smith

This summer I attended Tara Short's Green Edventure program in the Baja peninsula. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I savored every moment. Specifically, I was fascinated with the culture that surrounded me. Resuarants, food, shops, people ( gringas and mexicanos lol), the ocean life, and more. Being there only a short week I  figured that I would not be able to see and learn all I desired to about the culture. But, I was happily mistaken. From the beginnning of the trip right up to the end, every single person I came into contact with was miraculous. Non-stop holas and smiles!. They were very kind hearted and layed back. Even though they called me a gringa, they treated me as an equal. At the restuarants the waiters were patient when I order in my broken spanish (by the way the food was amazing!), descending when SCUBA diving the staff coached me and made me feel brave and strong. Going on this trip I thought I was going to learn about the creatures in the sea.. but I learned much more. Green Edventures supplied me with a broad supply of education. From marine animals, both small and large, to plant life high in the mountains, all the way down to interacting with the real people of La Paz.. I got to do it all. If ever given the opportunity to attend this trip, I strongly advise you to take it! It introduces you to new foods, new languages, and new animals. Tara has surrounded herself with amazing people, a cool and interesting culture, and a different way of life. To experience it, I feel lucky. Green Edventures trip taught me a new way of life. It opened my eyes to a different world. I came with myself, but left with the ability to look at life and marine life with care and generosity. The trip helped me find myself and what i love to do, all in the simplicity of an island. And most importantly, it taught me that the world is bigger.. much bigger than my own.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mexico is Peaceful by Green Edventures Student Branden Tanthavong

Mexico is currently all over the news about the drug war issue. I had a scheduled trip in 2009 with Green Edventures to go visit the Baja Peninsula. I wasn't fearful because my teacher informed me that we were 1,000 miles away from the danger, but my mom insisted for me to drop out.

This year, I rejoined for the 2010 Edventure with my school. After visiting the Baja Peninsula (Mexico), I saw no danger at all. In fact, it was quite peaceful there. I snoozed in a hammock, caught some sun on the beach, and ate fantastic food prepared by the Chef Mario. I almost missed out on a lot of fun. I recommend visiting Baja Californian Sur, Mexico to everyone out there.

Snorkeling for the First Time by Green Edventures Student Laura Voorhees

My first snorkeling experience was very exciting yet scary. I love being in and under the water but being able to breathe and look underwater was quite different. It was sort of a claustrophobic feeling at fist because you know that your in water so your brain says hold your breath but having a snorkel gives you the advantage to still breathe.

We began our first snorkel, which was pretty much just the basics, in Fox Canyon. We had to begin with goggles on, snorkels in our mouths, and our faces in the water while we floated for 5 minutes. This was sort of complicated because one, we were in fresh water so you are less buoyant, and two, it is really hard for me to float, especially face down. After the float, we learned how to swim with our fins on. This wasn't too hard. Next was the free-dive. This was probably the more complex thing to learn. In free-diving you have to go from horizontal to vertical and equalize from the moment you start. Equalizing is how you control the change in pressure from the water of the water on your body as you get deeper. To equalize we hold our nose and push air through your nose at the same time, just like you make your ears pop (on a plane). Its pretty simple to learn, just complicated if you don't do it correctly.

Snorkeling is a great experience. You can see so many animals or other living things under the water. The best part of my snorkeling experience was probably swimming with the giant whale shark and of course seeing all of the fish. There are so many different kinds. I am glad I got to have this experience because many don't get the opportunity to. I definitely plant to (snorkel) in the future.