Thursday, November 10, 2011

Being open minded in Mexico

Before I left for the trip, I was concerned about almost every thing from the flying, food, my ears, hiking, and snorkeling. I knew once I put these fears a side I would have fun and enjoy the trip. The night my group left I was busy all day so I could not just sit around and worry about the up coming flights. Once we reached the airport my fears really set in. I didn’t really want to get into the plane and fly. I was trying to keep in open mind and tell my self that It was going to be alright and just think about the end destination, a beach in Mexico.

Once we landed in Mexico, we had to go trough customs. Another fear of mine. I’m always afraid that I would be the one person who will be pulled aside and have my bags searched, I never have anything illegal, I got through that fine with out any problems. I kept an open mind and everything went fine. We got through customs with out any problems.

Then we met Tara, from then on I knew I was going to be fine. I had an open mind I had no fears, for the current time. Tara then took us to meet the group, who was going home. They were really nice and gave us some advice like watch were you step on the hikes. Than we were on our way to Cabo Pumo and they were on their way back home.

I was told by many friends not to eat anything fresh because of bacteria, So there I was worrying about is our food going to be fresh or is it going to be fried. I was trying to keep an open mind but I knew It could be a long week if I don’t like the food. Our first meal there was AMAZING, it was beef and some vegetables fried together and we put them on a tortilla shells. From then on I had an open mind and I knew the food was not going to be a problem. I don’t eat fish, but I kept my open mind and tried the fish there and I liked it. It did not smell like fish so I think that helped me be able to eat it and like it.
Abby during snorkeling checkout.

The next day we went to Fox canyon for a hike and to swim. I have weak ankles so I was concerned about falling and doing something to my ankles. This hike was fun, we got to see different types of Cati and plants. We also got to swim in two different fresh water ponds. It was so refreshing to get into the water, to cool off.
Snorkeling Checkout.

Group in Fox Canyon
After that we went to do the snorkel check out. I was looking forward to it. It was going well until my teacher got stung my a jelly fish, than I started to freak out. About the same time we started to working on diving down. I have never been a fan of diving because my ears are sensitive I can never get them equalized, (it took about 1 and ½ hours for them to equalize after we landed in Mexico). At this point I was certain I was just going to be floating on the surface looking at things from there. I was working on my somersaults and I got a cramp in my calf. The way Tara told me to stretch my calf out, I get cramps in my hip flexor. My closed mind was just farther proven right, I was not going to be diving and I will just float the whole time.

When snorkeling after that first day I got more comfortable in the water and soon was diving down to about 10 feet. As I would go farther down, I would become more open minded and wanted to explore more and dive more.
On our last night one of our dive leader Chabelo took us on a sunset hike. I wasn’t real up for hiking and did not really want to go, but I did. It was another time where I was closed minded about something. At first you have to step over a small stream of the Sea of Cortez, than climb the rocks. I hate rock climbing, so that was another reason I was closed minded about it and than we reach the first flat section of the hike, I did not realize we were already that far from our camp. The camp looked small but the people looked smaller. We took a bunch of pictures and than continued onwards. We reached the top and the view was SPECTACULAR! We could see for miles. We took for pictures and watched the sun set from there. On the way back down we went trough a little cave like thing. It was so cool! By this point I was so open to the hike. It was so much fun! I’m so glad that I went on the hike!
Sunset Hike

I’m so glad that I was able to go on this trip! I will remember it for the rest of my life, and I hope to one day return to the island and have more Green EDventures!
Abby taking a leap!

Abby D., IA

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Baja Mexico Sea Quest: A Teacher's Perspective by Kyla Burns

It’s not the place you travel, but the people you travel with that make the difference. I had the great opportunity to go on a grand adventure to Baja, Mexico. Along the way I saw roaming cattle, was introduced to bizarre cacti, hiked through dry deserts and photographed lush palms. I lived a life at sea, boating with my fellow travelers to our next adventure.

One of Kyla's students bonding with a wild sea lion at Los Islotes in Baja California, Mexico.
We saw whales, made waves for dolphins, identified native birds, and spent an intimate hour bonding with a young sea lion in the waters of the beautiful Los Islotes sea lion colony. Evenings were spent learning fish names and days were spent with exhilarating snorkel trips in search of the Coronet Fish, the Fanged Blenny and the Mexican Goatfish. And when the sun set, we feasted on a chefs feast on our private beach and settled into our tents to the sound of crashing waves.
Kyla and students making waves with dolphins!
As glorious as these experiences may sound, they are made special due to the company we shared. Tara is like a long lost old friend. So easy to talk to with humor that keeps us laughing. She assumes the position of instructor to the students, but is more like a friend sharing her passion for the ocean, for Mexico, and for conservation. She is the driving force behind Green Edventures and her passion is contagious.

Tara Short (Green Edventures) and Chabelo Castillo (Fun Baja)
By her side is Chabelo, dive leader for Fun Baja and instant friend to the participants. Chabelo leads snorkels into a world he is very familiar with. He guides hikes into places he has countless stories for. With the students, he plays volleyball, gives Spanish lessons, pilots their kayaks and by the end of the week, forms a bond with each one of them as they promise to keep in touch.
School of Mexican Goatfish.
Any person can travel to Baja. Any person can snorkel with fish, go whale watching and sleep on a beach. But not everyone can say they shared these experiences with two friends as great as Tara and Chabelo.  It’s not the place you travel, but the people you travel with that make the difference. That’s what sets this trip apart from the rest, and what will bring me and my students back each year.

Kyla next to a Sweet Pityha Cactus at Fox Canyon

Kyla Burns
Johnston High School Science Teacher
Johnston, Iowa