by ALEJANDRO REYES VEGA, CSU Public Relations Assistant
I grew up in the eastern part of Venezuela by the ocean. I learned how to swim, snorkel, dive, steer watercrafts, and sail from a young age. Being by the water brought me serenity and happiness and it even got me off school once.
I was around eight years old when my parents asked me if I wanted to spend 10 days on a boat navigating the islands and the coastline of the eastern part of the country. Classes were in session, so I figured my parents were trying to trick me, so I said yes. By the end of the week, my parents had talked to my teacher and I had gotten some extra homework. That is when I realized that I was actually skipping school for the next two weeks.
This wasn’t a vacation, however; the purpose of the trip was to determine if the newly acquired boat had any issues of any kind. Saturday morning, my parents and I headed to the marina and we boarded the boat along with a crew member and the captain. The yacht had a full kitchen along with a master suite, and two guest rooms along with two and a half bathrooms. This was one of my first times seeing a full-size kitchen on a vessel and it was by far one of the prettiest ones I had ever seen.
We left the city and headed northeast; the plan was to reach the city of Cumana by nightfall. The first few hours I spent exploring the yacht, but I soon got bored and headed outside. It was a beautiful day in the Caribbean and as we moved over the water, we made friends. Bottleneck dolphins surrounded us and stayed with us until we got near the city. I also saw swarms of jellyfish and even saw some sea turtles. Sealife was everywhere around us and as we docked into the Cumana marina, I was already contemplating leaving the next day and heading into the open ocean.
Before we left Cumana, we stocked up and provisions to make sure we didn’t have to dock for at least the next ten days. Our first stop after leaving the marina was a small archipelago with crystal clear water where the ocean floor was visible. We decided to anchor, and I was finally able to jump into the water. I swam to the nearby islands and enjoyed the warm sunny weather that the Caribbean is famous for. The next day we headed towards the Gulf of Cariaco.
Traveling through the gulf was peaceful and we again saw dolphins, turtles, and all sorts of fish. However, we never expected to almost clash with one of the largest mammals to ever breathe. We were approaching the end of the gulf, when a large blue whale surfaces six feet in front of our boat. Until then I had no idea that whales could be found in the Caribbean and much less this close to the mainland. It kept surfacing around us until we saw it submerge and swim away.
Turns out that whales don’t belong to any particular climate or ocean. They spend their lives traveling the oceans and depending on the time of the year they can be found in warm shallow waters or icy ones by the poles. They move around based on their food sources as well as their need to breed and raise their calfs. I would have probably learned this in school someday, but experiencing it made it more fun and exciting and even though I learned this when I was eight, I still have not forgotten it.
Every day of this trip had a new surprise and a lesson. I returned to school with a tan and more knowledge than if I had attended class for those two weeks. I learned about machinery, tools, navigating instruments, and sea life. I got to skip school, visit new islands, and see new wildlife.
I apologize for the quality of the pictures, but back then cameras were not as fast as todays and not as many pixels.
Alejo is a student at Minnesota State University, Mankato, born and raised mainly in Venezuela. Having had many opportunities to travel, explore, and go on a variety of adventures. Alejo’s Mischievous Adventures captures some of those exploits.