I was about four years old, and quite a few people from the village where I grew up were swimming. It was on the beach where the river and the [[ocean]] meet. I forgot my floaties and had no idea how to swim, but I was determined. I decided that I was going to run and jump in, and I did. Like a rock I sank for what felt like an eternity. No one really noticed that I was gone, but my big brother [[Walter]] noticed a big air bubble that came up. He dove down and got me out. I remember waking up wrapped up in a towel coughing up water. I grew up around the ocean and large bodies of water since I could remember. When I got to [[high school]] it was right by the ocean which I think was my favorite part about it. Every morning you could hear the seagulls calling and eagles chattering. The only down side was that every fall and winter when the tide went down it reeked of seaweed and fish carcasses but other that that it was perfect. [[Stormy]] days had a sense of beauty to them. The rain would pour down clearing away dead leaves and the ocean had a sweet smell to it. Every day I miss Sitka and the beautiful ocean. My big brother was my hero growing up. I spent most of my life growing up with him when it was just him, my day, and I. We lived in Bethel Alaska while I was really young because my dad had a job there and my mom and sisters stayed in Hooper Bay. My brother joined the marines when I was in grade school and got out when I was just starting [[high school]]. if I was ever having a tough time or there were family issues he was the one that I would go to. When I was a sophomore in high school he went missing. My family didn't tell me until a few days after he went missing. I remember calling his phone over and over again hoping that he was just out somewhere and was ignoring everyone. I had it in my head that maybe he would pick up the phone because it was me calling, but he never did. I was in Sitka during the time that he was missing and there wasn't anything that I could have done even if I was in Bethel. It took about three weeks of searching for anyone to find him. They dragged the river and on October 9th they found him in the afternoon. I got the phone call from my [[father]], it was my 16th birthday.I attended Mt. Edgecumbe High School(MEHS) for my entire high school career. There was always something fun to do. Sitka is located on the outside of the inside passage of the Alexander Archipelago in South East Alaska. Two of the three of my sisters attended MEHS for they're high school years. The school had 400 students who attended for eight months out of the year. While attending school I was also a student athlete and participated in some of the recreational activities throughout the week. During my sophomore year one of the rec staff took a group of us [[fishing]]. It was the first time that I had learned how to cast a rod and reel. We were fishing off one of the many rocky beaches in Sitka. I managed to snag a humpy salmon, it didnt fight me much but it was my first time catching a fish in Sitka and it was also the first time that I had to knock a fish out using a rock. Those were the days.When I was attending Mt. Edgecumbe I wrestled for two of the four years that I was there. We would take ferry trips all around South East Alaska. My last year wrestling we needed to go all the way to Haines Alaska for the regional tournament. Never on any of the ferry trips had I ever gotten sea sick,but that trip was the worst. The [[waves]] were huge and the ferry felt like it was fighting the water the whole way. There was never a still moment on the boat. I spent a large chunk of my time at the back of the ferry where it usually is the most stable. There wasn't a stable area on the boat. It wasn't any better on the way back either. The tournament went great but the ferry ride back was just as bad as on the way to Haines. I had never been so happy to be back on stable land.I spent a good chunk of my childhood growing up in Bethel with my dad. One of my favorite things that we would go and do was skip rocks on the bank of the Kuskokwim river. At the time we lived in a small one bedroom house that was right by the river. When he had time we would go down to the bank an look for flat stones and he taught me how to skip [[rocks]]. To this day I thankfully can skip rocks, and that will always be the prime of my childhood.Once I graduated from Mt. Edgecumbe High School I decided that I was going to stay in Sitka because I had two jobs lined up and I really just didn't want to go back to Bethel. I had made an unlikely friend with a girl who I never got along with until I finished high school. She worked at Petro Marine which is a fueling company though out different parts of Alaska's coast. On every day that I wasn't working one of my jobs, or [[I]] had time between jobs, I would hang out on the fuel dick helping tie up boats and get fuel lines started. We were known as the Petro girls to regular customers. One day I decided to make a ghetto fishing pole out of a broom, an old hook, and some random string that was laying around the shack. I didn't catch anything but it was fun. Eventually we invested in a Star-wars light up fishing pole from one of the shops in town. Every day that I was there I would sit on the dock catching Dolly Varden and various rock fish. Honestly that was probably the least stressful summer of my life.I had gotten the opportunity to go on a free charter fishing trip thanks to a friend of mine. I had to be up before five in the morning to get down to the harbor to get all loaded up and head out. I was finally going to go out fishing on the open ocean for the first time in my life and I was beyond excited. we left the harbor on the start of an adventurous day of fishing. The sky was cloud covered making the morning light a grey color and the ocean was a deep grey green color. We got into the open ocean on one side of Mt. Edgecumbe, a dormant volcano, and the waves were monstrous. [[I]] had never had such a calm moment in my life, the world around me may have seemed to be complete chaos but on the inside I was content. The boat rocked and rolled as we bobbed with the waves. It was bliss. for the first chunk of the morning we didn't catch a single thing. The captain decided to try a different spot on a different side of the volcano. Once we got relocated and cast out we waited for a bit and one of the other guys on the boat started fighting a fish and reeled up a pretty good sized salmon. It wasn't long before I started to feel a hard tug on my fishing rod. I was fighting a large salmon for what felt like ten minutes. At one point I saw it jump out of the water, it was the most majestic thing I had ever seen in my life. My arms were weak but I had to hold on. Eventually I finally got that sucker close enough to get netted. My friend had to lift my very first king salmon for the photo. That was by far the best day of my life.So it took me a long time to learn how to swim, I was afraid of deep water until I was eleven years old. Every time I was in deep water I would freak out and have a panic attack. So one day when I was in Fairbanks Alaska visiting my older sister she and her husband loaded up all of the kids and I in the car to go to one of the lakes to go swimming. For me that meant playing in the shallow parts of the water and occasionally dunking my head under the water. My niece who is around the same age as I am would play a game with me where we would duck under the water and bring up rocks from the water. while we were playing my feet slipped a bit from under me and I realized that I was floating. [[I]] popped back up yelling with glee that I could float. To most people I probably sounded like a crazy child, but I didn't have a care in the world because now I could learn how to swim. From that moment on I was no longer afraid of deep water and I learned how to swim and I have been swimming since than.I would like to thank you for taking the time to learn a bit about who I am and a bit of my background. If you only hyper linked about four times than go back and take a different rout and learn something different. Everyone has their own story and this is mine. Thank you.