Baha cruising, BCMJ style

Issue: BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 3, April 2017, page(s) 145 Editorials
Anne I. Clarke, MD

By the time this April issue is published, the February BCMJ cruise-and-learn to the Baja peninsula will be long past. Unfortunately, the vestiges of extra pounds put on while enjoying the marvelous food, beverages, and special after-hours snacks will still be very much stuck in the present! With all the wonderful experiences and activities on the cruise though, the best part was making connections with other physicians, their families, and fellow cruisers. People are traveling to be social, to meet others, and to make connections. Staying in your closet, I mean berth, is not an option. It is a great setup for a wonderful getaway.

Being in medicine provides an immediate bond with other doctors regardless of their area of practice, age, or location. We were all trainees once, and we share recollections of hilarious events during our training and practice that strike a chord with everyone. There was an attitude of curiosity and desire to learn that is apparent during discussions and question periods after lectures. One always feels invigorated and pumped up.

My husband and I had the wonderful surprise of meeting a couple from Australia who had been on the Tahiti cruise conference hosted by the BCMJ 2 years ago. They had such a great time meeting Canadians that they had signed up again. We recognized each other right away, without recalling their names, of course, as we are all way too old to pull off that miracle! It was great to reconnect and learn more about their lives on the other side of the world. We snagged an invitation to their beach house in Brisbane whenever we want, so what an added bonus!

There was a classmate of mine who I had not seen in 32 years. She looked exactly the same, with the same bright spirit and sense of adventure. Reminding me that we had played together on the med school hockey team, we roared while recalling the experience of having to carry our goalie into the crease at the start of every period because she didn’t know how to skate. Anytime she fell over, which was often, the whole team had to hurry over to get her back on her feet. She was completely unable to stand up on her own. We didn’t win many games that season—like, maybe none.

Cruises have the reputation of attracting the more geriatric set, and that was certainly true in this instance. But the senior sailors are usually incredibly interesting, and when you are 96 and still striding off the tender to explore the port, you have been a part of a lot of history to share with others. Another pair we met, Max and Carol, were a great example. Max had been a naval officer on the USS Midway aircraft carrier. The USS Midway, now a museum, is moored in San Diego harbor and open for tours. The BCMJ cruise started in San Diego, and we had flown in early for a couple of days of sightseeing. The Midway was a must-see for my husband, but honestly I was not very interested. Wow, was I wrong; it was absolutely fascinating in so many ways. Four hours was barely enough time to see it all, and you got a palpable sense of what it might have been like to live and serve on it. However, when you can talk with someone who has actually been a part of the crew, the experience truly comes alive. 

Like so many things in life, it isn’t the time or the place but the people that you share things with that make them special. Think about joining the next BCMJ cruise—it is a lot of fun and will supply lifelong memories.