Archive for 12/21/2012

The Huffington Post – 

As a stalagmite blocks the cave mouth from view, I find myself sinking into the noduled gullet of Sistema Sac Actun, the cave system running some 135 miles through Yucatan limestone that helped shape the Maya’s Boschian vision of the afterlife.

I’m here because, after hearing so much about the end of the world, I want to immerse myself into the rest of the local cosmology.

I’m getting a sneak peak at some real estate in Xibalba before the post-apolocalypse rush. Niels Horemans, a Flemish tree surgeon turned cave diver is acting as my broker.

And there are worse places to spend eternity than at the bottom of Tulum’s Gran Cenote. The water is cool and still.

Veils of light illuminate catfish sniffing their way around the bases of stalactites. Niels’ breaths echo off the walls in basso profondo.

Though my depth gauge tells me I’m hovering below 50 feet and my flashlight allows me to see three times that far into the caverns, I can’t spot the underground rivers of blood, pus and spiders described in the geology section of the Popul Vuh, Maya’s sacred tome.

What I see instead is waxen rock congealed into Gaudi spires of grey.

These melting candles poke out from a carpet of khaki sand embellished with fallen jacaranda leaves.

Pockets of air coruscate like mercury in the pockmarked ceiling. In front of me, Niels inspects a sunken sign that makes it clear we should go no further.

Niels makes a rather dangerous hobby of going further.

Since moving to Tulum to start Dream Diving, he’s become a part-time speleologist, a cave explorer.

Full article…

Fitsugar – 

With chilly weather for the next few months, more than a few of us are dreaming of spending a long weekend away from the snow.

If you’re planning a mid-Winter beach holiday, then you’re probably looking forward to relaxing on the sands with a tropical cocktail in hand.

But while a warm-weather vacation should be a time to kick back, it shouldn’t mean you undo all the hard work you’ve put in during the year.

When it comes to staying fit on vacation, you don’t have to stick to your hotel’s stuffy fitness center.

Incorporating activities like scuba diving can help you enjoy the outdoors while saving you calories, too.

I never thought of diving as exercise — that is, until I experienced a weekend of it while becoming certified as an Open Water Diver, courtesy of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).

While you may feel weightless in the water, it’s a different story on land — lugging 20-pound air tanks and swimming on the water’s surface require a fair amount of total-body strength.

“You don’t do a lot with your upper body when you’re in the water diving, but you do a lot just in getting prepared to go diving, putting the equipment on, getting in and out,” says Kelly Rockwood, a training consultant, course director, and instructor for PADI Americas.

“You’re going to get more fit if you’re an active diver, even if you do nothing else as far as fitness goes.”

Full article…