Snorkeling With Sharks In Holbox

Separated from mainland Mexico by a shallow lagoon, Holbox Island (pronounced Hole-bosh) is located just northwest of Cancun.  The lagoon is home to thousands of flamingos, pelicans, and many other exotic birds.  The island is 26 miles long and a mile wide and has about 21 miles of beaches.  Even the streets are made of white sand.  There are few cars, most people get around on scooters or golf carts.  Holbox is a quiet, peaceful island with no nightclubs, or high rise hotels.  It is off the beaten path enough to remain unspoiled by mass tourism.  For those who remember when the streets of Isla Mujeres were still unpaved, Holbox will feel like going back in time.

The population of the island is about 1600.  The original inhabitants were Pirates who settled there and married Mayans.  There are people who claim to be descendants of the 7 founding families.  The industry is mainly fishing, though recently it became apparent that tourists were interested in swimming with the big fish that migrate through every year.  To cater to these tourists, cute hotels have opened, as well as funky sand floored bars and restaurants.

From May through October whale sharks converge just off the coast of the island to feed in the plankton rich waters.  The area is considered to be the number one place in the world to swim with the largest fish in existence.  The warm surface temperatures and cold undercurrent provide perfect conditions for seasonal blooms of plankton which draw in the whale sharks, as well as manta rays, sea turtles, and dolphins.  It’s a one to two hour boat ride to get to the whale sharks, so wear a hat and some kind of sun protection.  Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water because the trip lasts about five or six hours and you’ll be in and out of the water a lot.

About The Whale Shark

The Whale Shark is not a whale at all, though it’s as long as a school bus and doesn’t have a mouthful of pointy teeth.  The largest confirmed sighting was 41.5 ft.  One of the easiest ways to differentiate between whales and sharks is that sharks like all fish, move their tails from side to side to propel themselves, whales and dolphins move their tails up and down.  Whale sharks are not aggressive at all, they feed on plankton near the surface and just slowly move through the water opening their mouths to hoover up the food.  They give birth to live young, and you’ll see the babies close to their mothers.  They have a lifespan of about 70 years.

Yum Balam Ecological Reserve

The Yum Balam ecological reserve was established in 1994 and protects 154,000 hectares of land and sea that includes the Lagoon Conil, the mangroves and Holbox island.  Yum Balam is Mayan and translates to “Lord Jaguar”.  60,000 hectares of the reserve are mainland jungle and are home to jaguar, puma, ocelot, margay, and jaguarundi, all of which are endangered.  Yum Balam started off as a rescue project to capture jungle cats that ventured too close to civilization, and relocate them to less populated areas.  It evolved to protect all the flora and fauna of the area it encompasses.

Elizabeth E is a travel writer currently exploring the Atlantic coast of Mexico. In addition to journalism she leads a team of online Spanish tutors.

Paragliding In Valle De Bravo Mexico

Valle de Bravo is a popular destination for weekend getaways from the capital.  For this reason, it has everything a discerning tourist is looking for, from chic hotels and restaurants, to spas and golf courses.  Oh, and of course, paragliding.

About a 2 hour drive from Mexico City, Valle is located on the shore of Lake Avándaro.  The lake is popular for boating, sailing wakeboarding, kayaking, and stand up paddleboarding.  Reminiscent of the Upper Italian Lakes, and having one of the most beautiful colonial centers in Mexico, the area has certainly earned its reputation as a pueblo mágico.  The town offers an exciting but safe nightlife with many bars and clubs to choose from.  Because of the elevation, 6000 feet, it stays relatively cool year round with daytime highs between 67 and 75F.

Above It All

The town itself is lovely, but to get a really great view of the town, the mountains, and the huge lake, you need to see if from above.  Vale is surrounded by hills where visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, rappelling, climbing, and paragliding or hang gliding.  The weather conditions here are perfect for paragliding, and the surroundings are breathtaking.

Valle is famous the world over for paragliding because its landscape and atmospheric conditions make it ideal for the sport.  Because of this it is the site of international competitions nearly every year.  In 2009,  Valle hosted the World Championship, receiving competitors from over 40 countries.  There are over a dozen schools and tandem operations in town.  Paragliding is done here year round, so locals have become accustomed to having angelitos land in their gardens when the wind shifts direction.  Monte Alto, also known as “the kite hill” is a preferred take-off spot for paragliding.

If you’re tempted to give it a try, a 30 minute tandem ride with an instructor will cost about $120.  Don’t forget your camera, and a jacket, it gets chilly up there.  Even for a tandem glide you will get some basic instruction so that you understand how it all works and how to behave safely.  The instructor will handle the flying while the student just relaxes and enjoys the flight.  If you enjoy it, you can then move on to a full course where you’ll learn how to fly the glider yourself.

You can rent everything you need to complete your course here, the wing, radio, and harness.  Experienced paragliders travel with their own equipment, but if they encounter any problems, they can get spares or service on their gear.

Adventure sport travelers are not generally wealthy, so it’s nice that the area caters not just to the elite Mexican tourists, but also to the budget travelers.  Food and lodging are available for every budget.

Flight Of The Monarchs

If you’re looking for something interesting to do that doesn’t challenge your fear of heights, you can hike with a guide to see the millions of Monarch butterflies.  To see them take flight in the bright sunlight is spectacular.  These migrating Monarchs return to the same place they were born to lay their eggs.  Every day around noon the butterflies fly down from the mountains to a river.  Seeing these swarming orange and black butterflies is pure magic, especially when some of them land on you.

L. Evans leads a team of Online Spanish teachers connecting native speakers from Mexico down to Tierra del Fuego with professionals working on learning the language. She loves travel and extreme sports.

Top 5 New Extreme Sports Not For The Level-Headed

Some people say extreme sports are dangerous – and they’re probably right – but hey, if you’re going to get injured you might as well do it with style! The top three causes of head injuries last year were cycling, football and basketball. So let’s not pretend that regular sports are safer than extreme ones – it’s just that most folks can’t handle the rush! Here’s my top five ways to spice up your sports life for 2013:

5) BASE Jumping

No, the capitalisation isn’t to indicate the extreme awesomeness of this activity – it stands for Buildings, Antennae, Spans, Earth. Spans tends to mean bridges and earth tends to mean cliffs, but then the beauty of BASE jumping is that it’s basically just launching yourself from anywhere possible with a parachute ready to go. Although BASE jumping dates back to 1978 and has been doing the rounds quite a lot recently thanks to viral Internet clips, it’s still making the “New” list because every jump is a new possibility. If BASE jumping’s getting stale then you are getting stale my friend.

4) Ostrich Racing

Again you might be questioning what this is doing on a “New” list. That is, if you’re from South Africa or Jacksonville, Florida, USA – the two homes of ostrich racing. For the rest of us this extreme sport is worth attending just for the show with sometimes five or even ten ostriches on the go at a time this is a seriously strange, potentially suicidal spectacle. For the pro there’s the chance to ride an ostrich, although if you’re not into all that biting, flapping and kicking head injury potential then there are carts available for racing chariot-style too!

3) Fly boarding

Now, I’m not really a water sports guy, so this is coming in at number three, but I’ve no doubt it’ll be topping out most people’s wish lists this year. Fly boarding is basically half way between parasailing and – every kid’s dream – a jetpack. Using a massively powerful water pump and some pretty sophisticated engineering the fly board will see you rocketing around lakes and coastlines at the back of a power boat. Already popular in Australia and the US, fly boarding’s on its way to the UK too.

2) Bird Man Suits

The bird man suit has a bunch of names: the flying squirrel suit, wing-suit, and bat-suit. From the names I can guess you know where I’m going… It’s a specially designed suit that lets you glide through the air at controlled speeds – adding a little extra to your usual skydiving experience. This is probably the closest we’re going to get to flying until someone invents an anti-gravity engine and sticks it to a fly board. For bonus points combine this with BASE jumping and you’ve got some serious death-defying thrills on your hands.

1) Pillow Fighting

Now, I started this list talking about head injuries and now I’m closing it with pillow fighting? Something of an anti-climax, you say? Not even slightly! The Pillow Fight League of Toronto, Canada is the newest thing in combat sports and incorporates all sorts of wrestling and martial arts moves into your standard pillow-fight set-up and these do some serious damage! Now, currently the League is women only and has never travelled to the UK – but I’m tipping this number one as I can feel 2013’s going to be the year the Brits take extreme pillow fighting to the next level!

Hopefully this rundown has got you in the mood to branch out from your standard sports routine and try something new. It might seem dangerous at first, but most of these extreme sports take place under professional supervision. So if you are unlucky enough to get injured – there’s always compensation!

Emily Starr is a blogger who fears even jumping from a swing, never mind off a bridge. However, if you are an extreme adrenaline junky and thrill seeker, then it is advisable that you check out research how to make an injury claim, just in case you suffer a back or head injury.

5 Skateboarding Tricks You’ve Probably Never Seen Before

Want to learn some cool skateboarding tricks? Here’s a few you may not have seen before, and some brief tutorials so that you can quickly get up to speed with them…

Trick 1: Boneless

This in particular is an old school trick, but that said you’re very likely to still find it interesting.  To start off with this trick you need to be at a good speed, then what you do is grab just behind the front wheels of your board. 

And then you take your front foot off the board and rapidly put it on the ground, and then jump with that leg.  So next, while you’re in the air you simply put your front foot back on the board and land with your knees bent.

Easy, right?  Well, although a good speed is ideal, you’ll want to start this trick slower until you’re comfortable with it.

Trick 2: No Comply

This trick – to start off you simply put your back foot on the tail of the board, and your front foot on the nose of the board.

Next, you slide your front foot off the nose and place it on the floor.

At the same time push with your back foot, since this has the effect of making the board jump up a little bit.  Then simply catch your board with your front knee, and next hop with your front foot, then on your way back to Earth put your front foot back on the board.

Sound easy?  Give it a go.

Trick 3: The Heel flip

Here you’ll want to put your back foot on the tail so that only around two thirds of your foot is on the board, and then at the same time place your front foot anywhere you choose from the middle of the board all the way up to the front.

Okay, so first of all you Ollie which you should know how to do, then you slide your front foot to the tip of the board and use the balls of your feet to hit the front corner of the board.

This force will cause the board to flip, then simply catch the board with your feet and land.

Try it and see how it works for you.

Trick 4: Finger flip

This trick starts with your rear foot on the back of the board, and your front foot around the middle.  Then you simply Ollie, grab the front tip of your board and flicked it with your hands making sure to keep your feet out of the way.

Then once you’ve done that, of course land on your board.  This trick can look great if you do it right.

Trick 5: Pop Shove-It

With this trick you once again start with an Ollie, and then you move your rear foot in a backwards sweeping motion.

So after your skateboard has gone through a 180° turn, you capture it with your feet and land.

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This post was by James Richards who writes for

Where Safety is No Object

Many sports, by definition, incorporate an element of danger. Whilst it is undoubtedly true that the prospect of sustaining serious injury during a game of snooker or a stand-off at the table-tennis table is remote footballers are being sidelined all the time, rugby players are often to be seen leaving the bitch with their heads swathed in a bloodied headband and boxers take very considerable risks in their pursuit of sporting excellence.

Few sports though can leave the participant open to the possibility of serious injury and worse than boxing, and many promising young boxers have paid the price for being inadequately prepared, unfit or badly matched against a superior (or just lucky) opponent.

The sense of danger can in truth be an alluring factor when embarking upon any sporting venture, but nevertheless the sensible sportsperson will do whatever he or she can to minimise the chances of coming to grief.

Equipment, like the climber, needs to be up to the job

So it is with rock climbing and mountaineering, where the threat of a slip or a fall are occupational hazards but the odds of encountering any real danger can be minimised by taking some basic common sense precautions.

Needless to say having strong, sturdy, functional equipment that is up to the task is an essential prerequisite for a safe experience upon the rocks, and this is one area where it would certainly be foolhardy to try to sacrifice quality and functionality in pursuit of economy. Whether we are talking about hooks, ice axes, ropes or any other necessary piece of equipment by far the most important consideration has to be whether or not it actually works; whether it is fit for purpose.

That is not to say of course that rock climbing equipment needs necessarily to be prohibitively expensive, but simply that one is aware of the quality of the product that one is purchasing.

Similarly one’s apparel needs to be fit for purpose and anything bought for use in the field really has to be appropriate for the task ahead. Coats, hats, gloves, trousers and shoes or boots all need to be of sufficient thickness to sustain the climber in times of wet or otherwise inclement weather whilst still allowing the climber the freedom to climb.

The quality of outdoor gear can vary substantially from one product to the next, and it is always helpful to source equipment from a reliable provider and to stick to a brand name that you know you can trust.

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Guest article brought to you by Urban Rock, the UK climbing specialists.

Hardtail Mountain Bikes and Full-Suspension Bikes: Which Fits You Better?

For biking enthusiasts, there is an ongoing debate on the use of hardtail mountain bikes versus the use of full-suspension bikes. There is a growing number of bikers and experts who prefer riding full suspension bikes; so does this mean hardtail bikes have no use?

Differentiating Hardtail Bikes from Full-Suspension Bikes

Hardtail mountain bikes are equipped with solid frames and front suspension forks. Suspension bikes also have the same front forks, but the frames consist of two pieces (front triangle and rear triangle) joined by pivots. The suspension bike design allows the sections of the frame to move independently, with the rate of movement controlled by a shock absorber, making the ride smoother and less stressful. The design is recommended for those who are beginners and those up for harder trails.

Which One is Better?

The best answer to this question is neither. The better or the best bike depends on the rider, and it boils down to the rider’s style, preference, terrain, and other factors as well. To help you determine what are these other factors, consider the following:

  • Your Comfort

Let’s put comfort first on the list; if you are not comfortable with your bike, your riding experience and even your performance would be greatly affected. If you are into a comfortable, enjoyable and fun ride, then choosing full-suspension bikes would be the best choice for you. Why? Because full-suspension bikes can be easily controlled compared to hardtail bikes, and the full-suspension bike features also help you get through rough terrains. However, if comfort is not a priority on your list and if you want to experience biking the rough, hard way, then hardtail bikes would be a perfect option for you.

  • The Price

The advancements in full-suspension bikes come with a price, and that price translates literally to added finances. Full-suspension bikes can be more costly than hardtail bikes. This is due to the simple reason that hardtail bike designs have existed for more than 100 years, and full-suspension bikes are new bike design innovations. Simply put, if you work within a budget, then hardtail bikes would be a more suitable choice.

  • Climbing Ability

On the one hand, when it comes to climbing, hardtail bikes offer rear-wheel pedaling efficiently; they would give you more acceleration and allow you to sustain speed for a longer period of time. When the terrain surface becomes technical, the rear suspension would allow the wheel to articulate over the obstacles. This feature helps maintain traction and eliminates the possibility of spinning out. A full-suspension bike, on the other hand, allows the rider to stay seated even if the terrain is angled up a hill.

  • Descending Ability

Full-suspension bikes have a clear take on this. On bumpy, downhill trails, suspension bikes would not put much physical stress on you. But let us not forget hardtrail bikes. The problem with a suspension design is that it can tire your legs faster, but if you are conditioned for such endurance, then it would not be much of a problem. Hardtail models such as the Eureka hardtail mountain bikes would offer an advantage when you are going downhill on a hardtrail, as it can train you to become a better rider.

  • The Weight

Both designs can actually accomodate the biker’s “weight needs.” Some hardtail bikes are now built with a lightweight frame which at times is lighter than that of full-suspension bikes. There are full-suspension bikes that are lightweight as well. The weight would then depend on the riderr’s comfort and preference; if the weight is reasonable, then the design is not much of a trouble.

  • Maintenance

If you’re in for something that is low maintenance, then there is no debate: a hardtrail bike is all you need. Hardtrail bikes need less maintenance compared to full-suspension bikes which need regular maintenance on the rear shocks (new seals), frames, and chains.

Consider Your Health as Well

It’s not only the terrain, the maintenance, and the price that you should only consider when choosing the right bike for you. Your health, above all, should be the number-one priority. If you have an existing back problem, then taking a hardtail bike is not a good idea. This is due to the simple reason that hardtail bikes do not offer enough support for an already injured back. When you encounter hard terrains, the slightest bump and the mildest impact can affect and even worsen a back problem. Bikers who suffer from an already existing back problem or those who are recovering from a serious back injury usually trade in their hardtail bikes for full-suspension bikes.

The Thing is

If you would like to venture the world of mountain biking, the first and essential step is to assess yourself: your health, your capabilities, endurance, and even your weaknesses. Know these first, and then find the right equipment or bike that can fit these needs. If you are a beginner and on a limited budget, consider having a hardtrail bike first. Hardtrail bikes can give you just the right riding experience you need; of course as a beginner, technical routes and tough rides would not be the things with which to toil. As you become more advanced and feel the need to challenge yourself with rough trails, you can switch your hardtail bike to a full-suspension bike. Remember that rough trails can put you into significant physical stress, so you might as well prepare yourself by acquiring the right equipment.

This article is contributed by Amarendra, an avid enthusiast for outdoor activities and lifestyle. He writes numerous articles on outdoor activities such as mountain biking and biking equipment like Eureka hardtail mountain bikes.

Skydiving In Southern California

Looking at Southern California, you can easily see why it is one of the best places to start your journey as novice skydiver or continue your road as an expert skydiver. Skydiving in California is a past-time that can be enjoyed by anyone, and with more than a dozen drop zones featuring some of the most stunning geographical views, one is spoiled for choice.

Drop zones in Southern California offer various events, skydiving lessons, skilled skydiving instructors, video and photo services, and much more besides, which makes the choice an easy one. Whether you are interested in solo skydiving, tandem jumping, or freefalling; whether you are a novice looking for your first skydiving thrill or an experienced skydiver, skydiving in Southern California is eminently accessible to all. Whatever you pleasure, you are sure to find it at one of the following drop zones, renowned for the best skydiving in Southern California.

Skydive Perris

Skydive Perris is a family-owned skydiving resort which has been in operation for more than 33 years, and is located just outside of Los Angeles. The drop-zone averages in excess of 100,000 jumps annually and is internationally recognized as a premier facility for students who want to go skydiving in California.

Skydive Perris is favored by Hollywood studios, who have filmed a number of movies at the drop zone, and it counts many celebrities amongst its loyal customer base.

The Fleet

Skydive Perris offers 12,500-foot jumps with nigh on a full 60 seconds of freefall, which is 25% more freefall time than offered by most other drop zones. This is achieved because Skydive Perris maintains the largest fleet of turbine powered planes on the West Coast; a Skyvan, a Super 300 Twin Otter, two Super Twin Otters, and a DC-9 jet.

The use of large aircraft means that Skydive Perris can accommodate large groups without a problem, which is fantastic for groups looking to jump together and also facilitates the thrill of large formation skydives being a distinct possibility.

The Facilities

The facilities at Skydive Perris are unrivalled and include:

  • A Restaurant – The Bombshelter Bar and Grill is open every day from 8am to sunset and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Relaxing over a meal, taking advantage of the fully licensed bar and watching jump videos is a favorite pastime after a jump.
  • A Pro Shop – Adventure Sports Loft, Inc is a full service rigging facility located on the DZ. It is open whenever skydiving is taking place.
  • A Swimming Pool – Skydiving customers are free to use the pool, lounge around the pool area and take in the ambience and sites before or after a jump.
  • Accommodation - There is no shortage of accommodation available; from Tent City, which is free, to the Bunkhouse which is situated behind the Skydive Perris School and is perfect for the very, very budget conscious to the International House of Parachutists (IHOP), located on the DZ and suited to the very budget conscious, to the many local hotels and other accommodations nearby that offer skydiver discounts.

Apart from some of the best skydiving in California, Skydive Perris also offers an on-site indoor skydiving facility, and tandem skydives with experienced instructors. Various packages such as the Sensory Overload package, which consists of two flights in the indoor wind tunnel followed by a tandem skydive, complete with various video packages. There are also Senior Sundays, and Military Mondays packages.

Skydive Elsinore

Skydive Elsinore was established in 1959, and lies about an hour’s drive from both Los Angeles and San Diego’s metropolitan areas. The scenic Elsinore Valley in which Skydive Elsinore is located is the home of the largest natural lake in Southern California, alongside the splendid Ortega Mountains. Elsinore is a premier center for skydiving in California and offers Tandem Skydiving and First Jump Skydiving courses given by professional skydiving coaches such as multi award-winning owner/operator, John Hamilton, who has in excess of 18,000 jumps under his belt.

Skydive Elsinore is known for having the friendliest staff in the industry, a small drop zone vibe with every amenity a large drop zone can offer, and amazing year-round views. It is also the home of cutting-edge research and development in parachute drop testing and serves as an Edwards Air Force Base remote test parachute facility.

The Staff

This friendly, professional team is led by a Management Team consisting of Owner/GM, John Hamilton, who has been jumping since 1986 and has won many skydiving awards; Owner / Chief Pilot, Karl Gulledge, and School Manager, Laurent Lobjoit. All of the instructors at Skydive Elsinore have been skydiving in California for many years, have between 700 and 13,000 jumps, and are USPA qualified. All the riggers at Elsinore are FAA-certified. All camera personnel responsible for taking both Digital Video and Digital Still Photographs are professionals.

The Facilities

The facilities at Skydive Elsinore include:

  • Over two acres of beautiful luscious lawn, located next to the loading and packing areas
  • An enchanting oasis in which to relax, complete with bubbling fountains and shade trees
  • A full-service snack-bar which is open 7 days a week
  • Barbecue lunches are offered every Saturday and Sunday
  • Onsite bunkhouse and camping facilities and hot showers
  • Air-conditioned video and team debriefing areas
  • Packing Area – 8,000 sq. ft. area, covered and carpeted, with cool misters

If you want to go skydiving in California, then Skydive Elsinore is the place to learn. It has one of the best training facilities in the world, and offers skydiving training in the form of their United States Parachute Association (USPA) accredited Accelerated Free Fall course. Skydive Elsinore’s Skydiving School has the most up-to-date equipment; the most current USPA approved learning progression programs, and the friendliest USPA instructors. Instruction and coaching is available in Freefly/Canopy, Tandem, Canopy and Wingsuit jumping.

Skydive Elsinore also offers the Elsinore Elevate program, which is designed for one-on-one formation skydiving coaching. This program is aimed at the novice who wants to learn formation skydiving and those who already have thousands of jumps under their belt but who want to brush up on their skills in order to earn their AFF-I Rating. This program is overseen by professional skydiver Barry Williams, who has more than 6, 000 skydives under his belt.

Skydive San Diego

Skydive San Diego is situated just 25 miles from San Diego‘s city center. Many individuals who go skydiving in California choose Skydive San Diego because of its easy access from the city. The other reason they do so is because of the magnificent views. On a clear day one can see over 50 miles, and can take in the magnificent vistas of the San Ysidro Mountain Range, downtown San Diego, the Salton Sea, and Coronado Island.

Skydive San Diego is the training ground of the US Navy SEALs. The West Coast teams do their initial skydiving training next door at Tactical Air Operations before doing their continuing training and currency jumps at Skydive San Diego. Some of the individuals from the Navy Special Warfare community also skydive for fun at Skydive San Diego, and some of them are instructors there.

The Fleet

Skydive San Diego has a fleet of the newest, safest and largest jump ships of all those used for skydiving in California. Their flagship craft is the DeHavilland Twin Otter (DHC-6), which is versatile and highly maneuverable, and can take up to 23 jumpers. The Twin Otter is known as a “bush” plane, and can be flown slowly and in tight circles, which is perfect for lifting skydivers.

The smaller Cessna Caravan holds 12 jumpers, which is great for groups of friends who want to jump together. The Caravan is very versatile, which is one of the reasons that it is the choice of many skydiving in California drop zones. It sets the standard for flexibility and performance, and is the perfect partner craft for the Otter.

The Facilities

Skydive San Diego is a full-service skydiving facility, and offers the following amenities:

  • Multiple training buildings are available for the various forms of training offered at the drop zone
  • Deluxe packing lofts where skydivers can pack their equipment in comfort
  • A BBQ deck and patio where one can relax whilst waiting for friends to finish their jumps or after your own thrilling skydiving in California experience
  • A grass landing area which serves for take-offs and landings, which allows your friends and family to watch you land safely

The Revolution Freefly and Canopy School, which was established in 2007, is hosted by Skydive San Diego. Matt Lewis, a member of Precision Aerodynamics Team Xaos, previous member of US Team for canopy piloting, and a multiple award-winner, leads the school. The school teaches basic RW, sitflying, tracking, headdown flying, backflying, camera flying, and also conducts progress team training.

Skydive San Diego’s Accelerated Freefall (AFF) Training program is the most highly developed and advanced first-jump training program in the world. It is possible for an individual undertaking the Solo Freefall program to get solo-certified in just seven skydives with Skydive San Diego’s USPA-certified program. The Solo Freefall Certification enables one to self jumpmaster and Skydive from 7000 minimum, without direct supervision.

Wherever you choose to go skydiving in Southern California, one thing is for certain; you are guaranteed of great jump craft, highly-qualified instructors, friendly staff, great facilities and some of the most magnificent views Southern California has to offer. This is truly one of the best places to go when skydiving is at the top of your to-do list. Make sure you take full advantage of this experience as it is worth every second.

One Very Extreme Sport: Ice Climbing

It might not be the most popular type of sport, but there is no doubt that ice climbing is one of the biggest activities to shed adrenaline. Designed only for those who have nerves of steel, ice climbing is exactly for those people who have no fear and want to experience earth’s greats from ridiculous heights.

Ice climbing is exactly what it says on the tin and involves individuals clambering up icy landscapes. As you may expect, most of the time they are secured by countless safety devices and this means it’s possible to embark up icefalls, waterfalls or simple cliffs.

There are various forms of ice climbing with the main two involving alpine ice and water ice. The former of the two is completely frozen, whereas there is more liquid water prevalent in water ice and this means that it must be approached a lot differently. In general, most experts stipulate that alpine ice is slightly easier to negotiate, but one must possess vast technical knowledge of the sport in order to overcome water ice.

Best places to visit for ice climbing

Unsurprisingly, it’s all of the world’s coldest places that are the best when it comes to ice climbing. Alaska is a known favourite, with the area of Valdez proving popular due to the huge number of climbs that are available. However, America also has plenty of other destinations with California being frequently visited, while Colorado always attracts plenty of visitors. In relation to the latter, the Ouray region is said to be one of the best in the world and this is highlighted as it hosts the Ouray Ice Festival.

The indoor version of the sport

Of course, while the previous paragraph focussed on the US, there are also many destinations that people visit throughout the UK. When the weather is not suitable, some individuals take to indoor centres which are becoming more and more popular. Vertical Chill, in Castleford, is said to be one of the best, while there are others situated in the likes of Kinlochleven and London.

Of course, the indoor version of the sport is nothing like the real thing and some experts would not consider taking up such an experience. Nevertheless, it is safer, while such centres can be accessed all year round if your region doesn’t always receive freezing cold weather.

The ice climbing horror stories

Unfortunately, although perhaps unsurprisingly, there are a huge number of dangers associated with ice climbing. Such dangers have prompted a lot of deaths within the sport and it’s not just the inexperienced that have been affected, with some of the most seasoned experts within the field also falling to their death.

The dangers posed with ice climbing were highlighted at the start of 2012, after one of the most revered athletes in the sport died in a 60ft fall in Colorado. 58-year-old Jack Roberts was the individual in question and despite winning various awards for his climbing in the past, he died of a heart attack following the tragic fall.

Unfortunately, that is not the only case and a climbing instructor was the victim of such a fall back in 2010. Dave Church did not survive after falling 75ft in Cumbria and his case was not aided by the fact that his climbing partner was unable to obtain any sort of help due to their precarious location.

Bearing these tragedies in mind, it’s clear to see that there are so many dangers linked with the sport and if you do happen to suffer an accident, you have a lot of variables working against you.

A summary on ice climbing

Ice climbing is regarded as one of the most adrenaline filled sports on the planet and this is why it attracts so many keen athletes. Of course, while the sport can be breath-taking, there are an incredible number of risks associated with it and one should plan their excursion very carefully before embarking on a serious ice climbing expedition.

Liam is a keen sports writer who blogs on many sports including rugby, boxing and martial arts, all extreme sports in their own way. He also likes to recommend the odd betting offer as a wager on a football match makes it that bit more exciting.

Treat your loved one to an Experience Day this Christmas

If you are tired of getting your loved one yet another gift basket, sweater or tie for Christmas, a great way to get out of this rut is to get them gift experiences instead. These adventurous experience days provide an exhilarating experience that they are sure to remember. The options are endless, but no matter what option you choose, you are sure to please the special person in your life.

For the most adventurous of consumers, features adrenaline-rush experiences. You can skydive, bungee jump or participate in a rope adventure, where you will climb through obstacles, up trees and down amazing zip lines. While these activities are sure to please the biggest thrill seekers, the you can rest assured that the experience will be monitored by safety personnel and that the recipient will receive all of the necessary safety training and equipment to complete the activity in the safest manner possible.

For anyone that loves planes, trains and automobiles, there are lots of experiences are available that will satisfy them. You can drive off-road vehicles, sports cars or tanks and also spend a day at the racetrack. For those who want to get higher, you can participate in an aerobatic flying experience, a sightseeing helicopter tour or take flying lessons in a lightweight 1-2 person plane.

Romantic experience days are a great idea for a gift to be given to couples for Christmas this year. A romantic hot air balloon ride is a memory that the couple will surely remember for the rest of their lives. Another great gift for couples can be a trip away to spend time relaxing with a spa package or even a trip to a world-class show.

Wine tasting tours are also available, along with chocolate tasting tours. Any of the wonderful experiences offered by well wicked stuff are sure to bring couples closer together and give them a much-needed respite from their busy lives.

Experience days are also great gifts for kids, as well as adults. Many will enjoy the unique experience of zorbing. This experience takes “Bubble Boy” to an entirely new level. Participants will enter an inflatable ball and then take off down a hill in their very own hamster wheel while going upside down and round and round.

Whether you’re seeking adventure or romantic time, whoever you give an experience day to is sure to be impressed with a gift outside the box this Christmas.

Bill Weston writes on a number of subjects including experience days and gift experiences from

GoPro Releases The New Hero 3 Camera

Hero 3We don’t talk about equipment a lot on this blog, but the new GoPro Hero 3 camera is really quite exciting.

It’s such a huge upgrade from the Hero 2 cameras, basically being much smaller, way more powerful, and includes Wi-Fi as standard. This is a big improvement and has set the extreme sports world talking!

Read a full review of the GoPro Hero 3 camera here.