As it turned out, it was perfect timing because I also had a lot of work to get done before the holidays. On the 27th Toni and I went on a trip to the Galapagos Island (Ecuador) and Peru.
These were not 'lazy-around' trips. There was plenty of walking/hiking and in the Galapagos, deep water snorkeling. I did a post a while back about surface diving as cardio. I got to do plenty of it there.
The water was cold even with shorty wetsuits, especially off Isabella Island which is hit full smack on by the Humboldt current. Let me tell you, runners are not good candidates for survival in cold water. You want to be as fat as possible.
Add to that the fact that surface diving in a floaty wetsuit and no weight belt makes things hard and you have plenty of cardio.
Here's some pictures of Galapagos Sharks. There were dozens of them down about 12-20'...The first one turned away just as I got to his level, sigh.
The one on the right I snapped from shallower depth..you can see a deeper one in the upper left of the shot
There were a lot of huge schools of fish.. here's some
After these snorkels sometimes I was so cold I had to run hot shower water on myself for a loooong time. I also lazed around like these guys do
after their hunting expeditions. Look how comatose mom is while the young (6 weeks?) baby gets to suckle.. Later, she gets a thank you kiss for her efforts.
We did get to swim with the sea lions a few times. I was never bothered by any of them but sometimes the young ones will buzz you and blow bubbles just to see you freak out. I just saw big ones swimming by to go off to work (to catch fish).
The Galapagos is also the home of the only species of sea-going (marine) iguana. They feed on underwater algae and get rid of the extra salt they pick up by accumulating it in a gland in their noses...they then 'sneeze' out the salt from time to time when re-warming themselves on land.
We did see guys swimming under water while snorkeling. I was not lucky enough to see one eating though.
They get up to 3 feet long or so.
I'm still creating my "best of" album, but if you want an early look you can go here and click on 'slideshow'. Still lots of photos to add and captions too.
Next: hiking at Machu Picchu.