December 1-2 Paddlers race, learn, and shop at the Ninth Annual Captiva Classic Race and Symposium off Florida's Atlantic Coast. (941) 437-0956; http://www.canopy.net/captiva_classic/

December 2 The Hawaiian Christmas Looong Distance Invitational Rough-H2O Swim celebrates its twentieth anniversary as it pits competitors against the ocean on a four and a third--mile open water swim across Waikiki Bay.

In early December, veteran climbers Christine Boskoff and Charlie Fowler will attempt alpine-style first ascents on the highest peaks in the remote Kang Karpo range in east Tibet during a twelve day circuit sponsored by a Gore & Associates Shipton/Tilman grant.

December 8 The six-mile Off Track Off Beat Snowshoe Race outside of Leadville, Colorado, winds off trail through waist deep snow. (719) 486-3581; www.leadvilleusa.com

December 11-14 Adventure racing invades the Caribbean for the first time when the 250-mile Expedition BVI brings mountain biking, scuba diving, kayaking, and a $125,000 purse to the British Virgin Islands. 757-425-5404; www.expeditionbvi.com

December 14 - January 5 More than 45,000 birders spread out across the U.S. for the Audubon Society's 102nd annual Christmas Bird Count. http://www.birdsource.org/cbc/index.html

December 18 Thirtieth birthday of Capitol Reef National Park in south central Utah. http://www.nps.gov/care/

December 27-31 One thousand paddlers will converge on the Murray River in northern Victoria to take on a 251-mile racecourse during Australia's Red Cross Murray Marathon, the world's longest internationally accredited canoe and kayak race. www.murraymarathon.org

December 30 The annular solar eclipse makes landfall during the late afternoon in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Partial phases of the eclipse are also visible from much of North America as well as northwestern South America.

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