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Pete Thomas
Solana Beach, California
Former Los Angeles Times outdoors reporter; now writes for this website, GrindTv.com and Yahoo homepage
Interests: Outdoor activities, reading, good food, beer and wine
Recent Activity
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*Friday morning update with references to fatalities, damage and clearing skies (click link) By Pete Thomas Tropical Storm Lidia was positioned immediately southwest of Cabo San Lucas late Thursday evening, delivering powerful winds and torrential rain that was flooding city streets and parts of nearby San Jose del Cabo. “We’re getting belted by the storm now,” longtime Cabo San Lucas resident Tracy Ehrenberg said via email, at 6:30 p.m. local time. ”It’s practically a hurricane. We’re holding on here and praying the docks will stay together.” According to the National Hurricane Center's 6 p.m. update, Lidia boasted sustained gusts of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Folks in Cabo San Lucas and throughout the Mexican state of Baja California Sur are keeping a close eye on the trajectory of Tropical Storm Lidia. Lidia, which on Wednesday afternoon was generating heavy rain over southwestern Mexico, is the first Eastern North Pacific storm of 2017 poised to impact the resort areas at Baja California's tip. RELATED: Los Cabos deals with Hurricane Odile aftermath; photos Though Lidia is not expected to attain hurricane strength (sustained gusts of 74 mph or stronger), hurricane watches (hurricane conditions possible) and tropical storm warnings have been issued by Mexico. The... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Whale watchers off Orange County were surprised Tuesday to encounter an 8-foot broadbill swordfish that swam briefly alongside the 95-foot Dana Pride. Carla Mitroff, a naturalist for Dana Wharf Whale Watching, said the rare sighting occurred 1.8 miles west of Dana Point. “It was a first for me,” Mitroff said, adding that the swordfish remained near the boat for about 10 minutes. A post shared by Dana Wharf Whales (@danawharf) on Aug 29, 2017 at 12:42pm PDT Swordfish are found in tropical and temperate seas in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. But in Southern California they’re... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A snorkeler off Queensland, Australia, is fortunate to have escaped injury when a humpback whale calf breached and nearly splashed down directly on top of him. Connor Lyons, 19, was freediving with two friends Wednesday off Noosa Heads when the mother humpback whale and her 1-ton calf swiftly approached. “The calf was coming so fast at us… we couldn’t kick fast enough,” Lyons told 9 News. “And when the whale popped up it landed back down on my left leg and knocked my fin off.” The divers were returning to their boat when they spotted both whales... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas The next time you enjoy a plate of steaming Dungeness crab, consider the plight of a young humpback whale that was rescued Sunday off San Clemente, Calif. The 25-foot juvenile whale had become entangled, perhaps several weeks ago or longer, in crab-fishing gear from Washington State. Ropes attached to floats were wrapped tightly around the base of the whale’s tail fluke, and around parts of its upper body, including its mouth. The mammal carried the gear more than 1,200 miles, and it remains unclear how effectively the whale was able to feed. The first attempt to rescue... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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*Update: The whale was freed of almost all fishing gear late Sunday afternoon By Pete Thomas Rescue teams relocated an entangled humpback whale Sunday morning off San Clemente in south Orange County, and were hoping to free the mammal. The 30-foot whale was first located Saturday afternoon off Palos Verdes in Los Angeles County. Experts with the Marine Animal Rescue (MAR) removed some of the commercial fishing gear – ropes with trailing floats – before dusk, and attached a telemetry buoy to enable teams to track the cetacean's movements. The whale’s location on Saturday night was off Laguna Beach. Sunday’s... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Rescue teams planned to search the waters off Orange County on Sunday for a humpback whale tangled in commercial fishing gear. The whale was spotted Saturday off Palos Verdes in Los Angeles County. Experts with the Marine Animal Rescue (MAR) attached a telemetry buoy before nightfall, but were not able to remove the gear. The whale’s location, late Saturday night, was off Laguna Beach. Sunday’s search, coordinated by NOAA Fisheries, was expected to launch from Dana Point Harbor. The rescue effort, coordinated by NOAA Fisheries, was expected to involve the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, SeaWorld and Marine... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Mako sharks are known for their acrobatics on the hook, but sadly for a shark that leaped recently off Long Island, N.Y., the landing area was the anglers' boat. “He jumped on the boat! Oh... my gosh!," a woman says, almost hysterically, in graphic footage that shows the shark bleeding from its mouth after becoming stuck between the deck and bow railing. The anglers seem unsure how to handle the situation, while displaying a mixture of giddiness and fright, but ultimately lasso the shark and set it free. RELATED: Florida anglers tow large shark at high speed,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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*Story updated Wednesday morning to include updated statement by the FWC By Pete Thomas What appears to have been a cruel post-catch ritual – towing a large shark at high speed – could land three Florida anglers in hot water. The video was first posted to the Shark Fishing Worldwide Facebook page on Monday, beneath the caption: “Bull Buster is so tough you can drag a shark at 30 knots with it.” The graphic footage shows three men on the boat seemingly enjoying the sight of a 5- or 6-foot shark skipping violently across the water. Brice Walker, who posted... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas One of the planet’s largest shark species is rarely encountered because it roams the shadowy depths between 600 and 3,000-plus feet. The sixgill shark, which can measure to about 18 feet, is therefore mysterious and alluring. That’s why scientists aboard the EV Nautilus were excited to document the presence of two sixgill sharks last week while using an ROV to probe the depths around California’s Channel Islands. Appearing out of the darkness 200m deep in @NOAA_CINMS, a bluntnose sixgill shark cruised by us last night! Species max length: over 16ft! pic.twitter.com/NbTWphijX5 — E/V Nautilus (@EVNautilus) July 11,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Mola molas are observed sporadically off Southern California as they drift with the currents and prey largely on sea jellies. Spotting one of these bizarre-looking creatures is usually considered a bonus for boaters who might be fishing or searching for whales and other marine mammals. But late last week scientists aboard the EV Nautilus received a super-rare treat when a Mola mola appeared in the video feed of the vessel’s ROV – at a depth of 200 feet. How do you totally derail an ROV exploration dive? Two words: Mola mola. Spotted at 200ft in @NOAA_CINMS. pic.twitter.com/qi54NEiwEx — E/V Nautilus... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Shark experts have often said that you’re far more likely to be injured or killed while driving to the beach than by falling victim to a shark attack. That might be true, but you’d be hard-pressed to convince surfers and swimmers along a popular stretch of Southern California coastline, where a woman was seriously injured during a shark attack last Saturday. In the days since Leeanne Ericson was bitten in the upper thigh area while swimming at San Onofre State Beach in North San Diego County – she remains in critical condition – dozens of great white... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A swimmer was bitten by a shark late Saturday at San Onofre State Beach in north San Diego County, according to several reports. Details were sparse at the time of this post, but 10 News San Diego reported on Facebook that the female victim was airlifted to Scripps Memorial in La Jolla. The Orange County Register reported that the woman, who who had been wearing swim fins, was bitten in the buttocks-thigh area. The extent of her injuries was unknown. Fox 5 reported that the victim was airlifted at about 6:30 p.m., citing a spokesperson at Camp Pendleton. Great white... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A humpback whale carcass that was towed offshore by Newport Beach lifeguards last Thursday was preyed upon by a large great white shark on Saturday, and towed offshore again Monday after nearly washing onto the beach in Oceanside in North San Diego County. The accompanying footage was captured by Keith Poe about 15 miles offshore, southwest of Dana Point. With Poe was Ryan Logan, a Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab grad student, who placed two scientific tags in the female shark estimated to measure nearly 18 feet. The carcass is that of an adult female humpback... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A humpback whale carcass that was towed offshore late Thursday after its discovery close to Newport Beach has some human company, but so far it has not attracted large sharks. “No sharks yet,” said Keith Poe, who tags sharks for science and was with the bloated carcass when reached Friday evening. The adult female whale, affectionately known as Scarlet, had endured a fishing gear entanglement and a subsequent infestation of reddish lice. Scarlet, which somehow had lost the entanglement and much of her lice, was most recently spotted alive last week inside Long Beach Harbor. She whale... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A white wolf famous among visitors to Yellowstone National Park has been euthanized after hikers found the animal dying and in shock near Gardiner, Montana. “Staff on scene agreed the animal could not be saved due to the severity of its injuries,” P.J. White, Chief of the Wildlife and Aquatic Resources Branch, stated in a news release issued Friday. The wolf was found Tuesday. The park is investigating what might have caused the initial trauma, and requesting information from anyone who might have witnessed suspicious behavior. A park spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the nature of the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A Florida family was greeted Sunday by a whale shark “longer than a school bus” and accompanied by hundreds of smaller fish. “I heard my husband yelling over his regulator and looked up to see a what looked like a rolling cloud,” Brock said. “There were cobia and remoras everywhere - then I realized they were attached to something, and that something was a whale shark!” The rare encounter with a 30- to 35-foot whale shark occurred off West Palm Beach as Brock was scuba diving with her husband, Keith Brock, her 13-year-old cousin, Addie, and their... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A wave-cam pointed at the lineup of a popular Southern California surf spot on Monday revealed a fairly large shark breaching just yards beyond a few dozen surfers. A reasonable person would think that such a spectacle would inspire a mass exodus, given that great white shark sightings in typically spike locally in late spring. But there’s no visible reaction among surfers in the footage, indicating that they could not see the shark or simply did not care. The footage is from a fixed camera operated by Surfline at Lower Trestles, within San Onofre State Beach in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A high-speed passenger boat collided with what was presumed to have been a whale Tuesday off Nagasaki, Japan, leaving several passengers bruised and shaken. The 163-ton Venus was carrying 108 passengers and crew and traveling at 40 mph when the strike occurred, according to the Japan Times. The impact cracked the vessel's bow, but Venus arrived safely to port in Izuhara two hours behind schedule. Seven passengers suffered minor injuries. The fate of the whale is not known, but a strike of this type likely would result in serious injury, if not death. Kyushu Yusen, the service provider for Venus,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A Brazilian tourist who grabbed a shark from the shallows of a remote island beach – apparently for a selfie – is fortunate to have retained her fingers, but perhaps the same can’t be said for her dignity. The accompanying footage, which began to circulate via social media on Monday, shows the woman wrestling with what appears to be a small lemon shark in a prolonged attempt to persuade the critter to let go of her finger. A male friend steps in to help pry the shark’s jaws open, and ultimately the woman’s hand is free and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
By Pete Thomas Photos circulating via social media show what's said to be a great white shark beneath 10-year-old Eden Hasson as he rides a wave near Newcastle, Australia. The boy’s father, Chris Hasson, snapped photos as his son surfed the wave. After a look at his viewfinder, Chris called his son to the beach, fearing for his safety. “It rolled over having a good look at his yummy yellow new wetsuit,” Chris Hasson is quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald. Chris elaborated on Facebook: “Just as [Eden] is taking off I see something out of the corner of my... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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It’s unclear whether the California sea lion had hoped to hitch a ride atop the gray Honda Civic, or whether the plump pinniped merely sought a smooth surface on which to nap. But the sight of such an immense sea creature resting on the roof of such a tiny car – which was parked inside a bustling Washington boat yard – was extraordinary enough to attract several onlookers and, eventually, the police. Additionally, the bizarre scene has made Melanie Sceva somewhat famous. Her video footage, captured Saturday at Nichols Brothers Boat Builders in Freeland, has been widely shared on Facebook,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Boy hangs by the straps of his backpack as rescuers try t reach him. Photo: Clint Ashmead By Pete Thomas For the second time in two weeks, a young skier at a Utah resort has found himself hanging high above ground from a chairlift and in dire need of a rescue. In both cases, straps from a backpack became stuck on lifts at Sundance Ski Resort, leading to harrowing ordeals for the boys. The latest incident occurred Monday afternoon (see video). The boy became stuck while trying to exit a chair at an elevated drop-off point, as the chair traveled... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas The critically endangered Southern Resident killer whale population suffered another devastating loss this week, as the body of a popular male orca was discovered floating near Vancouver, Canada. According to CBC, the carcass was spotted late Tuesday. The mammal was towed to shore Wednesday by Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which performed a necropsy. The Center for Whale Research later confirmed that the dead killer whale is an 18-year-old from J Pod, cataloged as J34 and nicknamed Doublestuf. “Our hearts go out to his mom and brother and entire clan,” Howard Garrett, who runs the Orca Network,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas When the opportunity presents itself, even critically endangered killer whales may not be able to resist the urge to go for a surf. Video showing Southern Resident killer whales riding waves generated by a container ship was posted to Facebook last week by The Inertia. (Video posted below.) The footage, credited to John Porter, was widely viewed and appreciated because it’s not often that killer whales, or orcas, are documented riding waves. Porter, the ship’s captain who was unaware that his footage had been lifted by The Inertia, said this occurred Aug. 23 as he traversed Boundary... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors