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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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By Pete Thomas A surfer paddling for a wave Tuesday off San Francisco was surprised to see a large fin slicing the water just a few feet away. “I thought I got this peak for myself, until [this] old mate came from the bottom,” Ignacio Salazar wrote on Facebook and Instagram. The likely shark encounter occurred off Ocean Beach as a north swell delivered waves in excess of 15 feet. (Viewers can see the fin – and hear the sound it generates – within the first 10 seconds.) Salazar told me he was using a mouth-mount for the camera, and... Continue reading
Posted 4 hours ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Baby dolphin seems to smile for boaters. Photo: Mandy Wilson/Rockingham Wild Encounters By Pete Thomas A photographer off Western Australia has captured an extraordinary image showing a newborn dolphin riding on mom’s back – and seemingly smiling in delight. Mandy Wilson, who was with Rockingham Wild Encounters off Perth, snapped away as the baby bottlenose dolphin was lifted above the surface, as the pod traveled to nearby Penguin Island. “When you’re this cute, you’ll always get away with it!” Rockingham Wild Encounters wrote on Facebook. “We love meeting the new additions in the bay and the local mums love showing... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Humpback whale sightings are on the rise off Mexico’s west coast, and on Tuesday spectacular footage surfaced showing a mother and week-old calf beneath the surface off Cabo San Lucas. “The first video footage taken this season of a mother and baby humpback whale. Very exciting!” writes Whale Watch Cabo on Facebook. “As you can see the baby is very small, very light in color and only about 1 week old.” The underwater footage, captured by a guide named Nacho, shows the mother keeping the calf just above her head at the surface, in close proximity to... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Generic mountain lion image courtesy of Justin Shoemaker/ USFWS By Pete Thomas An Iowa teenager on Saturday shot and killed a mountain lion that surprised the hunter as he stalked deer near Akron. “It made a jolt toward me, and I instantly pulled the trigger,” Jacob Altena, 17, told the Des Moines Register. Mountain lion sightings are rare in Iowa. The 80-pound female cougar, dispatched with a shot to its shoulder, becomes only the sixth mountain lion killed in Iowa, according to records kept by the state Department of Natural Resources. Altena, who was hunting with a shotgun at dusk... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Incredible footage has surfaced showing a massive great white shark clipping a scuba diver in the back of the head – with its mouth slightly agape – as the diver, who is on the seafloor, looks in the opposite direction. Dennis Dempsey, who first shared the footage to YouTube on Saturday (video since deleted), does not identify the salvage diver or reveal the South African location. Dempsey could not be reached for comment. As viewers can see, the water is green and murky. It’ not clear if the diver is aware of the shark’s presence until the... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Video screen shot shows the shark beneath Mitch Hargreaves' sufboard By Pete Thomas An Australian surfer thought he had been approaching a clump of kelp, but when it developed into the shape of a shark, and began shark-like movements, he knew he was surfing directly over a fairly large shark. Mitch Hargreaves, 19, also thought he had better warn his father, who was surfing nearby. “I tried yelling ‘shark’ through my [GoPro] mouthpiece to warn my dad and the others behind me,” Hargreaves told the Daily Telegraph. “But no one heard." The encounter occurred last weekend at Cellito Beach in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Large hook looks tiny inside the gaping jaws of a great white shark. Photo: ©Keith Poe By Pete Thomas A photo shared recently on Facebook shows a prominent shark tagger reaching into the gaping jaws of a large great white shark to remove a hook used to reel the shark close to the boat. “It’s not for the faint of heart,” Keith Poe, who tags sharks for the Marine Conservation Science Institute, said. “Your first mistake is your last.” The shark was baited off Point Conception, a newly recognized great white shark “hot spot,” Poe said. Keith Poe reaches into... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Humpback whale gives Ryan Lawler a close look By Pete Thomas Humpback whales will sometimes become curious and swim to within inches of boats and gaze upward at their human admirers. For an Orange County whale-watching captain on a private charter with a friend Wednesday near Santa Catalina Island, the temptation became too great: Capt. Ryan Lawler donned a mask and fins and slipped in alongside a 30-ton humpback whale, and documented the encounter with photos and video. (Video is private and cannot be embedded; Lawler provided the images for this story.) Ryan Lawler about to snorkel alongside a humpback... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A monstrous Chinook salmon was caught recently in British Columbia’s Wannock River, but instead of being carved into steaks it kept as brood stock. A photo of the salmon, which was delivered to the Percy Walkus Hatchery, has gone viral since it was posted to Instagram last Thursday by the Pacific Salmon Foundation. The man hoisting the massive fish is Ted Walkus, hereditary chief of the Wuikinuxv Nation in Rivers Inlet. Walkus used a net to trap the salmon. Big fish for a big-hearted guy! We just had to share this pic of Ted Walkus, hereditary chief... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Joe Romeiro poses with 13-foot great hammerhead shark. Photo: ©Bill Fisher/333 Productions By Pete T... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Two orcas share a stingray meal in this video screen grab By Pete Thomas An amateur photographer has captured stunning aerial footage showing two orcas chasing and catching stingrays in shallow water off Te Horo Beach in New Zealand. Jayven Moore, a tile worker, was visiting Te Horo with a friend and launched his drone-cam after they had spotted large dorsal fins from the beach. “I almost wasn’t going to bother, but I’m glad I did,” Moore told Stuff New Zealand. “It was pretty amazing.” Orca researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger told me that the killer whales in the footage are likely... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
A famous Oregon wolf named OR-25 has been found dead in the Sun Pass Forest in Klamath County. The 4-year-old collared male becomes the third wolf to have been illegally killed in southern Oregon in the past year. The carcass was discovered Oct. 29 in the Sun Pass Forest in Klamath County. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has not revealed the cause of death, but an agency spokesman told the Mail Tribune, "It did not die of natural causes." OR-25, originally from the Imnaha pack in northeast Oregon, gained notoriety in 2016 when his tracking collar showed him crossing... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A BBC Earth crew inspecting a whale carcass on the seafloor endured a surreal encounter with enormous sixgill sharks that rammed its submersible, causing crew members to fear for their lives. (The first shark appears 35 seconds into the video.) The crew, capturing footage for Blue Planet II, was exploring a depth of about 2,300 feet near the Azores in the Atlantic when it discovered the sperm whale carcass. The sharks, measuring to nearly 20 feet, were feasting on the carcass and became territorial when the sub arrived. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” a female crew... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas The frantic moments as a large killer whale approached five swimmers in shallow water off New Zealand, sending them scrambling toward shore, were captured on video Saturday. Viewers will note that the swimmers, who were friends, are laughing almost hysterically as they hurry to distance themselves from the ominous-looking dorsal fin cutting the surface. “Get out of the water! Get out of the water,” a woman, perhaps the videographer, yells from the beach. TVNZ, first to report on the too-close-for-comfort encounter, stated that it occurred off the Coromandel Peninsula, and that the friends ended up naming the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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South Africa’s Mosell Bay is one of the world’s premier destinations for cage diving with great white sharks. But sometimes the most dramatic events occur on the surface and are witnessed from the decks of boats. That was the case recently, anyway, for passengers aboard a dive boat operated by White Shark Africa. One of the clients, Kamille Nielsen, captured footage of a white shark ambushing a cape fur seal – and the cheers from those aboard the boat after the attack. It’s hardly a rare event – South Africa’s white sharks prey almost exclusively on seals during certain times... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas At least one person was killed Wednesday in a rockfall at El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park. Another person was injured during the incident, which occurred at 1:55 p.m., according to a news release posted on the park's website. Park rangers were trying to transport the injured person to a nearby hospital, while rangers and Yosemite Search and Rescue assessed the situation late Monday. The release point of the rockfall was near the “Waterfall Route” on the East Butress of El Capitan, a towering granite monolith popular among rock climbers. Many climbers were on the face... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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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