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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/GrindTv Coyotes are rarely encountered in big cities, so when one of the canine predators was spotted roaming the roof of a bar on Monday in Queens, New York, people became very curious. Image courtesy of Caitlin Cahill, via the New York Post “Maybe it was thirsty,” wrote Doyle Murphy of the New York Post. “I think it’s a first for most of us,” Laura Supper says in the CBS video news report atop this post. “There’s not too many coyotes here in New York, but as they say, anything is possible.” The coyote was first spotted by... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Visitors to Alaska marvel at the vastness of the wilderness, the breathtaking scenery, and bountiful wildlife. But each spring and summer, a natural phenomenon known merely as the bore tide along Turnagain Arm, on the Cook Inlet south of Anchorage, becomes an attraction that’s dazzling in its own right. The accompanying footage, captured earlier this week by Alex Ede and shared by the Alaska Dispatch News, reveals the surreal beauty of the tidal bore, featuring paddleboarders enjoying their rides while surrounded by snow-streaked slopes. Video screen grab A tidal bore occurs when the leading edge of an... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Ben Stack was admiring the fighting spirit of a small threadfin he had hooked while fishing recently off the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia, when suddenly there was a snag. Stack thought the fish had dashed for cover under a log, so he continued to pull and reel, hoping to dislodge the log and claim his prize. Finally, he began to gain line. Feeling victorious, he leaned over the rail and prepared to reach into the murky water and grab the log and his fish, only to spot a large crocodile with its jaws clamped on... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Giant manta rays are revered by divers, who find their presence soothing because they’re so gentle, and soar through the ocean with such grace. But during a recent expedition to a remote area off Peru, Josh Stewart was surprised to find himself being tucked into the winged fins of a 15-foot manta and somersaulted during a brief encounter that may be the first of its kind. “In all my years of filming and interacting with manta rays, I have never witnessed such an extraordinary interaction between a manta ray and a swimmer,” Shawn Heinrichs, a renowned photographer... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv There are divers who say they like to swim freely with large sharks to dispel perceptions that sharks are blood-thirsty predators, and there are divers who counter that these people are mostly thrill-seeking showoffs who are risking their lives and not doing sharks any favors. The two sides can debate all they want, but the photographer in the accompanying footage, even if the shark was only investigating a potential meal, did come very close to losing his head to the shark. At the very least, were it not for his cat-like reflexes, it seems as if he... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Generic Cabo San Lucas breaching whale photo is courtesy of ©Frankie Grant By Pete Thomas/GrindTv A Canadian tourist was killed Wednesday off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, after a breaching whale landed on the boat she was aboard as it was returning from a snorkeling trip in the Sea of Cortez. Several other passengers were injured during the freak accident, which occurred at about noon, as the inflatable boat was returning from Santa Maria Bay, a popular dive spot near Baja California’s tip. Details were scarce late Wednesday but the victim has been identified as Jeniffer Karren, 35, of Calgary. Six... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Florida’s Gulf Coast–the Panama City Beach area in particular–is fast becoming famous as a shore-based fishing destination for catching large sharks. Last week the rare catch (and release) of a great white shark generated headlines, and only days later the controversial catch and kill of a 600-pound mako shark began to make the news and circulate via social media. “10-foot mako shark tonight! We will be eating good for awhile!” reads a March 6 Facebook photo post by a group called Off the Beach Shark Fishing Trips. The rare beach catch, involving an incredibly powerful pelagic shark... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Shaggy is weary and underweight, but said to be doing well By Pete Thomas/GrindTv After Shaggy the stray dog was captured last Thursday, after eluding capture for eight months in Michigan, many people wrote emails and social media comments asking about his health. Remarkably, after sleeping in ditches and wherever he could find cover, much of the time during severely cold winter months, Shaggy has been given a clean bill. “He’s in surprisingly good shape,” said Melissa Borden, who runs a care facility for feral dogs called The Devoted Barn. “He’s about 30 pounds underweight, and his fur is matted,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Shaggy pre-capture; photo by Steve Zaagman/WZZM News By Pete Thomas/GrindTv A large brown dog that had eluded capture in Michigan for seven months, winning the hearts of thousands, has finally been caught. The abandoned Newfoundland, nicknamed Shaggy, had roamed Grand Rapids neighborhoods visibly, often in close proximity to people walking their pet dogs, but would not allow himself to be captured despite attempts with net guns and tranquilizers. Shaggy in a cage, en route to a rehab facility; photo by Ella Stubbert However, Shaggy recently began to hang out in front of a nearby suburban home owned by Jim and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Night divers off Hawaii’s Kona coast last weekend marveled not only at the giant mantas they had planned on viewing, but a critically endangered monk seal that interacted with the mantas and the divers for two nights. It was magical experience from a purely aesthetic standpoint, given the gracefulness of the mantas as they soared in and out of the lights feeding on plankton, and the surprise appearance of an agile and curious seal. But it was remarkable, also, because Hawaiian monk seals are critically endangered, numbering only 1,100. They're the most endangered mammal in the United... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv A great white shark landed Sunday near Panama City, Florida, might be the first white shark caught from the beach in the Gulf of Mexico. The juvenile white shark, measuring almost 10 feet, was caught by Derrick Keeny of a club called Dark Side Sharkers. They tagged the shark and, after posing for the accompanying images, released the predator, which they reported on the tag submission to be in “excellent” condition. “No doubt a once-in-a-lifetime catch,” Dark Side Sharkers posted Monday on Facebook. Great white sharks are rarely caught from the beach anywhere in the world. They’re... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Whale watching does not often involve violence, but this week off Maui, Kate Cummings witnessed and photographed a bonafide clash of titans. Specifically, several male humpback whales, weighing 30 to 40 tons apiece, fighting to establish dominance in the presence of a female. This is the end of breeding season in Hawaiian waters, and brawls such as this occur, but rarely are they photographed in such vivid detail (note the blood materializing on the whale’s tubercles). Cummings, a naturalist who runs Blue Ocean Whale Watch in Monterey, California, provided the sequence for this story. She has witnessed... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Folks might recall the saga of an abandoned dog named Shaggy, who has eluded capture in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for six months, despite being seen almost daily in neighborhoods and walking alongside residents out walking their dogs. We can now report that Shaggy, a large Newfoundland believed to be about 2 years old, is on the verge of being captured in a nearby suburb. Shaggy, who has outwitted animal-control experts armed with a net gun, and has only become more skittish when tranquilized, has for the past several days been hanging out at a private residence where... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Kai Rizzuto (middle) poses with giant marlin; photo via Ihu Nui Sportfishing By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Hawaii’s Kona Coast is one of the world’s premier destinations for giant marlin, and the most sought-after prize is a billfish topping 1,000 pounds, or a grander. That dream is rarely realized but on Wednesday, 16-year-old Kai Rizzuto, while visiting from New York, landed a blue marlin weighing 1,058 pounds, while fishing aboard the Ihu Nui. It was Rizzuto’s first blue marlin and the first grander caught this year off Kona. Rizzuto, grandson of Hawaii fishing author Jim Rizzuto, is believed to be the youngest... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Drawing via Wikipedia By Pete Thomas/GrindTv The probable sighting of North Pacific right whales off California's San Miguel Island during the past several days had researchers scrambling Wednesday to board a boat or plane and try to spot and photograph the endangered mammals. The estimated population for the Northeast Pacific sub-population of these whales is only about 50 individuals, so sightings are exceedingly rare. (The western sub-population off Japan numbers in the low hundreds.) According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the North Pacific right whale is the most endangered whale species on earth. Sightings at San Miguel Island, within... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Life seems to keep getting better for pro surfer Bethany Hamilton, who in 2003 lost her left arm to a shark while riding waves near her home on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Not only was she able to keep surfing at an elite level, and become the focus of “Soul Surfer,” a feature film showcasing her inspirational story; Hamilton found her “soul mate” in Adam Dirks, a youth minister, and the two were married two years ago–10 years after the shark attack. Bethany Hamiton photo is courtesy of Noah Hamilton Photography On Monday, Hamilton and Dirks... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Humpback whale images are via ©Steve Hinczynski By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Scuba divers on a recent excursion to Mexico’s Socorro Island were part of a scene that was so magical and idyllic that it will remain in their minds forever: a mother humpback whale and her newborn calf, along with a male escort, playfully going about their day seemingly without a care. But the same divers, a day later, would learn how quickly and dramatically nature can turn things around; how a scene that was so wonderful one day could be so heart-wrenching the next. Those magical moments were to be... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv A massive elk shot by a Wyoming hunter is the largest ever killed with a crossbow, with a rack spanning more than 4 feet in width. Albert Henderson of Burlington, Wyoming, was informed this week by Safari Club International that the animal he shot during the archery-hunting season last fall is a new world record. SCI uses specific measurements and a scoring system to determine records. Henderson’s elk was scored at 426.5 points, making it only one of a handful of elk to exceed 400 points. Henderson, 49, shot the elk from 53 yards on the fifth... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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The following story appeared January 28 on GrindTv.com, and was featured on the Yahoo homepage, where it garnered nearly 1 million views. People from around the world have become interested in the plight of Shaggy, who continues to elude animal-control experts who want to save him from the Michigan winter and find him a suitable home. Avery Sullenger-Wedder, who has been closely following the saga, said Tuesday that enough money has been raised to purchase a net gun, cover medical expenses, and pay for any training Shaggy should need once he's captured. Additionally, a Help Shaggy Facebook page has been... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv The first sightings of a Sierra Nevada red fox in nearly 100 years inside Yosemite National Park were confirmed Wednesday by park officials. The furry critter was photographed as it roamed through snow in the northern portion of the California wilderness park twice by motion-sensitive trail-cameras: the first time in mid-December, and most recently on January 4. Biologists discovered the footage during a recent backpacking expedition to check on the cameras. The Sierra Nevada red fox is one of the rarest animals in North America, with a population of only about 50 animals, so any sighting is... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Whale watchers in Monterey Bay, California, were thrilled Sunday to see a strikingly white Risso’s dolphin swimming with gray pod mates. The extraordinary sighting was made by passengers and crew aboard a Monterey Bay Whale Watch vessel. The accompanying photos were provided by naturalist Melissa Galieti, who said the young dolphin was swimming with its mother and two other cow-calf pairs. The crew was not able to determine whether the dolphin was a true albino, with pink eyes, or a partial albino (leucistic, with blue eyes), because “this little one kept coming to the surface with its... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Passengers aboard a Southern California whale-watching boat on Sunday enjoyed a magical daylong excursion that included rare sightings of gray whale megapods, traveling south toward Baja California’s lagoons. The first group contained more than 15 whales, swimming closely together. The pod, spotted at 10 a.m. between Dana Point and Santa Catalina Island, included at least three juveniles. The second megapod, consisting of at least 12 gray whales, was spotted at 2:30 p.m., also in mid-channel, and was being harassed by Risso’s dolphins, which acted like cattle dogs guiding a herd. (This type of behavior, although not unprecedented,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Risso's dolphins (circled) interact with migrating gray whales; video screen grab By Pete Thomas A large pod of migrating gray whales was videotaped interacting with Risso’s dolphins Sunday off Dana Point. But it did not seem to be a voluntary union as far as the whales were concerned. They seemed agitated by the large, squid-eating dolphins, which were acting like sheep dogs guiding a cattle herd This type of interaction, if it occurs fairly often, is rarely observed, just as so-called “megapods” of migrating gray whales are rarely observed off the California coast. (The passengers, on an all-day trip with... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas/GrindTv Sharing waves with strangers is not any surfer’s idea of a good time, unless the strangers happen to be dolphins. Ryan Warrington and Kyle Tatam were surfing on standup boards recently at an unnamed destination when dolphins arrived and not only rode waves with the SUP paddlers, but seemed to enjoy their human company. The feeling, undoubtedly, was mutual. “One of the most surreal days we’ve ever had in the water,” Warrington states in a description beneath the video, which is enhanced with a bit of "Jamaican Tea," via the New Black Shades, and takes viewers on... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Earlier this month a humpback whale bumped into a boat full of whale watchers off Maui, before rejoining its calf and swimming off. The event was videotaped from above and below the surface, via pole cam, and finally some of the underwater footage has become available, courtesy of Ultimate Whale Watch. Its 25-foot inflatable boat was bumped, presumably inadvertently, by the mother whale as the vessel was drifting with its engine turned off. The calf swam toward the bow of the boat before the incident. Also, a male "escort" whale was nearby, perhaps agitating and confusing the mom. The boat... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2015 at Pete Thomas Outdoors