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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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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 yesterday 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
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By Pete Thomas Not a lot is known about the feeding habits of offshore killer whales, but sevengill sharks can now be added to their list of known prey items. Slater Moore, a photographer for Monterey Bay Whale Watch, captured drone footage Tuesday showing the mysterious orcas passing around a live sevengill. The extraordinary clip reveals an adult killer whale clutching the shark in its jaws. The mammal eventually releases its grip so other orcas can pick up the shark. This appears to have been a teaching experience for very young calves, which also can be seen in the footage.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Sperm whale surfaces off Trump golf course in Rancho Palos Verdes. Photo: ©Tim Hammond/Harbor Breeze Cruises *Updated with drone video at 10 p.m. By Pete Thomas Dozens of sperm whales were spotted Monday afternoon off Trump National Golf Club on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, sending marine mammal enthusiasts scrambling to locate them from boats. The extremely rare sighting – single foraging males are occasionally seen, but this is a nursery pod including young whales – comes during a six-day period that has included rare sightings of two types of killer whales in Southland waters. Harbor Breeze Cruises was with the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A North Carolina angler has gained notoriety for catching blue catfish so massive that when he hoisted the behemoth in front of his body, it covered most of his face. “Looks like this fish caught the man,” wrote Donald Edward Bolin, in the comments thread beneath one of Riahn Brewington’s Facebook posts. Brewington reeled the 112-pound lunker from the Cape Fear River the day before Thanksgiving, but gained little notoriety until late last week, when news stations were alerted to photos being shared via social media. Despite its colossal appearance, and a girth suggesting that this fish... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A haunting image showing the bobbing head of an elephant seal, an eye still open on its pallid face, leaves little mystery as to what killed the mammal. The image, captured Tuesday by Eric Mailander off Monterey, Calif., was posted to Facebook with the description: “A gruesome find on the Monterey Bay. The decapitated head of an elephant seal that was the victim of a very large white shark, judging from the tooth prints." Adult white sharks congregate near Central California elephant seal rookeries in the fall, to feed on the blubbery pinnipeds, which can weigh up to 4,500 pounds.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A 260-pound male grizzly bear died after being struck by a vehicle Sunday in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. The park issued a news release Monday, explaining that the investigation is complete and that no citations were issued. The collision occurred at about 5:30 a.m. on U.S. Highway 89/26/191. However, rangers were not informed until 9:30 a.m., when another motorist reported sighting a bear carcass next to the highway. A damaged vehicle was parked nearby. Rangers later located the owner, who explained that the accidental collision occurred in the predawn darkness. The park concluded its news release with this notice... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Cecil the Lion By Pete Thomas A guide who was involved in the controversial Cecil the Lion trophy hunt last year has been arrested in Zimbabwe and charged with illegally killing a roan antelope. Headman Sibanda, 56, was arrested Thursday after authorities received a tip about his alleged involvement in poaching an endangered roan antelope. According to Times Live, killing a roan antelope in Zimbabwe carries a maximum sentence of nine years in prison. Sibanda was jailed, but planned to apply for bail. Roan antelope The roan antelope is found mostly in savannas in West and Central Africa. It has... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A diver hoping to photograph great white sharks from the safety of a metal cage instead found himself hunkering down while a crazed shark – which had somehow broke through the bars to join the man – tried desperately to escape. "Oh God... I almost had a heart attack," the diver says in the accompanying video, in the aftermath of his harrowing encounter. It was the second time in less than a month that a great white shark had entered an occupied cage at Mexico’s Guadalupe Island. During the latest incident, the shark was following a chunk... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A hunter in Alaska was attacked by a grizzly bear on Saturday, but spared serious injury when his partner shot and killed the bear. The incident occurred on Chichagof Island near Neka Bay. Josh Dybdahl, 30, was hunting deer with Anthony Lindoff, 36, when the bear charged from the brush and pinned Dybdahl to the ground. According to KTUU, the grizzly with her two cubs. The men heard a “whoof” before the bear charged, presumably after being startled. After pinning Dybdahl, the bear head-butted the man, while Lindoff retrieved a rifle from his pack and shot the bear. The men... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
A photographer on a dive tour off Tonga last week videotaped a vivid scene involving a humpback whale that breached and splashed down within yards of where he and other snorkelers were treading water. “It was the most surreal and incredible experience... being meters from this Humpback Whale when it breached and landed next to me,” Beau Pilgrim wrote on Facebook. “Such an amazing adrenaline rush!” Pilgrim, who was with Swimming with Gentle Giants, told 9 News that he was not concerned about his safety – had the 30- to 40-ton mammal landed on any of the snorkelers, the result... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Viral shark image since pulled from Facebook By Pete Thomas An image showing a diver taming a great white shark with a gloved hand placed on the snout of the predator whipped up a social media frenzy over the weekend, as viewers debated the validity of the photograph. There were no details regarding the image, other than this description on the Perth & WA Fishing Reports Facebook page: “My bro sent me this photo taken of a local diver near Augusta [Australia] pushing away this great white with his glove on the nose. When done right it temporarily sedates the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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**Tuesday morning update: Javier has diminished to tropical depression status – earlier than expected – and is expected to become a remnant soon. Warnings and watches are no longer in effect. Tropical Storm Javier on Monday delivered heavy rain throughout Baja California Sur, flooding streets and creating a fair amount of chaos. But as of Monday afternoon, powerful storm winds were not yet evident. That was expected to change, however. At 2 p.m., Javier’s center was positioned about 35 miles south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas at Baja California's tip, poised to make landfall with maximum sustained gusts of 65 mph.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A blue marlin weighing 1,234 pounds was caught Sunday at the Cape Verde Islands, off the northwest coast of Africa, becoming the fourth marlin this year to tip a scale at 1,000 pounds or more. The massive billfish was caught aboard the vessel Black Marlin, by Heiko Steinmetz, after a fight lasting nearly three hours. Steinmetz, who now has three “granders” to his credit, is bound to be criticized for killing the marlin, if the story circulates beyond fishing circles. But granders are somewhat rare. The first of the four caught this year also was landed off the Cape Verde... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A tropical storm warning was issued Sunday for a portion of mainland Mexico and much of Baja California Sur, including Cabo San Lucas, as Tropical Storm Javier takes aim at the Baja California peninsula. On Sunday afternoon, Javier was located 85 miles southwest of Puerto Vallarta, and traveling west-northwest at mph. Javier boasted winds of 45 mph and was expected to strengthen, but the storm is not expected to attain hurricane strength (74 mph). However, Javier will deliver heavy rain over a vast area – including both sides of the Baja peninsula – and could generate dangerous... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas When a large humpback whale washed ashore dead at Dockweiler State Beach on June 30, there was concern that the carcass would attract sharks. Keith Poe knew it'd attract sharks, so when the whale was towed offshore for at least the third time last week – it kept drifting back in during previous attempts – the renowned shark tagger found the carcass 10 miles out in the hope of tagging and releasing sharks for science. But the sharks ended up tagging Poe. Great white sharks, including one measuring about 18 feet, slammed his 24-foot boat sporadically over... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas With sea surface temperatures climbing well into the 70s in many areas off Southern California, anglers eagerly await a predicted invasion of dorado from subtropical waters. But some of the acrobatic (and delectable) game fish have already arrived, and on Saturday a drone pilot from Orange County Outdoors captured video footage of two large dorado, or mahimahi, swimming three miles off Newport Beach. A video posted by Orange County Outdoors (@orange_county_outdoors) on Jul 9, 2016 at 3:15pm PDT The footage, captured by Mark Girardeau during a whale-watching voyage with Newport Coastal Adventure, is sure to get the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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A jogger in Pacifica, Calif., was astonished to see a humpback whale swimming toward her through the surf, seemingly about to beach itself at her feet. “Whoa, stay back, buddy!,” Roberta Gamble says to the whale, while videotaping the rare encounter earlier this week. Humpback whales were feeding beyond the surf zone, but this whale chased a school of anchovies almost onto the shore. It gulps the bait fish, directly in front of Gamble, five seconds into the video. “Oh dear,” she says in the clip, which on Thursday was widely shared on whale-themed Facebook pages. “Although humpbacks have at... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Whale watchers off Cape Cod watched in awe this week as an enormous basking shark appeared near a feeding humpback whale. Basking shark sightings are rare, and the migration patterns of the planet’s second-largest fish – second to whale sharks – are still largely a mystery to scientists. The accompanying footage, captured aboard a Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises vessel, shows the massive filter-feeder gliding just beneath the surface, its mouth agape, consuming plankton. Though this was an extraordinary sighting, more dramatic was that of the humpback whale lunge-feeding at the surface, inspiring humorous commentary by the videographer, who deadpans after... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Lance Peterson, a fly-fishing guide in the East Cape region of Baja California Sur, can now add opah to his list of rare catches. But Friday's catch was really more of a collection after Peterson spotted the colorful “moonfish” while kayak fishing in the Sea of Cortez. "There were absolutely no rods or reels or fish tackle of any kind involved – just a kayak and a gaff,” he said. “We spotted it bobbing around offshore, confirmed it with binoculars and then went out to fetch it. It was dead when we got to it.” Mysteriously, there were no gaff... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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It’s rare enough to spot a whale shark in the pristine water beyond Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, but to see one swimming inside the marina might be unheard of. “This is a first-time event in Cabo,” Tracy Ehrenberg, general manager of Pisces Sportfishing, said of the Monday morning sighting. The 20-foot whale shark was spotted near the back of the harbor by a man who thought it was a great white shark. "Then we heard that others said no it was a mako... then the truth came out it was actually a WHALE shark... the largest fish on the planet,"... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas An angler fishing off the Baja California city of Loreto has landed a 430-pound yellowfin tuna that might have become a world record if he had followed proper procedure. Robert Ross caught the massive fish on a trip out of the remote Pisces Collection Lodge, on the Sea of Cortez near Loreto. The lodge is not yet open and does not have a certified scale, or cold storage. Ross told Pisces Sportfishing general manager Tracy Ehrenberg that he had little choice but to fillet the tuna after weighing it on a butcher's scale at a nearby ranch.... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Authorities in South Africa’s Kruger National Park are investigating a hit-and-run incident in which a cheetah was struck and left to die on a park road. A photo of the dead animal was posted Wednesday by Ralf Kalwa to the Road Ecology Facebook page, in which Kalwa described the cheetah as “one of 3 siblings.” Times Live reports that the carcass of the sub-adult female cheetah was discovered a day earlier by a park ranger, and that the animal had been dead for hours. “There were no witnesses at the scene and the ranger alerted all the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2016 at Pete Thomas Outdoors