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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 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
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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