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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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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 6 days ago 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
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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