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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 Florida captain was mesmerized but also somewhat concerned during a rare whale shark encounter last Thursday, because the enormous creature “looked bigger than my boat.” In an ABC Action News report Monday, Capt. Barry Moss also said he had turned his engine off, so as not to scare the approaching whale shark. “Just beautiful,” Moss is heard saying, with the shark almost within touching range. It was one of three whale sharks spotted by Moss, who was 20 miles off Anna Maria Island, but the only shark that completed a close approach, with its mouth slightly... Continue reading
Posted 1 hour ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Three hikers are fortunate to have escaped serious injuries – and to have been carrying bear spray – after being attacked by a grizzly bear on a popular trail near Cordova, Alaska. The harrowing June 9 incident, described Thursday by the Cordova Times, began with the bear trampling bushes to reach the hikers on the Ridge Trail. One hiker was knocked to the ground by the angry sow, which was trailed by a lone cub. Another hiker suffered injuries trying to find cover. Alicia King, a public affairs officer with the Chugach National Forest, said momma bear... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Mexico's Los Cabos region is experiencing powerful surf, gusty winds and street flooding as Tropical Storm Bud approaches Baja California’s tip. “Our power just went out, you could hear a transformer explode,” Eric Brictson, a sportfishing fleet owner, said from the town of San Jose del Cabo. “Winds will probably reach 50 mph before long. Surf is also pounding.” In Cabo San Lucas at Land’s End, flooding is occurring on some main avenues, which is common during heavy rain. “We are getting more rain now, but I think the ocean is what is most impressive at the... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Folks in and around Cabo San Lucas are bracing for the late-week arrival of Hurricane Bud, likely as a tropical storm but still potentially dangerous. At midday Tuesday, Hurricane Bud was located 325 miles south-southeast of the resort city on Baja California’s tip. The storm boasted sustained winds of 125 mph, but was slowly weakening. “We are expecting to get hit by Bud, we just don't know how hard yet,” Eric Brictson, owner of Gordo Banks Pangas in nearby San Jose del Cabo, said via email. “But either way we are busy preparing, so far just higher... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A mostly white orca has been photographed by Russian researchers near the Commander Islands in the Bering Sea. The rare sighting was of a leucistic female orca that had not been documented in several years. Russian Orcas, a research group, announced the sighting early Monday on Facebook: “On the first day of our fieldwork in the Commander Islands, we encountered a large aggregation of several groups, including one with a white individual. “Not the famous Iceberg this time, but the female CO210 also known as ‘Mama Tanya’ (named after the main photo-ID researcher of our project Tatiana... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A humpback whale performed its version of a cannonball Friday off Port Macquarie in New South Wales, Australia, breaching into the air and drenching astonished whale watchers. The accompanying footage, captured by Tash Morgan for Port Jet Cruise Adventures, shows the whale’s up-close breach and spin, and water cascading over laughing spectators and the top of the vessel Wave Rider. The whale quickly surfaces, as if to gauge its success, and passengers are left and in awe and with the memory of a lifetime. –Image is a video screen grab Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A volunteer marine rescue group in New South Wales, Australia, is trying to determine why somebody planted the head of a mako shark atop a spiked fence around its facility. “If you know the people who caught the shark or the perpetrators we don’t need to know the names, we just need them be aware that we do not take kindly to this," Marine Rescue Shellharbour wrote on Facebook. "Please be mindful that our Marine Rescue base and surrounding area is monitored by hidden cctv.” The macabre discovery occurred Sunday morning at Marine Rescue Shellharbour. It remains... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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*Monday afternoon update: Hurricane Bud has strengthened to a Category 3 storm, with winds of 120 mph, and moved farther offshore By Pete Thomas With Hurricane Aletta having been downgraded to a tropical storm and posing no significant threat to the Mexican coastline, all eyes are on Hurricane Bud, which appears to be taking aim at the Los Cabos region of Baja California Sur. Aletta, currently located more than 500 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas at Baja’s tip, was a Category 4 hurricane with 140-mph winds on Friday. Aletta, now boasting 45-mph winds and weakening quickly, did not threaten... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A woman was gored by a bison Wednesday at Yellowstone National Park, marking the third time a tourist has been injured by a wild animal at the park this month. Kim Hancock, 59, of Santa Rosa in Northern California, was gored in the hip area at Fountain Point in the Lower Geyser Basin, according to a park news release issued Thursday. Hancock was rushed by ambulance to Big Sky Medical Center, where she was listed in good condition. Park officials have launched an investigation, but state that Hancock and other tourists had approached within 10 yards of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Wildlife officials in Wisconsin have launched an investigation after reviewing home security footage showing a strange-looking, wolf-like creature roaming a Racine County neighborhood. The footage, captured Monday morning, reveals a canine-type animal that's rangy like a wolf or coyote, but also resembles an odd-looking dog. If the animal turns out to be a wolf, it’d represent the first known wolf sighting in Southeast Wisconsin in three years. Dianne Robinson, a biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, told TMJ4 after reviewing the video: “We can’t at this point determine whether it’s a coyote, a wolf or... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Footage has emerged showing a kayaker being followed by a great white shark – and briefly ending up in the water near the shark – in shallow water off Santa Cruz, Calif. But is the footage misleading? The footage was captured Tuesday afternoon by the tour company Specialized Helicopters, which titled the video, “Scary! Kayaker in water with shark.” Giancarlo Thomae is greeted by a great white shark The kayaker is real, and the juvenile great white shark, measuring perhaps 10-12 feet, is genuine. But a source who wished to remain anonymous told me that the kayaker... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Video screen grab By Pete Thomas Freedivers off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, spent nearly three hours Friday in the company of curious orcas. The accompanying footage, captured by Regi Domingo of Pelagic Safari, shows one orca remaining almost totally motionless in a vertical position for several seconds while watching a diver and his camera. Domingo said the encounter occurred five miles offshore, in the Sea of Cortez, and that the sleek mammals seemed as mesmerized as the divers were. The company wrote on Facebook: “Believe it or not... Cabo San Lucas! An absolutely epic day on the water. Orcas in... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Scientists monitoring the Gulf of Mexico sea floor documented a recent battle between sea creatures inside a shipwreck 6,000 feet deep. “He’s breaking apart the wreck,” one of the NOAA scientists notes in the accompanying footage, which was captured last Friday via ROV, run by a crew aboard the Okeanos Explorer. The researchers jokingly refer to the first creature as a Kraken, a mythical sea monster, but quickly identify the animal as a muse octopus. (See Facebook post.) The camera follows the octopus as it enters a ship wreck and unsuccessfully battles another muse octopus for control... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas People aren’t the only creatures whose nerves are rattled when an earthquake occurs. The accompanying footage, captured Thursday as a 5.3-magnitude earthquake struck near the Channel Islands off Southern California, shows a bald eagle dad briefly abandoning his three chicks, who are left to nervously ponder what might be happening. The nest is located on Santa Cruz Island, just north of the epicenter of an earthquake that struck beneath the sea floor just before 12:30 p.m. The eagles are monitored by Explore.org via live video feed. The earthquake was felt by residents on the mainland dozens of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Mountain lion weighing 197 pounds after being treed during tracking expedition. Photo: ©Katie Kern By Pete Thomas Biologists in Washington State have captured, collared and released the largest mountain lion they've ever seen. Brian Kertson of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Bart George of the Kalispel Tribe, used dogs to tree a 197-pound mountain lion Monday north of Spokane. An average male adult mountain lion, or cougar, weighs 140 pounds. “He was a monster,” Kertson told the Spokesman-Review. “A cougar that pushes 200 pounds… I don’t care where you are in the world, that’s pretty extraordinary.” The... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Video showing a scuba diver’s eerie swim through a sea of garbage off Bali this week vividly illustrates the alarming extent of plastic in our oceans. Rich Horner used a pole-cam off Manta Point to show the extent to which non-biodegradable plastic and other garbage flows the currents around Bali and other Indonesian islands. Manta Bay is a renowned diving and snorkeling destination. Giant mantas utilize the bay as a cleaning station – where tiny fish remove their parasites – and represent the primary allure for divers. But on this day it seemed best for humans and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Video screen grab shows how close the whale was to the divers By Pete Thomas Scuba divers could barely contain their excitement during a rare face-to-face encounter with a gray whale Sunday off Monterey, Ca. Ben Laboy and Nicole Guido-Estrada were part of an expedition with Bamboo Reef Scuba Diving Centers when the curious mammal approached, as the divers screamed with glee through their breathing gear. “Had the experience of a lifetime this morning when a gray whale came up to say hi to me and Nicole on our boat dive at McAbee Pinnacle in Monterey Bay!” Laboy wrote on... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Jorge Lazo (right) displays 424.6-pound yellowfin tuna. Photo: Pisces Sportfishing By Pete Thomas A 424-pound yellowfin tuna, falling just three pounds shy of the world record, was caught Tuesday in the Sea of Cortez beyond the Mexican resort city of Loreto. According to Pisces Sportfishing, the behemoth was landed by Jorge Lazo, of Tijuana, after nearly a two-hour fight aboard the vessel Rampage, captained by Robert Ross. RELATED: Giant marlin landed off Cabo San Lucas after 28-hour battle Lazo used a live mackerel as bait, and fought the fish on 50-pound-test line with standup gear. Only a handful of yellowfin... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Blue shark savors minke whale flesh in video screen grab By Pete Thomas When Capt. Todd Mansur spotted a floating whale carcass through his binoculars on Saturday, he had a feeling there might be hungry sharks nearby. Sure enough, the dead minke whale, believed to have been killed by orcas, had become a buffet for perhaps two dozen blue sharks. The sleek predators star in a highlight video published Sunday by Dana Wharf Whale Watching. The surreal footage was captured beyond the remote windward side of Santa Catalina Island during an 8-hour excursion that also featured live whale and dolphin... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Juvenile fin whale carcass tied to a pier in Long Beach. Photo: ©Alisa Schulman-Janiger By Pete Thomas A whale carcass discovered late Wednesday inside Long Beach Harbor has been identified as fin whale. The juvenile mammal measured 40 feet and probably was struck by a ship and brought into the harbor – unbeknownst to the crew – attached to the vessel. “Live fin whales have never been documented inside the harbor, so that’s a likely scenario,” said Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a researcher who was among those inspecting the carcass on Thursday. “But we won’t know until we see the results of... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Video screen grab shows man said to have been shooting at drone By Pete Thomas Sea Shepherd has released footage showing one of its spy drones being shot down Sunday night by poachers in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. The conservation group is in the northern Sea of Cortez, or Gulf of California, trying to locate and remove gill-nets that indiscriminately catch critically endangered vaquita porpoises. Late Sunday night, the MV John Paul DeJoria crew used radar and a night-vision drone to locate three skiffs working inside a vast no-fishing zone. Poachers use gill-nets to target totoaba, a type of croaker... Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Great white shark appears in lights of submersible at 500 feet By Pete Thomas A great white shark named Deep Blue, measuring 20-plus feet and spotted sporadically at Mexico’s Guadalupe Island, has been called the largest great white shark ever caught on video. The massive predator was featured three years ago by Discovery, along with researcher Mauricio Hoyos Padilla. Two years ago, Hoyos posted a clip to Facebook showing the female shark cruising ominously past an open-topped cage, dwarfing the divers. “I give you the biggest white shark ever seen in front of the cages in Guadalupe Island,” Hoyos wrote.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Sperm whale image courtesy of Claudia Ballínez By Pete Thomas Rescue teams spent most of Sunday trying to save two large sperm whales that had become stranded in shallow water in La Paz Bay, in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Unfortunately, rescuers were able to pull only the largest whale, measuring 60 feet, to the safety of deep water. The smaller whale, measuring 50 feet, died during an exhaustive effort that involved government agencies and a regional stranding network. Roberto Robles, of the environmental agency Profepa, said the whales were discovered stranded in shallow water in front of Hotel Palmira at... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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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 Dec 15, 2017 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 Dec 14, 2017 at Pete Thomas Outdoors