GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


Nick Hancock sets world records on Rockall

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 03:51 PM PDT

Nick Hancock

Nick Hancock broke two world records, having spent 43 straight days living atop Rockall, a tiny islet 286 miles west of Scotland. Photo by Sean Glackin is a twitpic

Nick Hancock of Scotland broke out a tiny bottle of champagne and celebrated alone Thursday the world records he established by occupying the tiny islet of Rockall for 43 consecutive days, breaking solo and group (i.e. overall) records for inhabiting the tiny piece of rock.

Rockall is a remote granite rock painted white by seabirds, the only inhabitants who could possibly enjoy the locale 286 miles west of Scotland in the Atlantic Ocean.

“There can be no place more desolate, despairing, and awful,” is how Lord Kennet described Rockall in 1971.

Why anybody would want to step foot on this rock let alone live there for any length of time is incomprehensible. But that’s what Hancock did, living among the seabirds and using a yellow RockPod as his shelter on the outcropping measuring 60 feet tall and 82 feet at its widest point.

nick hancock on rockall is a twitpic

Nick Hancock poses for a selfie holding a mini-bottle of champagne to celebrate his world records. Photo by a twitpic

“It’s strange really, as it’s just another day on the rock,” Hancock told MailOnline via satellite phone on Thursday about his record. “I had a little smile to myself, but there’s been no euphoria as such. I had no one to celebrate with.”

Other than the seabirds.

Hancock, 39, broke the 40-day solo record established by former SAS soldier Tom McClean in 1985, and broke the 42-day group and overall record set by three Greenpeace members in 1997.

Hancock posted his final blog entry Thursday and indicated the boat picking him up will leave Leverburgh on Friday evening and pick him up Saturday.

“Another day here means another day onto my new occupation record, but having taken down the turbine yesterday, may mean that I’m short on power tomorrow [Friday],” Hancock wrote on his blog. “Hence why I’m posting this blog today rather than on my last night on the rock.”

Originally, Hancock was planning to remain on Rockall for 60 days but was forced to cut the visit short after losing four barrels of supplies in a storm at the beginning of July.

His pod, which sits on the little habitable space available on Rockall, is firmly bolted into place. On days Hancock strays from the pod, he wears a harness attached to a strong lifeline.

Nick Hancock shot this photo of his RockPod from above. You can see there isn't a lot of room to roam on Rockall. Photo is a twitpic from Hancock

Nick Hancock shot this photo of his RockPod from above. You can see there isn’t a lot of room to roam on Rockall. Photo is a twitpic from Hancock

Hancock began his world-record attempt on June 5, before the World Cup started, and he didn’t find out Germany had won until Thursday. But he didn’t sound interested anyway since he’s not a soccer fan.

So, what does one do while sitting on a rock alone on the Atlantic Ocean?

nick hancock

Nick Hancock on his small perch atop the tiny islet of Rockall. Photo by Sean Glackin is a twitpic

Hancock began talking to the homing pigeons and guillemots that landed on the rock. He read several books. He wrote blog posts. He watched shearwaters gliding centimeters above the waves. He observed two minke whales surface close to Rockall. He viewed fishing trawlers that passed by. He did housekeeping. He began taking Italian lessons. Oh, and he also raised $17,000 for the Help the Heroes charity.

Now that the end is within sight, Hancock, who has eaten nothing but army rations, has something specific in mind once he gets back home to Ratho, near Edinburgh, Scotland.

“I’m looking forward to a glass of wine and a pint of good ale when I get back,” he told MailOnline. “I think a pizza is in order too.”

Similar stories on GrindTV

Hike steep Mt. Scott trail for best view of Oregon’s Crater Lake

Escape NYC with a hike on the Breakneck Ridge Trail

How to go car camping on the cheap

Follow GrindTV on Google+

Follow David Strege on Facebook 

 

The post Nick Hancock sets world records on Rockall appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Anglers in frenzy over exotic fish invasion

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 02:04 PM PDT

Tuna2

Angler poses with rare yellowfin tuna catch off Dana Point, Ca.; photo courtesy of Dana Wharf Sportfishing

Something very fishy is happening off Southern California.

Anglers are kelp paddy-hopping and discovering enormous schools of yellowtail beneath the floating amber masses.

Fishermen are trolling through schools of dolphins and hooking yellowfin tuna–as close as five miles from shore and as far north as Oxnard.

Anglers are even catching dorado, or mahi-mahi, and bluefin tuna.

DoradoMorgon

Mahi-Mahi are among species that have anglers in a frenzy over exotic fish invasion; photo by Shawn Morgon

It’s a dreamlike situation for those who like to target these fish, because they don’t have to embark on a multi-day boat voyage far down the Baja California peninsula, or fly to Cabo San Lucas or La Paz.

Instead, the tropical and sub-tropical species (yellowfin and dorado, in particular) have come to them, courtesy of El Niño-like conditions that have warmed water temperatures to an unseasonably high 71 to 75 degrees, extending far offshore.

“People are like, “Who needs Mexico?’ ” said Donna Kalez, general manager of Dana Wharf Sportfishing in Dana Point. “You should see our public launch ramp. It’s the longest line we’ve seen in 10 years.”

Tuna1

Passengers aboard the San Mateo went home with enough tuna and yellowtail fillets to feed a small army; photo courtesy of Dana Wharf Sportfishing

Reads one of many comments from bewildered fishermen discussing the unusual phenomenon on Facebook:

“NOBODY has ever caught tuna off [dolphin] in Southern California or Northern Baja waters… EVER!”

Kalez said fishing for exotic species on this magnitude has not occurred since 1997, which marked the beginning of the last major El Niño.

The waters off Dana Point in Orange County have been particularly productive. One of Dana Wharf’s boats on Wednesday returned with 99 yellowtail, and a small number of tuna. Another boat finished up Thursday with 55 yellowtail, 13 dorado, and three yellowfin tuna. That’s unheard of for July, and almost unheard of for any time of year.

dorado

Dorado caught Thursday off Dana Point; photo via Dana Wharf Sportfishing

Cody Martin was on a private boat Wednesday, fishing 30 miles off Dana Point. He reported catching a 30-pound yellowfin tuna, a 40-pound dorado, and 10 yellowtail. That sounds like a fish story coming from the Sea of Cortez.

Capt. Shawn Morgon, of the private yacht Good Karma, was fishing off Santa Catalina Island and caught a beautiful dorado. He shared the photo Thursday on Facebook, and we’ve posted it here.

But the exotic species did not stop at Dana Point. They’ve been biting to the north, off Huntington Beach, since Monday.

And on Wednesday a private boater reported catching 15 yellowfin tuna off Oxnard, which as far as we know has not happened since 1997.

Fishing is so good off Southern California that owners of some San Diego-based long-range boats, which typically venture far into Mexican waters, are requesting that anglers bring California fishing licenses, because they might be fishing locally.

Somewhat ironically, this incredible and unusual bite began just as Mexico was ordering a ban on fishing for bluefin tuna, as the bluefin bite was in full swing off Baja. Now bluefin schools are being encountered off Southern California, where there is no sportfishing ban.

Said Don Ashley, owner of Pierpoint Sportfishing in Long Beach: “From our point of view, why drive all the way to San Diego to turn around and come back here?”

Ashley’s overnight boat, the Toronado, returned to port Wednesday with 50-plus yellowfin tuna.

Said Philip Friedman, host of Spanish-language and English-language fishing radio shows in Southern California:

“Because of Mexico’s bluefin closure, and with some bluefin and all those yellowfin entering U.S. waters, it’s a perfect opportunity to catch both species in the U.S., and avoid the Mexican permits and other costs associated with fishing on that side of the border.”

Friedman then added: “And we’re not finished with the exotics. This is just the beginning. I would not be surprised to see a blue marlin caught locally, or even a wahoo. It’s going to be that kind of a season.”

More on GrindTV

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Stranded whale saved after ill-advised rescue attempt

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Anglers in frenzy over exotic fish invasion appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Surfer Quincy Davis’ Montauk travel tips

Posted: 17 Jul 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Quincy Davis

In the water, Quincy Davis is lightning quick, well-rounded, and sharp. Photo courtesy of Quincy Davis

Summertime is about chasing new adventures, and for some, a return to familiar ones. Take 18-year-old Montauk resident and surfing beauty Quincy Davis. Gifted with both golden locks and the luck of growing up in a coastal town, this Long Islander’s surfing itinerary frequently takes her to remote beaches that reside on even the most seasoned travelers’ bucket lists. But if you ask Davis about her favorite places to surf, she’ll quickly reveal her hometown pride and love for surfing local beaches when the waves are good. Friends and family anchor this seasoned wave-chaser, suggesting that whatever far-flung coast you visit, you’re happiest when you return to your own.

Quincy Davis strolling through Montauk. Photo courtesy of Oakley

This surfer is so photogenic! Quincy Davis takes a stroll through Montauk. Photo courtesy of Oakley

We had a chance to connect with Davis about her hometown’s hot spots, and this is what she shared.

Montauk most known for fishing!

We should stay with a group of friends and rent a place. It’s more fun that way!

A favorite coffee and breakfast spot is the Montauk Bake Shop for coffee and because they have the best pastries! But for breakfast I always go to Happy Bowls, my brother Tyler’s açaí bar—it’s amazing and healthy!

Quincy Davis

The hamlet of Montauk has become one of the busiest tourist locations within the town of East Hampton. Photo of Montauk Beach Pier courtesy of Shutterstock

For lunch and dinner we need to check out (for lunch) Happy Bowls, Naturally Good, or the food truck Ditch Witch! My favorite dinner spots are Harvest on Fort Pond, Clam and Chowder House, and The Hideaway or Pizza Village.

Best eatery to watch the sunset from is the Inlet Seafood Restaurant. It has great food and the view of the sunset in the summertime is amazing! (If 21, head to the Montauk Brewing Company.)

We can’t leave town without: 1) Having a bonfire 2) Eating at Happy Bowls 3) Seeing the Montauk Point lighthouse 4) Enjoying a full beach day at Ditch Plains 5) Having a Goldberg’s bagel 6) Watching the sunset over the sound—it’s incredible!

Quincy Davis

Located at the tip of the South Fork peninsula of Long Island, Montauk boasts six state parks. Photo of the Montauk lighthouse courtesy of Shutterstock

A place where tourists won’t be found: That’s a secret!

Best spot to surf and rent a board? Surf: Ditch Plains  Rent a board: Air & Speed Surf Shop

Favorite local surf shop? Air & Speed Surf Shop

Quincy Davis

Montauk is famous for its fishing (even claiming to have more world saltwater fishing records than any other port on Earth). Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Where should we head to get our shop on? Well, there’s not much shopping in Montauk, but I recommend: Surf Bazaar at Surf Lodge and CalypsoGosman’s Dock has some really cute little shops, and if you want a Montauk tee you gotta go to the Montauk Clothing Company!

Packing essentials for visiting Montauk are: Volcom bikinis, sunblock, beach cover ups, money …

What can we leave behind? Sand and good memories :)

Quincy Davis enjoying some down time; Photo courtesy of Oakley

Quincy Davis enjoying some down time; photo courtesy of Oakley

Biggest lesson surfing has taught you: To always to have fun with whatever you’re doing. I think you will be most successful in life if you’re truly enjoying it—I’m so grateful to be able to do what I do and call it a job!

On your bucket list: Traveling Europe with my best friends and going to Fiji or Tahiti!

Personal mantra: Everything happens for a reason.

Obsession of the moment: Iggy Azalea’s new album, “The New Classic

For more on GrindTV

5 of the best places to watch a pro surf contest

Coco Ho’s North Shore travel tips

An insider’s guide to Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Surfer Quincy Davis’ Montauk travel tips appeared first on GrindTV.com.

GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


Giant sinkhole in Russia baffles experts

Posted: 16 Jul 2014 02:47 PM PDT

Giant sinkhole spotted in Siberia, Russia. Photo is a screen grab from the video

Giant sinkhole spotted in Siberia, Russia. Photo is a screen grab from the video

A giant sinkhole discovered in Siberia, Russia, has experts baffled as to its cause and has others offering widespread speculation ranging from a meteorite crashing to Earth to the arrival of a UFO.

The sudden appearance of the giant sinkhole in the Yamal Peninsula, an area rich with oil and gas, was spotted from a helicopter 18 miles from Yamal’s biggest gas field Bovanenkovo, and it was filmed by engineer Konstantin Nikolaev of Yugra, according to the Siberian Times.

It was estimated to be 262-feet wide with an unknown depth. Here’s video shot of the giant sinkhole from a helicopter:

Experts from the Centre for the Study of the Arctic and Crysophere Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences were en route to the site in an attempt to figure out a cause, though they ruled out a meteorite and UFO.

“We can definitely say that it is not a meteorite,” a spokesman for the Russian Emergencies Ministry told the Siberian Times. “No details yet.”

Initial images were thought to be a hoax, but the giant sinkhole is authentic, and it might have been formed around two years ago, the Times reported.

From the Siberian Times:

Anna Kurchatova from Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre thinks the crater was formed by a water, salt, and gas mixture igniting an underground explosion, the result of global warming. She postulates that gas accumulated in ice mixed with sand beneath the surface, and that this was mixed with salt–some 10,000 years ago this area was a sea.

Global warming, causing an “alarming” melt in the permafrost, released gas causing an effect like the popping of a Champagne bottle cork, she suggests.

Given the gas pipelines in this region such a happening is potentially dangerous.

Dr. Chris Fogwill, an Australian polar scientist from the University of New South Wales, told The Sydney Morning Herald it looks like a periglacial feature, perhaps a collapsed pingo.

Giant sinkhole as seen from a helicopter in Siberia, Russia. Photo is a screen grab from the video

Giant sinkhole as seen from a helicopter in Siberia, Russia. Photo is a screen grab from the video

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

A pingo is a block of ice that’s grown into a small hill in the frozen arctic ground. The ice can eventually push through the earth and when it melts away it leaves an exposed crater. Dr. Fogwill says the permafrost [frozen earth] can be hundreds of meters thick, allowing for large ice features.

“It’s just a remarkable land form.

“This is obviously a very extreme version of that, and if there’s been any interaction with the gas in the area, that is a question that could only be answered by going there,” Dr. Fogwill said.

The expedition team headed to Yamal, which means “end of the world” to the indigenous people of the Yamal Peninsula in northwest Siberia, plans on collecting samples of soil, air, and water from the scene, and hope to have an answer soon.

More on GrindTV

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Stranded whale saved after ill-advised rescue attempt

Follow GrindTV on Google+

Follow David Strege on Facebook 

The post Giant sinkhole in Russia baffles experts appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Search ends for missing shark diver

Posted: 16 Jul 2014 10:00 AM PDT

missing shark diver

Generic Tiger Beach shark image is courtesy of Michael Domeier

The search for a shark diver who did not surface with his group after a night-diving excursion Sunday in the Bahamas has ended after authorities determined that John E. Petty was attacked by a shark.

U.S Coast Guard crews found only dive gear, but no body after an exhaustive search that also involved Bahamian authorities.

Petty, 63, a chiropractor from Longview, Texas, was part of a multi-day adventure with Florida-based outfitter Jim Abernethy, a famous but controversial figure among the commercial shark-diving fraternity.

Eight other passengers were part of the expedition to Tiger Beach, a renowned location where divers routinely—but during daylight hours—dive among tiger sharks lured in with bait. (Many operations have stopped using cages for protection.)

Petty, who had recently obtained his mandatory advanced open-water certification, was last seen by other divers with the expedition aboard the 65-foot vessel, Shear Water. A distress call was issued at about 8 p .m., after it was discovered that Petty was missing.

Coast Guard Petty Officer John Paul-Rios told Chron on Wednesday that the search has turned up a “substantial amount” of dive gear. Outside magazine quoted Coast Guard spokesman Mark Barney as saying the gear included a mask and camera found one mile from where the distress call was issued.

On Wednesday afternoon Petty’s son-in-law issued this statement:

“The family would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming support and prayers on behalf of John Petty. The U.S. Coast Guard has ceased its search as of 11:00 a.m., today. After the Bahamian Government studied the items recovered in numerous searches, it has been determined that a shark attack was the cause. A memorial service is being planned and details will be posted later today. Thank you all again.”

Though thousands of tourists dive with sharks at Tiger Beach without incident each year, the location has been the site of several close calls and tense moments.

The cageless shark-diving industry began at Tiger Beach, which is located 20 miles nortwest of West End on Grand Bahama Island. The destination remains a major draw for those wanting to hand-feed the larger sharks. Several filming projects, involving intimately close encounters, were conducted there, etc.

Among past incidents Jim Abernethy has been associated with include losing a client to a fatal shark attack in 2008.

In 2011, the outfitter was bitten on the arm by what was believed to be a lemon shark while diving in the Bahamas. He was airlifted to a Florida hospital for treatment.

Messages sent to Abernethy on Wednesday were not returned.

–Find Pete Thomas on Facebook and Twitter

More on GrindTV

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Stranded whale saved after ill-advised rescue attempt

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Search ends for missing shark diver appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Book a stay at Big Pine Key for laid-back ocean adventure

Posted: 16 Jul 2014 05:00 AM PDT

Big Pine Key

Snorkel at Looe Key to see protected coral heads; photo by Brandon Scherzberg

Before you cross the Overseas Highway into Big Pine Key, Florida, you better reset your watch to island time—things move a little more slowly here. Maybe it’s the abundance of Tarpon, Mahi-mahi, and Snapper just waiting to fill your cooler. Maybe it’s just the 35-mile-per-hour speed limits (hey, they’re there to protect the endangered Key Deer, a dog-sized species found only in the Keys). Don’t worry, you’ll quickly find yourself adjusting to the laid-back pace as you anchor your boat at some of the most beautiful protected reefs in the country, chow down on “garbage pizza,” and fillet your catch of the day.

Fly into: Miami International Airport and catch a connection to Key West International Airport. From there, you’ll need to rent a car and drive north on the only major road: US1, the Overseas Highway (there is no airport on Big Pine Key). If you’re trailering your boat into the island, you’ll take US1 south from Miami over the Overseas Highway.

Big Pine Key

Beat the heat with an early morning walk around the National Key Deer Refuge in Big Pine Key. Photo by Johnie Gall

Check into: Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge, which offers camping for $50 a night with multiple RV hookup sites. Seasonal residents probably scored all the best spots (look out for their fully decorated set-ups, some complete with Christmas lights and outdoor refrigerators), but here’s where you can hook up with multiple fishing charters or launch your own boat. Facilities are clean and basic: restrooms, hot showers, and a fully stocked camp store. You can also check into bed and breakfast joints like Deer Run or the Barnacle, or rent a room at Parmers Resort or the Dolphin Marina Cottages over in Little Torch Key.

Load up on bait: at Jig’s Bait & Tackle or Reef Light Tackle, modest but well-stocked bait shops that offer everything from rods to reels to live crab and frozen fish (don’t forget to get your fishing license!). Ice is a hot commodity and easily accessible at giant roadside icehouse dispensaries, where you can opt for 10- or 20-pound bags that slide right out and into your cooler.

Big Pine Key

Multiple species of rays and sharks can be found around the Keys. Photo by Johnie Gall

Catch a ride: with Under Seas, Inc., a scuba diving charter that can get you to some of the main reef attractions and offer a refresher course if you’re rusty. The park concession at Bahia Honda runs snorkel tours to the protected Looe Key reef, while Big Pine Key Boat Rentals can set you up with your own power boat, paddleboard, or kayak.

Grab a bite: at No Name Pub, an eatery as elusive as its name might suggest (their motto is “A nice place if you can find it.” Order the Killer Nacho platte and the Key Shrimp Pizza while you tack a dollar bill to the walls of the restaurant—it’s a tradition that’s left the former brothel covered in singles. Boondocks serves up nightly live music and some of the best conch fritters in town—be sure to order the Smoke House Burger before you leave the island.

Swim with the fishes: during a day trip out to some of the area’s protected coral reefs is a must-do if you’re staying in Big Pine Key—Looe Key is home to vibrant Elkhorn and Star coral, rays, sharks, fish, and dolphin (if you’re lucky, you may run into a turtle or cuttlefish).

Big Pine Key

The Cat Man is a Key West institution. Photo by Johnie Gall

Take a day trip: to the National Key Deer Refuge, 9,200 acres of freshwater wetlands, salt marshes, beaches, and mangrove forests. Walk the trail to spot alligators, Egrets, Ibis and the Key Deer, a dog-sized whitetail deer that’s only found in the Keys (don’t try to feed them—they are endangered and human contact should be limited).

Go ahead, be a tourist: at the Sunset Celebration, which takes place every night at Mallory Square Dock in Key West. Get there a few hours before sunset to take in street performers—we like Dr. Juice’s tumbling act or the eccentric cat circus run by Dominique the Cat Man. Stop by the home of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, and don’t leave without seeing the art at the Wyland Gallery.

Big Pine Key

Charter a sailboat, powerboat. or kayak to explore the waters off Big Pine Key

Do: Spend an afternoon docked at Bahia Honda, a well-maintained beach at mile marker 37 where you can swim, snorkel and grab some ice cream and a shower before taking a hike to the top of the defunct Bahia Honda Rail Bridge to soak up the sunset.

Don’t: Hit the Key Deer! There’s a sign on the Key that details how many deer have been hit so far in the year—don’t add to the total. It’s easier than you think thanks to overly friendly deer looking for a snack in the locals’ trash cans.

Similar stories on GrindTV

Hike steep Mt. Scott trail for best view of Oregon’s Crater Lake

Escape NYC with a hike on the Breakneck Ridge Trail

How to go car camping on the cheap

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Book a stay at Big Pine Key for laid-back ocean adventure appeared first on GrindTV.com.

GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


Floatplane pilot avoids collision with whale

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 02:44 PM PDT

Floatplane avoid collision with a surfacing whale (circled) in Angoon, Alaska. Photo is a screen grab from the video

Floatplane avoids collision with a surfacing whale (circled) in Angoon, Alaska. Photo is a screen grab from the video

A floatplane in Alaska was just about to make a water landing when a whale decided to come up for air directly in its path. Fortunately, the pilot saw the surfacing whale in the nick of time, pulled up on the throttle, and delayed his landing by a few seconds to avoid a collision.

According to Alaska Dispatch on Tuesday, the incident occurred last week in Angoon, Alaska, while Thomas Hamm of San Diego was waiting for the plane to take him back to Juneau. In what he called “just a lucky shot,” this is what Hamm videotaped (mute to avoid one expletive near end):

Angoon is located on Admiralty Island, located about 55 miles southwest of Juneau. The only access is by floatplane or boat.

Hamm had been in Angoon on business, and it was his third trip to Alaska.

“Going up there is like going to another world for me,” he told Alaska Dispatch.

How true. There aren’t many places where a floatplane pilot is forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision with a surfacing whale.

More on GrindTV

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Stranded whale saved after ill-advised rescue attempt

Follow GrindTV on Google+

Follow David Strege on Facebook 

The post Floatplane pilot avoids collision with whale appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Kayakers paddle ashore with 7-foot bluefin tuna

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 11:32 AM PDT

Bluefin

Five students pose with bluefin tuna; photo by Claire Wallerstein

Five British college students out for a weekend kayaking adventure did not intend to do any fishing, but their plan changed with they encountered a 7-foot-long bluefin tuna floating on the surface 300 yards off Cornwall.

The women, from Oxford Brookes University, towed their unusual catch to shore and turned it over to researchers, who are mystified as to what might have caused the tuna’s death.

Atlantic bluefin, which often sell for astronomical sums to sashimi buyers, are endangered. Catching them is legal only under strict guidelines, so the women will not be cashing in on their remarkable discovery.

bft.jpeg

Kayak makes for perfect bluefin tuna cart; photo by Claire Wallerstein

But the bizarre catch, and a fish story they will never forget, is generating headlines.

Claire Wallerstein, a marine mammal stranding coordinator for the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, told BBC News that she was informed of the catch as the women were landing on the beach.

“Someone came to my house to tell me there was a dead dolphin on the beach,” she said. “[The kayakers] were coming out of the sea with this huge monster, but then I could see that it was a tuna.”

The tuna was delivered Monday to the University of Exeter’s Cornwall campus, where pathology tests were to be conducted.

“The specimen will be used for educational purposes as it will be of great interest to students about the biology of these inspiring fish,” said Dr. Matthew Witt, of the school’s Environment and Sustainability Institute.

The discovery was made by Sarah Little, Charlotte Chambers, Shauna Creamer, Hannah Ford and Laura Pickervance.

Little, 22, told Kent Online that the group thought the 300-pound tuna was a shark when it was first spotted, and approached it cautiously.

“We were saying, ‘No, you go look at it,’ because we thought it might have been a shark,” Little recalled. “Charlotte and Laura jumped out of their boat and started trying to move it with their paddle, but realized it was dead.”

Once ashore, the tuna was too heavy for the women to haul onto the beach, but they received help from a gathering crowd. (Atlantic bluefin average about 550 pounds, but much larger specimens are not uncommon.)

“Even the guys couldn’t pull it out of the sea, so we took our kayak back into the water and tried to push it under the fish,” Little said.

The kayak turned out to be a perfect tuna cart, and the catch eventually was hauled away.

Kent Online reports that a smaller bluefin tuna was illegally sold last year for more than $700,000, and that a 489-pound bluefin was sold in Japan for more than $1 million.

While it would have been nice if the students could have cashed in on their prize, Little acknowledged, selling the tuna did not enter their minds.

“Money never had is money never lost,” she said. “We’ve walked away with a fantastic story. I’ll be placing the pictures of the day on my wall. It’s been incredible.”

More on GrindTV

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Stranded whale saved after ill-advised rescue attempt

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Kayakers paddle ashore with 7-foot bluefin tuna appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Whale shark appears ready to swallow a boat

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 11:16 AM PDT

Whale shark appears ready to swallow a boat full of fisherman. Photo by Adriana Basques/Caters News Agency

Whale shark appears ready to swallow a boat full of fisherman. Photo by Adriana Basques/Caters News Agency

A photographer captured the moment a whale shark appeared to have its mouth open ready to devour a boat full of fishermen, an amazing image that is up for the People’s Choice Award in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest by the Natural History Museum in London.

In reality, the photo is an optical illusion created by Brazilian underwater photographer Adriana Basques being in the right place at the right time while diving in Cenderawasih Bay in West Papua, Indonesia.

Basques, 45, waited patiently for the feeding whale shark to approach him before taking the stunning photo, according to Caters News Agency.

“At the moment I took the shot, the whale shark was actually touching the dome port of my camera,” Basques told Caters. “But I was never in danger. Although the colossal mouth is big enough to fit a person inside, they are filter feeders and that would never happen.”

Basques said the young male whale shark was about 26-feet long with a mouth more than 4-feet wide.

“It might look scary when you see one with a huge open mouth coming in your direction,” Basques told Caters. “But they usually have a very good sense of space and will turn before they get too close, although this is not what happened with the particular one in this image.”

And because it didn’t happen, Basques got what could end up being an award-winning photo.

Follow David Strege on Facebook 

More on GrindTV

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Stranded whale saved after ill-advised rescue attempt

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Whale shark appears ready to swallow a boat appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Hikers find waterfall heaven on Ricketts Glen trail

Posted: 15 Jul 2014 05:00 AM PDT

Ricketts Glen trail

Ricketts Glen trail; photo by Johnie Gall

You may not spot a ghost in Pennsylvania’s Ricketts Glen State Park—legend has it that during the lumber boom days, a boy was cutting down a tree when it fell and killed him; a sapling grew from the ground where he died and has never produced a single leaf to this day, and people report hearing voices in the wind all over the park—but it’s guaranteed you’ll see some of the most incredible waterfalls on the East Coast. The hike’s nothing to get spooked about either—the 7-mile loop is accessible to any level of hiker during the summer.

What: Ricketts Glen is named after U.S. Army Colonel Robert Bruce Ricketts, who owned 80,000 acres of land in Pennsylvania in the mid-1800s (he eventually led Battery F in the Battle of Gettysburg). Later, his heirs sold 48,000 acres to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and in 1930 the area was approved as a national park. Then World War II came along and plans fell through, but eventually the park was turned over to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a state park area. That park is now a beautiful destination for hikers interested in old growth timber forest, abundant wildlife, turquoise pools, and more than 20 waterfalls reaching as high as 94 feet.

Ricketts Glen

Ricketts Glen; photo by Johnie Gall

Where: There are a few different parking lots, but plug this into your GPS to get there: 695 S. R. 487, Benton, PA 17814.

Ricketts Glen

Ricketts Glen; photo by Johnie Gall

The stats: Leashed dogs allowed. No entrance fee. Camping is available. Elevation gain for Fall Trail loop: 1,000 feet.

How to get there: Hike the trail from Route 118, which you’ll take from Dallas until you spot signs for the park. The first entrance is to your right, where you’ll find a paved parking lot with primitive bathrooms and park information. Park a little farther down the street on the left for a picnic area.

Ricketts Glen

Ricketts Glen

What to do: Take Fall Trail toward the waterfalls—there are clearly marked signs at each intersection on the trail. Snap a picture of the wooden trail map toward the beginning of your hike—you’ll encounter quite a few waterfalls along the walk, where there will probably be a gathering of people taking pictures. There are some steep areas and a few bridges, and be cautious in areas where the ground is wet. This is an incredible winter hike as there are massive ice formations, but it’s also extremely dangerous and only experienced hikers and ice climbers are allowed in the park.

Ricketts Glen

Ricketts Glen; photo by Johnie Gall

What to bring: Light hiking boots, water, and a camera. During colder months, all hikers must be equipped with crampons and other gear. Check with the park offices to get details on requirements.

Ricketts Glen

Ricketts Glen; photo by Johnie Gall

Do: Hike early and bring a tripod if you own a DSLR camera. Low light conditions and steady flowing waterfalls will make for amazing, milky water photos if you set a slow shutter speed.

Don’t: Visit the park during a holiday or busy weekend if you can help it. Slow hikers, children, and dogs clog up narrow walkways and some pretty long lines start forming at bottlenecks. Plus, you’ll probably be pissed if you catch a noob carving his name into the rocks.

Follow Johnie on Twitter.

Similar stories on GrindTV

Hike steep Mt. Scott trail for best view of Oregon’s Crater Lake

Escape NYC with a hike on the Breakneck Ridge Trail

How to go car camping on the cheap

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Hikers find waterfall heaven on Ricketts Glen trail appeared first on GrindTV.com.

GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


Double whale breach is ultimate photobomb

Posted: 14 Jul 2014 12:03 PM PDT

Double whale breach

Woman smiles for the camera just as double whale breach occurs; video screen grab

The humpback whale double breach, with two mammals leaping out of the water simultaneously, is a spectacle few people have seen.

Even fewer have videotaped or photographed the double whale breach, and only one person we know of has captured this dramatic event in what seems to be the ultimate photobombing moment.

That person is Sue Bailey, who was whale watching with Holly Lake on Saturday off Newfoundland.

They had seen a few whales, but the magical moment did not occur until Bailey turned the video camera to her friend and said her name, so Lake would face the camera.

“Hello,” Lake says, just as two humpback whales launch themselves simultaneously, generating an enthusiastic eruption from other passengers.

In a VOCM audio clip, Bailey explained that Lake had missed all but the splash of the breaching whales.

In the Canadian Press news clip posted above, Joe O’Brien, of O’Brien’s Whale and Bird Tours, describes the event as “one of the greatest moments of whale watching in our lives.”

“We just had a double breach where a lot of people got to see it happen and no one thought it could happen,” O’Brien continues. “I can’t tell you how happy I am. I’m doing this all my life. It has been 30 years and … I’ve never seen a double breach. I heard tell of a double breach, but I’ve never actually seen one. But today I saw a double breach.”

hbwhales

Last month, Kate Cummings of Blue Ocean Whale Watch in Monterey, California, captured the event with a still camera (pictured above).

“One of these two whales had swum over to our boat 15 minutes earlier and breached right off the bow, then it swam off and met up with another whale and both swam over to the boat together and then dove down” Cummings recalled. “Thirty seconds later they were both flying out of the water. I’m happy to know I can scream and take a photo at the same time!”

–Find Pete Thomas on Facebook and Twitter

More on GrindTV

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Stranded whale saved after ill-advised rescue attempt

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Double whale breach is ultimate photobomb appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Angler, 76, lands enormous halibut in Alaska

Posted: 14 Jul 2014 10:26 AM PDT

Angler, 76, lands enormous halibut in Alaska

Angler, 76, lands enormous halibut in Alaska

A Southern California angler visiting Alaska has caught one of the largest halibut ever pulled from state waters, and could be in the running for a world record were it not for the manner by which the enormous fish was subdued.

Jack McGuire, 76, who is from Santa Ana, hauled up a “barn-door” halibut weighing 482 pounds while fishing last week with three friends out of the remote port of Gustavus, near the mouth of Glacier Bay.

The International Game Fish Assn. lists a 459-pound halibut, caught out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska, in 1996, as the world record.

McGuire’s catch will not be considered for a record because it was shot and harpooned—grounds for disqualification—before being hauled on to the 28-foot charter boat, Icy Rose.

However, that method of dispatch is deemed safest among veteran Alaska captains when trying to subdue giant halibut, which are powerful and dangerous if hauled onto the boat with just a gaff, or series of gaffs, leaving them too lively.

Halibut flopping violently on decks have been known to inflict serious damage to vessels and their equipment. They’ve also injured a fair number of crew members.

McGuire’s catch is among a small number to have exceeded IGFA record size, but the Alaska Dispatch reports that it “appears to be the largest halibut caught in the Pacific Ocean in at least a decade.”

A halibut estimated to weigh 466 pounds (the scale was not big enough to get an official weight) was caught off Gustavus in 2011. (“Barn door” is a term used to describe halibut weighing 300 pounds or more.)

The largest known Alaskan halibut, caught by an angler, weighed 495 pounds.

McGuire said he knew he had hooked a large fish, but had no idea how large until Captain Rye Phillips saw it rising from below.

McGuire told the Orange County Register that Phillips exclaimed: “Oh my god. This is a monster!”

McGuire supported Phillips’ decision to shoot the fish—“I wasn’t planning to catch a world record,” he said—so it could not hurt anyone aboard the relatively small charter boat.

However, Andy Martin, who is Phillips’ boss, told the Alaska Dispatch: “I think if [Phillips] had known how big it was, he wouldn’t have shot it.”

The 95-inch halibut yielded 200 pounds of meat, which was divided evenly among McGuire and his three friends.

McGuire said the catch was a perfect capper for what is likely his last big fishing trip to Alaska.

“To be honest, I had made up my mind that it was my last trip to Alaska anyways, so I can go out with flair,” he said. “What do I do now, go out and catch one bigger?”

More fishing stories on GrindTV

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Giant sturgeon a prized catch for Father’s Day

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Angler, 76, lands enormous halibut in Alaska appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Elephant abuse is widespread in Asia

Posted: 14 Jul 2014 10:08 AM PDT

Raju snacks on fresh greens after his recent rescue from 50 years of cruelty. Elephant abuse is rampant in Asia. Photo is from Wildlife S.O.S.'s Facebook page

Raju snacks on fresh greens after his recent rescue from 50 years of cruelty. Elephant abuse is rampant in Asia. Photo is from Wildlife S.O.S. Facebook page

Raju, the abused elephant that cried when he was rescued by New Delhi-based Wildlife S.O.S. after enduring 50 years of cruelty, understandably touched a nerve with those who read his story.

Angry readers were incensed over the elephant abuse and many wanted to know if the abusive owner would be charged and punished.

So we set out to find an answer, and received a heavy dose of reality.

Sadly, Raju’s case was not a lone incident but part of an epidemic of elephant abuse by uncaring owners who are simply seeking to make money.

Moti Prasad Kha, chained, starved and beaten for 50 years, shed similar streak of tears as Raju when it was recently released into a chain-free corral. Photo from Elephant Aid International

Moti Prasad Kha, chained, starved and beaten for 50 years, shed similar streak of tears as Raju when it was recently released into a chain-free corral. Photo from Elephant Aid International

Raju’s case is just the tip of the iceberg in India, and the news gets worse. Similar abuse is occurring in Nepal and several other Asian countries. Clearly elephant poaching in Africa for the ivory trade isn’t the only problem elephants face worldwide.

“Yes, Raju is the tip of the iceberg,” Nikki Sharp, the executive director for Wildlife S.O.S. in the U.S., told GrindTV Outdoor in an email. “I do not have the numbers to prove this fact, but from those I have spoken with, it is estimated that up to 2,000 elephants in India live similarly to Raju. They are chained, beaten and neglected. Most will die in chains. Raju is one of the lucky ones who was rescued and enabled to experience some freedom.

“Again, without the numbers to prove it because nobody has done a full census, I would not be surprised if there are more elephants living in chains in India than the rest of Asia combined. It is a problem that exists throughout Asia, including Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Burma and others.”

Carol Buckley, founder of Elephant Aid International focused on Nepal, told GrindTV Outdoor that Sharp’s numbers are underestimated.

“I know of only a handful of elephants not living a similar life to Raju in India, Thailand and Nepal,” Buckley said. “In the tiny country of Nepal, hundreds of elephants are enslaved for the entertainment industry. Legs shackled together, pegged to the ground for decades.

“Elephants suffer from heat exhaustion, overwork, malnutrition and beatings. Nearly every captive-held elephant in Nepal suffers from daily abuse and festering wounds.”

Raju shed tears when it realized it was being rescued. Elephant abuse is common in India. Photo from Wildlife S.O.S.'s Facebook page

Raju shed tears when it realized it was being rescued. Elephant abuse is common in India. Photo from Wildlife S.O.S. Facebook page

So why don’t the governments do something about elephant abuse and charge cruel owners? It’s complicated, Sharp told GrindTV Outdoor.

“It is a combination of people not knowing what the laws are to intervene, corruption, and being unsure of what to do with an elephant if they move forward to confiscate him,” she said. “We have the only chain-free elephant rescue center and we are limited in what we can take in due to financial restraints. It is a combination of these three that create a situation where the government looks away and justice for the elephants rarely come.”

Buckley said the practice of elephant abuse is so widespread that authorities would have to change an entire industry to stop the suffering.

“People who own elephants are many times the most powerful people in the community,” Buckley said. “They enslave the elephants and the mahouts [elephant keepers]. It is insidious and preventable. We still see the same treatment of circus elephants in the U.S.

“Money appears to be the motivator.”

Raju enjoys a recent shower. Photo from Wildlife S.O.S. Facebook page

Raju enjoys a recent shower. Photo from Wildlife S.O.S. Facebook page

The problem is, Sharp added, that there is a high demand for elephants for all sorts of different purposes including ceremonial, the tourist industry, living in temples, circuses, and begging.

“Although many people see elephants as gods in India, it does not save them from the wrath of being chained and beaten and living a very lonely life,” Sharp said.

what to do with chain

Wildlife S.O.S. wants suggestions on what to do with the spiked chain that was used on Raju. Photo from Wildlife S.O.S. Facebook page

Thankfully there is a bit of good news to report. Elephant Aid International completed Phase 1 of its Chain Free Means Pain Free Project to free 63 working elephants from chains in Nepal, meaning in four months, 30 elephants which had been shackled for decades were released to wander freely in their personal jungle.

Both Sharp and Buckley are hopeful that the story of Raju’s rescue by Wildlife S.O.S. will raise awareness of elephant abuse and spark a worldwide movement to solve the issue.

In the meantime, we’re happy to report that Raju is receiving plenty of love and medical treatment at Wildlife S.O.S.’s Elephant Center in Mathura, India. Raju has even found a new friend, Phookali.

On a serious note, Wildlife S.O.S asked on Facebook for suggestions on what do to with the spiked chain that held Raju for 50 years. Donate it to a museum? Use it to raise money for the care of its elephants? Other suggestions?

Della Calise-Worley wrote what is no doubt the sentiment of most: “Put it around Raju’s ex-owner’s neck.”

NOTE: To help with Raju’s care, Wildlife S.O.S. is asking for a $10 monthly pledge. Those interested can go online or use a smartphone and text “raju” to 41444. Visit the website of Elephant Aid International to help further.

Follow David Strege on Facebook 

Other popular stories on GrindTV

Blue whale capsizes small boat off San Diego

Tornado becomes ‘lifetime moment’ in wedding photos

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Elephant abuse is widespread in Asia appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Escape NYC with a hike on the Breakneck Ridge Trail

Posted: 14 Jul 2014 05:00 AM PDT

One of many vistas on the Breakneck Ridge Trail, looking out toward Storm King Mountain; photo by Kade Krichko

One of many vistas on the Breakneck Ridge Trail, looking out toward Storm King Mountain; photo by Kade Krichko

Whether it’s intelligence or just general hassle avoidance, many city dwellers are deciding to ditch their cars in exchange for more economical options. Unfortunately, without a personal vehicle, escaping metropolis can be difficult. But just because you work in the city doesn’t mean your idea of wilderness has to be limited to the concrete jungle. Fear not urbanites, GrindTV is putting together a list just for you of the best outdoor activities accessible via the cheap, easy, and convenient resources of public transportation. Consider your problem solved.

First up on our list is New York City. The largest metropolis in the U.S., the Big Apple is situated along the beautiful Hudson River and is not far from premier hiking zones like the Breakneck Ridge Trail. Hop the Metro-North Hudson Line to Cold Springs Station and walk along 9D North to the Breakneck Ridge trailhead (marked in white) and enjoy a 3-mile loop that rises high above the Hudson River with sweeping panoramic views of the East Highlands. Surrounded by steep rock ledges, beautiful foliage, and picturesque views, it’s hard to believe that the hike is just an hour from the city, and a cheap train ride away.

Breakneck Ridge Trail

Between steep hikes and amazing views, there isn’t much time to catch your breath on the Breakneck Ridge Trail; photo by Kade Krichko

What: Breakneck Ridge Trail is part of Hudson Highlands State Park near Cold Springs, New York. The trail is considered the steepest hike in the area with several scrambles and rocky terrain. Despite the difficulty of the hike, there are several stunning views of the Hudson and the rest of the river valley. Follow the white trail markers on the way up, then take a left at the red trailhead back toward 9D before linking up with the Wilkinson Memorial Trail (marked in yellow). The loop drops you back on 9D.

The stats: 1,600 foot vertical gain over a 2.8-mile loop. This hike is steep, but has multiple payoffs in the form of views.

Public transportation route: From Grand Central Station jump on the Metro-North Hudson Line and get off at the Cold Springs Station (or the Breakneck Station on weekends).

Travel time: About 60 minutes

When: Fall is prime hiking along the East Coast—not too hot, relatively sunny, and the beauty of changing scenery.

Do: Grab a trail map. Knowing what colors to follow is helpful, but when the trail turns into a scramble, having a little extra direction helps. Also, there are lots of unmarked side trails that lead to cliffs, so a little extra reference goes a long way.

Don’t: Go after it rains. This isn’t the advice of an overly conservative ninny, this is the real deal. Much of the hike is up steep rock drainage, making it nearly impossible when water is coming down it. Also, though not of super high consequence, the hike is flanked by sheer rock faces, making an uncontrolled slide a very serious problem.

Similar stories on GrindTV

Hike steep Mt. Scott trail for best view of Oregon’s Crater Lake

An adventure car to die for

How to go car camping on the cheap

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Escape NYC with a hike on the Breakneck Ridge Trail appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Rapid Response with Eric and Dane Jackson

Posted: 14 Jul 2014 04:00 AM PDT

Dane Jackson

Like father, like son: Eric Jackson, right, has passed on his love of the water—and so much more—to his son Dane, left. Photo courtesy Jackson Kayaks

Outside of surfing, where the clan mentality is alive, well, and continues to produce athletic lineages of magnificent longevity, the “family affair” style of sport—where parents excel in their chosen pursuit, then pass down exceptional genetics, guidance, and motivation to their offspring, who in turn take the next generation to the next level—can be difficult to uncover. Not so in kayaking, where father/son pair Eric and Dane Jackson train together, travel and compete together, support one another, and ultimately strengthen each other’s abilities and spirit.

Father Eric “EJ” Jackson is a freestyle whitewater kayaking pioneer and innovator whose 25-year career has seen him earn four world championship titles atop a slew of other accolades. His accomplishments landed him in the International Whitewater Hall of Fame in 2009, and his company, Jackson Kayak, is considered a leader in the production of watercraft at the professional and recreational levels. His son, Dane, has followed directly in his footsteps; at age 11 he both set the record for youngest person ever to kayak the Nile and Zambezi Rivers and became the youngest person ever to make the U.S. National Freestyle Kayak Team. Dane’s skills are among the toughest to best in competition, as evidenced by his three-peat championship title in the prestigious invitation-only International Whitewater Grand Prix each year since the event’s inception in 2012.

Also part of the family character sketch? Humility and a healthy dose of laughter. We sat down with father and son at the 2014 GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado, last month (where Dane took first in the Freestyle Kayak event, second in the Steep Creek Championship, and third in the Downriver Sprint and 8 Ball Kayak Sprint) to pick their brains and see just how far their similarities extend.

Dane Jackson's tough to beat when it comes to freestyle kayaking—no surprise, given his early start and family support. Photo by Sean Custer/GoPro

Dane Jackson’s tough to beat when it comes to freestyle kayaking—no surprise, given his early start and family support. Photo by Sean Custer/GoPro

From the time you wake up in the morning to the time you go to bed at night, what’s your perfect day?
EJ: What’s my perfect day? Well, it always starts off being with the family. Usually it involves some kind of fun activities, obviously…the biggest thing for me is variety, doing different things. So that’s why we live in an RV; we travel around in a motor home with the family and we go to different places. It usually involves kayaking of some sort. It doesn’t have to be training or competing; it could be just running a river, could be fishing. So many different ways to experience it, but for the most part, travel around with family.

So we get up in the morning and we usually have coffee and breakfast, figure out what we’re doing that day. Sometimes it’s kind of pre-described—like here [in Vail] you get up and get your boats and get to the put-in for the race and then get ready for semifinals or whatever—but…we’re all on the same bandwagon. So we’re not doing different jobs, different sports; we all work in a business together [Jackson Kayas], kayak together, stuff like that. So for me, as long as we’re doing that, that’s perfect for me.

Dane: Pretty similar. I mean, anytime we get to hang out with the family, wake up, be able to go kayaking somewhere incredible each day, is a perfect day. So it’s all about just making each day [perfect by] living it to the fullest and just [having] fun no matter what.

Who’s in your personal Hall of Fame? Anybody in the whole world.
EJ: Good question. I have so many Hall of Famers in different categories. From a teaching perspective, you know, my dad for sure is a good example for me, and taught me a lot of great things—my mom, too. She died when I was 18, but she definitely helped to develop my personality a lot. Definitely the kids, both of them [are] amazing. My wife is like the ultimate “holds things together,” and outside of the family, Denis Waitley… A lot of people talk and say it’s “oh, whatever, pop psychology,” [but it] definitely helped me think. It’s what made me not follow normal society, and I quit college to be a kayaker, which was the best decision I ever made. Had I not listened to his tapes when I was 18, I would be an engineer with a job and not realize that there was a bigger world out there.

Dane: I mean, obviously my dad—same thing. He kind of took what he learned from his dad and really the way they both kind of look at life differently than everyone else, it really allows us to come up with a really unique and really lucky lifestyle, so I’m very happy. Yeah—just him.

What are you reading right now? Anything interesting?
EJ: Reading?

Dane: [To EJ] Please don’t answer that question.

EJ: “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” and “Hop on Pop.” Those are the only ones I’m reading; I’m reading to my 5-year-old sometimes. Otherwise I really don’t read, I just write…my blogs and whatever. I think reading’s great, but it’s not for me. I’d rather write…. If I do read, it’s usually “Good to Great,” “Great by Choice”—business books, stuff like that. Something where [what] I can learn, I can apply directly…. I feel like I want to apply something directly…to my real-life situation.

I actually never did a book report in school…it was kind of bad. Every book report I did, I made up the author, the title, and made it a really, really, really old book, and told the teachers I wasn’t allowed to take it out of the house because it was an antique. I did really good on my book reports, but I never actually read a book.

Dane: I’ve probably read, like, five books in my life. I tried a little bit when I was younger, because my mom used to read so many books that they tried to get me into it when I was younger, but I just don’t like the idea of just sitting down and just reading words for three hours when you could… I mean, I’m more of a visual guy, obviously, but also that could be time spent kayaking, or meeting new people, or learning new tricks in the water. I’m more of a “get out there and do stuff” [person] and not willing to sit around and read.

EJ: He makes videos…. He’s always studying something, but it’s not usually in the written word.

What are you listening to write now? What kind of music?
Dane: Man, I get asked what kind of music I listen to so much, but for some reason I can never really come up with a good answer. Basically, I have every type of music you can imagine. Basically anything that gets me fired up—like, I go through a lot of songs, anything that sounds good. A lot of people stick with certain bands, and I just kind of [have] a lot of craziness on my iPod.

What about you, EJ? What do you like to listen to?
EJ: Usually ’80s rock. You know, Metallica, Guns ‘n’ Roses, big Zeppelin fan, Aerosmith—you know, stuff like that, but I listen to a lot of them. I listen to other stuff, too; I like to listen to the Top 40 radio station sometimes, especially when my wife’s in the car with me.

Dane: Mom [is] very much new school, but dad is still sticking with the old school.

Keeping it alive, that’s good.
EJ: It’s just easier, yeah.

What are your words that you live by, your motto for life?
EJ: Live well, for yourself, so you can give yourself away to others.

Dane: No matter where you are, you just make it where you want to be. If it’s somewhere incredible, or even if it’s at home, just live each day to the fullest.

So if you got a chance to throw a party and you could invite anyone, alive or dead, to your party, who would you invite?
EJ: What kind of party?

Whatever kind of party you want it to be.
EJ: It just depends. I guess there’s different kinds of parties, so…

Let’s call it a dinner party. Who are you going to invite to a dinner party?
EJ: A dinner party, that’s easier. Obviously, I’d invite my family, and then probably some mentors, business icons, people I follow or whatever, like Yvon Chouinard, Richard Branson, Ted Turner—people like that. Then I’d have a lot of my kayak friends, probably, but if it was a dinner party, yeah, it would probably be people that have done cool things in business…or anything [that] really would change the world—not necessarily popular, but have done things that I would aspire to do. So people I could learn from, and then make sure my family’s there too, because it would make it fun.

What about you, Dane? Who would you invite to your private dinner party, alive or dead?
Dane: Similar idea as my dad, but for me it would be more like…invite, obviously, my family, but bring athletes in different sports, or the same sport—kayak friends, people that…whenever we get together [we] just come up with crazy ideas, information for different videos, projects, places to go, just stuff like that. If you get a bunch of people together and you can think of cool ideas, that means that they’re going to be pushing the sport; therefore, those are the kind of people you want to be hanging out with, you know?

Do you have any regrets?
EJ: No.

Nothing?
EJ: That’s for the people that are somewhere they don’t want to be. I have a concept that could be called…I call it “life without compromise.” Could be “life without regrets,” or “life without limits,” or something like that, but it’s a decision-making protocol where you’d set your priorities. Mine’s wife, kids, paddling, business, in that order, and then you just…when you get up in the morning, all your decisions are based on [that] from [the] top down. So a lot of the things where the regrets would have happened—[had I] decided to not follow the priority list and put business first, and then stopped kayaking and became full-time business guy, and I went, “Oh, man, well, business is good, but I’ve been doing it for 10 years. I really wish I’d stayed in shape and still competed”— that would be regrets. We don’t do that. Most people think we don’t take our responsibilities seriously enough, but it’s really the other way around. We just put all our eggs in one basket, and if we want to do it, and it’s important to us, and it’s not on a whim that we do it, we cannot have regrets.


That’s a great philosophy. Last question: Tell me your most embarrassing moment.

EJ: My wife would say I don’t get embarrassed. Dane would get embarrassed for me a lot, but I don’t get embarrassed particularly.… I’ve done stupid things; like, I wasn’t embarrassed, but maybe that’s what people would call it. I was late for the start of the Olympics in ’92; there was a point where…I almost didn’t get to race. I was paddling around the corner after doing, like, a three-minute sprint to get there, and I actually had to slow down after I crossed the electric light beam to catch my breath during my race, and I wasn’t embarrassed; I was just kind of bummed, you know? I guess most people might be embarrassed, but the TV crews all put their cameras down and [were] like, “Where is he?” and [I was] like, “I’m right here,” so it was kind of stupid.

Wow. You’ve got to have one too, Dane.
Dane: Too many to name, but the thing is, for some reason I have a lot of [embarrassing] moments; that’s the problem. and all my moments are remembered by everyone. Everyone else can have an embarrassing moment [and the memory of it is] gone, but me, they stick around forever. But I can’t even think of, like, one popular one. I don’t know, but I’m sure my dad can be more— [To EJ] Not that one! I know the one you’re thinking….

More from GrindTV

Rapid Response with Sierra Blair-Coyle

Rapid Response with Courtney Conlogue

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Rapid Response with Eric and Dane Jackson appeared first on GrindTV.com.

GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


6 whales, dolphins to watch for off California

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 08:48 AM PDT

Curly

Curley the blue whale; photo by ©Shane Keena

California’s summer whale-watching season has begun, and many are on lookout for gargantuan blue whales; about 2,000 of the majestic cetaceans spend parts of summer and fall gorging on krill. Not to be overlooked, however, are numerous smaller whales and dolphins. But among these thousands upon thousands of large mammals, only a small number truly stand out, so we’ve compiled a list of what locals and tourists might watch out for during their next ocean odyssey.

6 whales, dolphins to watch for off California:

Curly (blue whale; pictured above)

A possible newcomer to the group of affectionately-named whales, spotted last week by members of an Earthwatch charter off Dana Point, and photographed by Shane Keena. It didn’t take long to come up with the name, based on the curled right portion of tail fluke. At first thought to be Delta (see below), but Curly’s upturned fluke is definitely distinct.

watermarked4

Delta the blue whale; photo by ©Frank Brennan/Dana Wharf Whale Watching

Delta (blue whale; pictured above)

Another mammal made famous by the shape of its tail fluke, the ends of which are turned upward like winglets on an airplane wing. First known sighting was 1987 in the Gulf of the Farallones west of San Francisco. Early on, most sightings were off northern Central California, but in recent years Delta has favored Southern California waters. Click for video.

Hook

Hook the blue whale; photo by Alan Gibby/Zone57

Hook (blue whale, pictured above)

The peculiar shape of this mammal’s tail fluke, most likely the result of a birth defect or an orca bite early in life, has inspired many nicknames. But “Hook” is the name that stuck, and when Hook is sighted news spreads rapidly via social media. Last summer, when Hook remained off the Los Angeles area for several days, one whale-watching business was ferrying media out for a look. Hook loves to raise its tail fluke high into the air before deep-water dives, and that could be because the mammal needs the extra body push downward to make up for the lack of power in its fluke. Spotted from San Diego to Monterey. Click for video.

5 whales, dolphins you might see off California

Patches the offshore bottlenose dolphin; photo by ©Melissa Galieti

Patches (offshore bottlenose dolphin; pictured above)

Name needs no explanation. Easy to spot among its gray pod members. Coloration ranges from various shades of gray, to pink and white. Spotted sporadically beginning in 2006, mostly off Southern California. Often seen with 50 to 100 ordinary bottlenose dolphins. Typically boat friendly. Spotted last week off the Los Angeles area. Click for video.

Chopfin

Chopfin the killer whale; photo via Eagle Eye Adventures

Chopfin (killer whale; pictured above)

Easy to discern because of its square and tattered dorsal fin, which was damaged several years ago, most likely, as a result of a net entanglement, and later shredded, most likely, by a boat propeller. Researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger calls him the poster boy for human interaction involving fishing gear and boat propellers. “But it doesn’t handicap him,” the researcher said. Has twice been spotted as far north as British Columbia, Canada, most recently on July 7 off Vancouver Island.

5 whales, dolphins you might see off California

Kinko the blue whale; photo by Frank Brennan/Dana Wharf Whale Watching

Kinko (blue whale, pictured above)

A large female named because of a distinct kink on the left side of her fluke. Also boasts distinct markings on her back, but easiest identification is when she reveals her fluke during deep dives in search of krill. Kinko is a mom; she was spotted in 2011 with a calf. Another crowd favorite. Spotted last week off Dana Point. Donna Kalez, general manager of Dana Wharf Whale Watching, said Kinko loves to fluke off the Dana Point headland. Click here for video.

Similar stories on GrindTV

Iconic orca reveals what might be a baby bump

Synchronized whale breach: shot of a lifetime

Rare pilot whale showing off SoCal

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post 6 whales, dolphins to watch for off California appeared first on GrindTV.com.

GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


Young Risso’s dolphin should be named Lucky

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 06:55 PM PDT

Rissos1

Risso’s dolphin photographed in April by ©Kate Cummings/Blue Ocean Whale Watch

A juvenile Risso’s dolphin photographed Thursday in Monterey Bay, California, appears to be one extremely lucky mammal.

Everett Robinson, a naturalist for Monterey Bay Whale Watch, was not aware of what look like multiple teeth marks on the dolphin, until he downloaded his images.

The image was shared on Facebook, sparking a debate about what type of predator might have tried making a meal out of the Risso’s dolphin, and where and when the attack might have occurred.

Risso's3

Risso’s dolphin photographed Thursday by ©Everett Robinson/Monterey Bay Whale Watch

Great white shark and killer whale were the obvious top choices, although false killer whale and pilot whale were also named as possible culprits. A few suggested the wounds were caused by a boat propeller, but that would not explain the nearly symmetrical marks on both sides of the dolphin.

After seeing Robinson’s images, Kate Cummings, owner and naturalist for Blue Ocean Whale Watch, shared her images of the same Risso’s dolphin, captured in April.

That implies, at least, that the attack occurred in or near Monterey Bay. The scars are completely healed, which suggests that the dolphin was only a baby when it nearly became lunch. (Risso’s dolphins measure about 4 feet long at birth.)

risso's

Risso’s dolphin photographed in April by ©Kate Cummings/Blue Ocean Whale Watch

Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a killer whale researcher, said that the long rake marks on both sides of the dolphin are most likely from a killer whale, even though the spacing seems rather wide for killer whale teeth.

“They’re widely spaced, but this animal is growing, and the scars might have stretched,” Schulman-Janiger said, adding that transient killer whales are known to prey on Risso’s dolphins and other types of dolphin. “The scars grow with the dolphin, so the actual size of these teeth were likely somewhat smaller than the scars indicate.”

On the Monterey Bay Whale Watch Facebook page, researcher Josh McInnes countered: “Those are super long rake marks. Almost looks too numerous to be orca. I have some shots of Pacific white-sided dolphins with transient rake marks. Very different.”

Adult great white sharks also feed on marine mammals, mostly seals and sea lions, and some thought the separated teeth marks could possibly have been the result of a shark bite.

However, George H. Burgess, a renowned shark expert from Florida, ruled out a shark bite after looking at images emailed to him by GrindTv. Burgess said shark teeth would have penetrated the dolphin’s flesh and left crescent-shaped scarring.

“Those aren’t shark, so they almost certainly are from a killer whale,” Burgess wrote. “One lucky Flipper!”

Said Schulman-Janiger: “Either way, this dolphin is very lucky to have gotten away. The bite mark implies that the whole animal was in the predator’s mouth, and now it appears to be thriving.”

Thriving, but most likely extremely wary in the vicinity of killer whales.

The post Young Risso’s dolphin should be named Lucky appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Rapid Response with Eric and Dane Jackson

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 05:19 PM PDT

Dane Jackson

Like father, like son: Eric Jackson, right, has passed on his love of the water—and so much more—to his son Dane, left. Photo courtesy Jackson Kayaks

Outside of surfing, where the clan mentality is alive, well, and continues to produce athletic lineages of magnificent longevity, the “family affair” style of sport—where parents excel in their chosen pursuit, then pass down exceptional genetics, guidance, and motivation to their offspring, who in turn take the next generation to the next level—can be difficult to uncover. Not so in kayaking, where father/son pair Eric and Dane Jackson train together, travel and compete together, support one another, and ultimately strengthen each other’s abilities and spirit.

Father Eric “EJ” Jackson is a freestyle whitewater kayaking pioneer and innovator whose 25-year career has seen him earn four world championship titles atop a slew of other accolades. His accomplishments landed him in the International Whitewater Hall of Fame in 2009, and his company, Jackson Kayak, is considered a leader in the production of watercraft at the professional and recreational levels. His son, Dane, has followed directly in his footsteps; at age 11 he both set the record for youngest person ever to kayak the Nile and Zambezi Rivers and became the youngest person ever to make the U.S. National Freestyle Kayak Team. Dane’s skills are among the toughest to best in competition, as evidenced by his three-peat championship title in the prestigious invitation-only International Whitewater Grand Prix each year since the event’s inception in 2012.

Also part of the family character sketch? Humility and a healthy dose of laughter. We sat down with father and son at the 2014 GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado, last month (where Dane took first in the Freestyle Kayak event, second in the Steep Creek Championship, and third in the Downriver Sprint and 8 Ball Kayak Sprint) to pick their brains and see just how far their similarities extend.

Dane Jackson's tough to beat when it comes to freestyle kayaking—no surprise, given his early start and family support. Photo by Sean Custer/GoPro

Dane Jackson’s tough to beat when it comes to freestyle kayaking—no surprise, given his early start and family support. Photo by Sean Custer/GoPro

From the time you wake up in the morning to the time you go to bed at night, what’s your perfect day?
EJ: What’s my perfect day? Well, it always starts off being with the family. Usually it involves some kind of fun activities, obviously…the biggest thing for me is variety, doing different things. So that’s why we live in an RV; we travel around in a motor home with the family and we go to different places. It usually involves kayaking of some sort. It doesn’t have to be training or competing; it could be just running a river, could be fishing. So many different ways to experience it, but for the most part, travel around with family.

So we get up in the morning and we usually have coffee and breakfast, figure out what we’re doing that day. Sometimes it’s kind of pre-described—like here [in Vail] you get up and get your boats and get to the put-in for the race and then get ready for semifinals or whatever—but…we’re all on the same bandwagon. So we’re not doing different jobs, different sports; we all work in a business together [Jackson Kayas], kayak together, stuff like that. So for me, as long as we’re doing that, that’s perfect for me.

Dane: Pretty similar. I mean, anytime we get to hang out with the family, wake up, be able to go kayaking somewhere incredible each day, is a perfect day. So it’s all about just making each day [perfect by] living it to the fullest and just [having] fun no matter what.

Who’s in your personal Hall of Fame? Anybody in the whole world.
EJ: Good question. I have so many Hall of Famers in different categories. From a teaching perspective, you know, my dad for sure is a good example for me, and taught me a lot of great things—my mom, too. She died when I was 18, but she definitely helped to develop my personality a lot. Definitely the kids, both of them [are] amazing. My wife is like the ultimate “holds things together,” and outside of the family, Denis Waitley… A lot of people talk and say it’s “oh, whatever, pop psychology,” [but it] definitely helped me think. It’s what made me not follow normal society, and I quit college to be a kayaker, which was the best decision I ever made. Had I not listened to his tapes when I was 18, I would be an engineer with a job and not realize that there was a bigger world out there.

Dane: I mean, obviously my dad—same thing. He kind of took what he learned from his dad and really the way they both kind of look at life differently than everyone else, it really allows us to come up with a really unique and really lucky lifestyle, so I’m very happy. Yeah—just him.

What are you reading right now? Anything interesting?
EJ: Reading?

Dane: [To EJ] Please don’t answer that question.

EJ: “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” and “Hop on Pop.” Those are the only ones I’m reading; I’m reading to my 5-year-old sometimes. Otherwise I really don’t read, I just write…my blogs and whatever. I think reading’s great, but it’s not for me. I’d rather write…. If I do read, it’s usually “Good to Great,” “Great by Choice”—business books, stuff like that. Something where [what] I can learn, I can apply directly…. I feel like I want to apply something directly…to my real-life situation.

I actually never did a book report in school…it was kind of bad. Every book report I did, I made up the author, the title, and made it a really, really, really old book, and told the teachers I wasn’t allowed to take it out of the house because it was an antique. I did really good on my book reports, but I never actually read a book.

Dane: I’ve probably read, like, five books in my life. I tried a little bit when I was younger, because my mom used to read so many books that they tried to get me into it when I was younger, but I just don’t like the idea of just sitting down and just reading words for three hours when you could… I mean, I’m more of a visual guy, obviously, but also that could be time spent kayaking, or meeting new people, or learning new tricks in the water. I’m more of a “get out there and do stuff” [person] and not willing to sit around and read.

EJ: He makes videos…. He’s always studying something, but it’s not usually in the written word.

What are you listening to write now? What kind of music?
Dane: Man, I get asked what kind of music I listen to so much, but for some reason I can never really come up with a good answer. Basically, I have every type of music you can imagine. Basically anything that gets me fired up—like, I go through a lot of songs, anything that sounds good. A lot of people stick with certain bands, and I just kind of [have] a lot of craziness on my iPod.

What about you, EJ? What do you like to listen to?
EJ: Usually ’80s rock. You know, Metallica, Guns ‘n’ Roses, big Zeppelin fan, Aerosmith—you know, stuff like that, but I listen to a lot of them. I listen to other stuff, too; I like to listen to the Top 40 radio station sometimes, especially when my wife’s in the car with me.

Dane: Mom [is] very much new school, but dad is still sticking with the old school.

Keeping it alive, that’s good.
EJ: It’s just easier, yeah.

What are your words that you live by, your motto for life?
EJ: Live well, for yourself, so you can give yourself away to others.

Dane: No matter where you are, you just make it where you want to be. If it’s somewhere incredible, or even if it’s at home, just live each day to the fullest.

So if you got a chance to throw a party and you could invite anyone, alive or dead, to your party, who would you invite?
EJ: What kind of party?

Whatever kind of party you want it to be.
EJ: It just depends. I guess there’s different kinds of parties, so…

Let’s call it a dinner party. Who are you going to invite to a dinner party?
EJ: A dinner party, that’s easier. Obviously, I’d invite my family, and then probably some mentors, business icons, people I follow or whatever, like Yvon Chouinard, Richard Branson, Ted Turner—people like that. Then I’d have a lot of my kayak friends, probably, but if it was a dinner party, yeah, it would probably be people that have done cool things in business…or anything [that] really would change the world—not necessarily popular, but have done things that I would aspire to do. So people I could learn from, and then make sure my family’s there too, because it would make it fun.

What about you, Dane? Who would you invite to your private dinner party, alive or dead?
Dane: Similar idea as my dad, but for me it would be more like…invite, obviously, my family, but bring athletes in different sports, or the same sport—kayak friends, people that…whenever we get together [we] just come up with crazy ideas, information for different videos, projects, places to go, just stuff like that. If you get a bunch of people together and you can think of cool ideas, that means that they’re going to be pushing the sport; therefore, those are the kind of people you want to be hanging out with, you know?

Do you have any regrets?
EJ: No.

Nothing?
EJ: That’s for the people that are somewhere they don’t want to be. I have a concept that could be called…I call it “life without compromise.” Could be “life without regrets,” or “life without limits,” or something like that, but it’s a decision-making protocol where you’d set your priorities. Mine’s wife, kids, paddling, business, in that order, and then you just…when you get up in the morning, all your decisions are based on [that] from [the] top down. So a lot of the things where the regrets would have happened—[had I] decided to not follow the priority list and put business first, and then stopped kayaking and became full-time business guy, and I went, “Oh, man, well, business is good, but I’ve been doing it for 10 years. I really wish I’d stayed in shape and still competed”— that would be regrets. We don’t do that. Most people think we don’t take our responsibilities seriously enough, but it’s really the other way around. We just put all our eggs in one basket, and if we want to do it, and it’s important to us, and it’s not on a whim that we do it, we cannot have regrets.


That’s a great philosophy. Last question: Tell me your most embarrassing moment.

EJ: My wife would say I don’t get embarrassed. Dane would get embarrassed for me a lot, but I don’t get embarrassed particularly.… I’ve done stupid things; like, I wasn’t embarrassed, but maybe that’s what people would call it. I was late for the start of the Olympics in ’92; there was a point where…I almost didn’t get to race. I was paddling around the corner after doing, like, a three-minute sprint to get there, and I actually had to slow down after I crossed the electric light beam to catch my breath during my race, and I wasn’t embarrassed; I was just kind of bummed, you know? I guess most people might be embarrassed, but the TV crews all put their cameras down and [were] like, “Where is he?” and [I was] like, “I’m right here,” so it was kind of stupid.

Wow. You’ve got to have one too, Dane.
Dane: Too many to name, but the thing is, for some reason I have a lot of [embarrassing] moments; that’s the problem. and all my moments are remembered by everyone. Everyone else can have an embarrassing moment [and the memory of it is] gone, but me, they stick around forever. But I can’t even think of, like, one popular one. I don’t know, but I’m sure my dad can be more— [To EJ] Not that one! I know the one you’re thinking….

More from GrindTV

Rapid Response with Sierra Blair-Coyle

Rapid Response with Courtney Conlogue

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Rapid Response with Eric and Dane Jackson appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Rock climbing icon Alex Honnold goes urban

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 04:12 PM PDT

Alex Honnold climbing a brick building in San Francisco. Photo from Alex Honnold's Facebook page

Alex Honnold climbing brick building in San Francisco. Photo from Alex Honnold’s Facebook page

Alex Honnold, best known for scaling Half Dome and El Capitan in Yosemite without ropes or safety gear, has expanded his free solo climbing act to include buildings. Honnold has gone urban.

Whereas Honnold is used to climbing sheer cliffs, clinging to rock walls with only his fingertips and toes, the free solo climber visited San Francisco and climbed structures like the Mark di Suvero sculpture on Crissy Field, the iconic Palace of Fine Arts, and a brick building in the Financial District.

Alex Honnold nears top of the building, climbing without ropes or safety gear. Photo is a screen grab from the video

Alex Honnold nears top of the building, climbing without ropes or safety gear. Photo is a screen grab from the video

“I spend so much more time on rock where it’s so natural to me, whereas with buildings it’s much more of an adventure,” Honnold said.

“I don’t have that much experience climbing up buildings, so it’s more exciting.”

Video of Honnold’s latest free solo climbing exploits went live again on YouTube this week after it had been suspended for three weeks following its initial debut as a piece of audio was cleared. Here now is “Alex Honnold’s Urban Ascents”:

Sure, in the end, Honnold does a health care commercial. A professional rock climber has to make a living, right?

But the climb was also a sort of warm-up act to the Taiwanese skyscraper Honnold plans on scaling someday–again, without ropes or safety gear. It’s the 1,667-foot Taipei 101 Skyscraper, and he was set to climb it before a live TV audience on the National Geographic Channel.

Alex Honnold climbing the Mark di Suvero sculpture. Photo is a screen grab from the video

Alex Honnold climbing the Mark di Suvero sculpture. Photo is a screen grab from the video

At first, he was going to climb it last November. Then it was rescheduled for this month. Then National Geographic Channel executives got cold feet about live broadcasting a potential fall/death of the world’s best rock climber and pulled out of the deal, according to a spokesman for Honnold.

“Alex said that the Taipei 101 climb is on from his end and the building’s end, and that they’re working through the details of the broadcast,” Michael Schwartz told GrindTV Outdoor.

Honnold was asked during the making of the above video about climbing Taipei 101 and doing climbs like that for money, and how the payout weighed against the risk.

“The first time I saw Taipei 101 in person I was like, ‘Oh that looks awesome,’ the way like an amazing 1,700-foot ladder would look,” he said.

“Obviously getting paid enough will entice you to do things that you might otherwise not be into. But obviously I have a line where I’m like, ‘That’s sketchy I’m not going to do that,’ and that’s totally regardless of payment.”

Alex Honnold climbing at the Palace of Fine Arts. Photo is a screen grab from the video

Alex Honnold climbing at the Palace of Fine Arts. Photo is a screen grab from the video

But he’s up for Taipei 101. It’s just a matter of when.

In the meantime, fans of Honnold can look forward to the documentary called “Valley Uprising: Yosemite’s Rock Climbing Revolution,” in which the 28-year-old is featured. No surprise. Honnold has been featured on “60 Minutes,” on the covers of National Geographic and Outside magazines, and in the New York Times, among other places.

Esquire recently spoke to him and asked about climbing solo without any ropes. He said it’s mellow most of the time but is “punctuated by brief moments where you’re like ‘Oh my God, I’m gonna die.’”

“It’s slow, mounting dread,” he told Esquire. “It has as much to do with not being able to bring your fear under control as it does the actual danger that you’re in. So it’s like you’re doing some hard climbing that’s high above protection, you’re looking at a big fall, and you start to get scared. And then you start to think you’re off route, and that uncertainty starts to nag at you. Then it spirals out of control until you’re having a panic attack and you think you’re going to fall and die.

palace of fine arts 2

Alex Honnold atop the Palace of Fine Arts. Photo is a screen grab from the video

“I mean, the reason that I do all this stuff is that I love being in that position, I love being way up off the ground. I think it’s awesome.”

It’s also heart-pounding…for those on the ground watching.

Follow David Strege on Facebook 

More from GrindTV

Abused elephant rescued by Wildlife S.O.S.

Stranded whale saved after ill-advised rescue attempt

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Rock climbing icon Alex Honnold goes urban appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Elephants in Israel shield young during air raid

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 10:55 AM PDT

elephants in israel

Elephants in Israel protect their young during an air raid. Photo is a screen grab from the video

In a stark contrast to the inhumanness of Hamas using citizens as human shields in the Middle East conflict with Israel, elephants in Israel were seen huddling around their young ones to protect them during an air raid Wednesday at a safari park.

The Ramat Gan Safari, located in the Tel Aviv District, has the largest collection of wildlife in human care in the Middle East, and features a drive-through African safari and modern zoo on 250 acres. Israel’s Operation Protective Edge and the conflict with Hamas and Palestinian terrorist groups clearly have the animals on edge.

Sagit Horowitz shot video of the elephants in Israel and posted it on Facebook, saying (via translation) “Missiles and elephants: Our elephants heard the alarm, played fanfare, and were aghast. They became defensive and guarded and stood around Tanguy and Lana. After it was all over, they returned to their lives.”

The video was subsequently posted on YouTube. At the 1:50 mark you’ll notice an explosion and some screams:

Anne, a blogger who writes about life in Israel, brought attention to the video in a blog post Thursday. Her translation of the YouTube description: “This morning as a Red Alert siren was sounded in the area of the Ramat Gan Safari, the adult elephants trumpeted a loud warning and gathered round the young calves Latangi and Lalana in an attempt to protect them.”

One commenter on YouTube wrote, “Sad they have to go through this because they are in Israel.”

Sad for everybody, actually.

Follow David Strege on Facebook 

More from GrindTV

Abused elephant rescued by Wildlife S.O.S.

Stranded whale saved after ill-advised rescue attempt

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Elephants in Israel shield young during air raid appeared first on GrindTV.com.

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 10:17 AM PDT

ElninoJuly3.jpeg

NOAA issued its latest El Niño forecast Thursday, calling for a high chance of the warm-water event becoming a reality in late summer. Though NOAA predicts a weak to moderate El Niño, other forecasters have predicted a stronger event, perhaps rivaling the powerful 1997-98 El Niño, which severely altered weather patterns and lured tropical and sub-tropical species of fish hundreds or thousands of miles north of their typical range. 

With this in mind, and since peculiar sightings and catches already have been documented this summer, we looked back to the 1997-98 El Niño, making note of some of the many odd fish visitations, perhaps providing a glimpse of what’s in store for California and the West Coast over the next several months.

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California:

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California: Yellowfin tuna; photo via Mark Rayor/Jen Wren Sportfishing

Yellowfin tuna

Common in sub-tropical waters off Mexico (mainland, southern Baja California, Sea of Cortez). Often caught off northern Baja in late summer, but rarely encountered beyond the U.S.-Mexico borderexcept during warm-water events.

Despite how powerful El Niño becomes, this is a warm-water summer and yellowfin are on the move. A small yellowfin was captured two weeks ago by scientists in Newport Harbor in Newport Beach, California. Anglers are hooking them as close as 50 miles south of San Diego. Sea-surface temperatures are as high as 75 degrees off Southern California; that and an abundance of anchovies means it’s probably only a matter of time before more yellowfin are encountered locally.

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

Hammerhead shark spotted last week off Dana Point, California; photo by Dale Frink/Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Safari

Hammerhead sharks

Three species of hammerhead sharks are known to inhabit California waters. Sightings are rare, however, and typically associated with warm-water events. Two hammerheads were spotted during the past week off Dana Point, Orange County. Only one was photographed: a 6-foot shark (pictured above) that is either a smooth hammerhead or a scalloped hammerhead.

According to the scientific paper “Observations on Fishes Associated with the 1997-98 El Niño off California,” at least 10 juvenile scalloped hammerheads were captured in 1997-98 in San Diego Bay. The paper’s authors, Richard Rosenblatt (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) and Robert Lea (California Department of Fish and Wildlife), wrote: “The number of scalloped hammerhead taken during the 1997-98 El Niño, as well as their relative small size, suggests that during extreme warm-water conditions San Diego Bay may serve as a nursery area for this species.” The paper noted that three scalloped hammerheads were caught off Los Angeles County during the 1982-83 El Niño.

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California: Mahi-mahi, or dorado; photo via Mark Rayor/Jen Wren Sportfishing

Mahi-mahi

These colorful, acrobatic, and delectable game fish, which like yellowfin tuna are commonly found off southern Baja and points south, were targeted by California anglers during the past two powerful El Niños (1997-98 and 1982-83). In 1997-98, mahi-mahi, more commonly called dorado in Mexico, were caught as far north as Washington state. The dorado watch is on after a Balboa Angling Club member caught a 17-pounder Wednesday off Orange County. These fish gather beneath floating offshore kelp paddies, and where there’s one there most likely are many others.

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California: Bonefish; photo via Bennett Mintz

Bonefish

Uncommon but not rare along Mexico’s west coast (super common and hugely popular among fly anglers in the and Caribbean). Rarely seen in California, but several bonefish were documented in 1998, in bays and estuaries from San Diego to the Venice Canal in Los Angeles County. A juvenile bonefish was caught off Morro Bay in Central California. From “Observations on Fishes Associated with the 1997-98 El Niño off California”: “The year 1998 appears to represent a unique recruitment event for bonefish off Southern California.”

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California: Mexican lookdown; photo via Gary Graham/Baja on the Fly

Mexican lookdown

Aptly-named fish are commonly seen (and caught) cruising shallow reef areas in the Sea of Cortez. Extremely rare off Baja’s northwest coast and California, but between December 1997 through April 1998, several dozen were caught in San Diego Bay by commercial fisherman Mike Irey. He donated several specimens to Scripps Aquarium.

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California: Cornetfish; photo via Wikipedia

Cornetfish

Elongated, stick-like fish that hang around reefs in tropical and sub-tropical waters. Snorkelers and scuba divers commonly see one of two species (Fistulatia commersonii, or reef cornetfish) in the Sea of Cortez and off the Mexican mainland. In May 1998, two deepwater cornetfish (Fistularia cornet) were collected by scientists off Huntington Beach in Orange County. The farthest north the species was previously documented was Bahia San Hipolito off Baja California Sur. Pictured is a reef cornetfish.

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California: Jack crevalle; photo via Mark Rayor/Jen Wren Sportfishing

Jack Crevalle

Widespread in the Sea of Cortez and along central and southern Mexico. Very popular among anglers, and extremely rare off California. The jack crevalle caught in January 1998, in San Diego Bay, was only the fourth documented jack crevalle in California waters, according to “Observations on Fishes Associated with the 1997-98 El Niño off California.” The last previous California documentation was 1984.

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California: Striped marlin; photo via Mark Rayor/Jen Wren Sportfishing

Striped marlin

Striped marlin are not unusual catches in late summer and early fall off Southern California. But it’s rare to find them north of Los Angeles County. During powerful El Niños, they are driven or lured far north of their range. In September 1997, Capt. Mike Halbert and anglers Dick Miller and Cle Elum teamed to land what was believed to be the first striped caught off Washington state. The 104-pound striper was caught 30 miles off Westport. Videoland Productions wrote: “This catch is a graphic example of El Niño (the warming of Pacific waters) and its effect on coastal fisheries. Temperatures have been 68 degrees off the Washington coast this summer, at least 6 degrees above normal.”

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California: Threebanded butterflyfish; photo by Andy Murch/Elasmodiver.com

Threebanded butterflyfish

Colorful reef dwellers that teem in the tropical eastern Pacific, simply do not belong anywhere near California. However, on November 1, 1997, a threebanded butterflyfish was observed in the San Diego-La Jolla Ecological Reserve, and was videotaped in the same area three weeks later. On December 12, a threebanded butterflyfish was captured in King Harbor in Redondo Beach. Rosenblatt and Lea, in their paper, stated that these were the first record of the species in California since two specimens were collected in San Diego Bay during the Pacific Railroad Survey in the 1850s.

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California

10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California: Pufferfish; photo via Mexfish.com

Pufferfish

Comical-looking critters are a favorite among snorkelers and divers in tropical and sub-tropical waters. Very rarely seen north of Magdalena Bay in southern Baja. During the 1982-83 El Nino, five longnose puffers were caught from the Redondo Beach Pier in L.A. County. At least five puffers, longnose and bullseye, were collected by scientists in 1998. Locations include La Jolla, Santa Catalina Island, and El Segundo.

–Editor’s note: This is only a partial list and does not include many species that are typical of northern Baja and Southern California, but were encountered much farther north, such as San Francisco, Oregon, and Washington.

Similar stories on GrindTV

6 unique cetaceans to watch for off California

Stranded whale saved after ill-advised rescue attempt

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post 10 exotic fish El Niño might send to California appeared first on GrindTV.com.

The locals’ guide to surfing Noosa, Australia

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 06:00 AM PDT

The locals’ guide to surfing Noosa

The locals’ guide to surfing Noosa: Noosa has five points with waves for each type of surfer. Photo by The Wave Provocateur

Bree Warren and Mitch McCann met at a beachside hotel, reconnected a month later, and went on a date the same week—and why not? They shared two major passions that would solidify their relationship: surf and travel. So, of course, they had to create a blog about both. “We wanted to do something creative and original with our travel shots,” Warren says. “We found that there wasn’t really anything out there for both guys and girls that combines surf and travel, so we wanted to fill that gap.”

The locals’ guide to surfing Noosa

The Wave Provocateur seeks to combine surf and travel photographer in one curated platform. Photo by The Wave Provocateur

Enter The Wave Provocateur, the couple’s envy-inducing corner of the web where they catalog their jaunts around the world in search of the perfect wave. But instead of tapping the duo for a far-flung travel guide, we had them detail the best things about a surf break a little closer to their home: Noosa, Australia. “Noosa has five amazing points with waves that vary from a perfect longboard wave at First Point to radical barrels beyond Boiling Pot,” McCann says. “No matter the conditions, wind or swell, you’ll be able to find a wave.” For Warren, the draw is in the town’s versatility: “Noosa has a good balance,” she says. “There’s so many beach activities and watersports, but you can also relax, go shopping, or wine and dine. Plus the scenery is pretty amazing.” Here, a “his and hers” guide to the coastal destination and surfing Noosa:

The locals’ guide to surfing Noosa

The locals’ guide to surfing Noosa: Noosa gets crowded during the high season (in the Australian summer), so book a hotel or hostel early. Photo by the Wave Provocateur

Get there: The drive to Noosa from Brisbane, Australia, takes approximately two hours, but you can fly into the Sunshine Coast Airport and cut your drive time down to twenty minutes. There’s even a Rip Curl shop in the airport for last-minute necessities.

Check in: at 10 Hastings Boutique Motel and Café, a hip establishment tucked into the quieter end of famed street where drinks are served in mason jars and Chevron pillows abound. If you’re on a budget, check out Halse Lodge, a backpackers’ hostel hotel where dorm rooms start at just $29 a night. Just be sure to book a room early or you’ll be on the streets during the high season over the Australian summer.

The locals’ guide to surfing Noosa

The locals’ guide to surfing Noosa: A surfboard and a suit are all you really need to pack for Noosa. Photo by The Wave Provocateur

What to pack: The packing list for a trip to Noosa is bare bones thanks to consistently warm weather and the singular reason you made the journey: surfing. “I usually just pack surfboards,” says McCann. “The rest I forget because I’m too excited!” Pack a few bathing suits, something to walk around town in, a towel, and sturdy sandals in case you want to go exploring off the beach.

Grab a brew and a bite right at Halse Lodge. “It’s technically a backpackers’ [hostel] but it has a relaxed vibe and it’s set in an old wooden Queenslander tucked in behind Hastings Street,” says McCann. The bar and restaurant serves up a Big Breakfast every morning, and dinner is served nightly with beer, wine, and cocktails. Warren prefers the local and imported beer selection at Noosa Surf Life Saving Club, but suggests making time for a bite out of the seasonal menu at Ricky’s or the crispy tune croquettes at Red Emperor Fish and Chips in Noosaville. For the best local pizza in town—our mouths are watering over the Satay chicken and cashew pie—take a walk to Zachary’s Gourmet Pizza Bar.

Bree Warren and Mitch McCann are the surf-loving couple behind The Wave Provocateur

Bree Warren and Mitch McCann are the surf-loving couple behind The Wave Provocateur

Rise and shine with a bold coffee while you check out the surf conditions. “We go on a scooter and check all the points around the headland, the river mouth, and Sunshine Beach,” says McCann. Bistro C is the couple’s go-to breakfast joint—try their corn and chive griddle cakes or potato, leek, and cheddar tart—though don’t expect to get there early if you’re traveling with a serious surfer. “I’m not usually allowed to do anything until we have checked the surf,” laughs Warren.

Dry off with a walk through Noosa National Park—which has some of the most picturesque coastline in South East Queensland—to Granite Bay or Tea Tree, the locals’ favorite break. McCann prefers getting a group of “mates” together for a day trip up to Double Island Point. “You need a four-wheel-drive to drive up the beach, but with the right conditions you can have perfect surf and the beach to yourself!

The locals’ guide to surfing Noosa

The locals’ guide to surfing Noosa: Seek out perfect peelers at Tea Tree or Granite Bay in Noosa. Photo by The Wave Provocateur

Stash some cash for shopping at boutiques on Hastings Street (Bowery is Warren’s favorite stop, stocking Aussie brands like Bird & Knoll and Ellery). Surfers will revel in the selection at Noosa Longboards and get stars in their eyes from the atmospheric wonder of Thomas Surfboards. “It’s in this awesome converted warehouse with a barber shop and a half-pipe inside,” explains McCann.

Do: Body surf, chill in a hammock, and watch the sunset from Noosa National Park. If you’re feeling up for a short drive, Warren suggests taking the trip to Fraser Island. “It’s a UNESCO Heritage-listed island that’s an hour away from Noosa.”

The locals’ guide to surfing Noosa

The locals’ guide to surfing Noosa: Don’t leave Noosa without watching the sunset at the National Park. Photo courtesy of The Wave Provocateur

Don’t: Leave without paddling out at Tea Tree, the favorite break of both Warren and McCann.

 More from GrindTV

An insider’s guide to Jeffreys Bay

A hyper-local guide to Costa Rica

Explore Iceland on the cheap with its awesome hostels

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post The locals’ guide to surfing Noosa, Australia appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Is Medellin, Colombia, an adventure lover’s true paradise?

Posted: 11 Jul 2014 03:00 AM PDT

Situated in a beautiful mountain valley, Medellin is literally a geographic cradle for action sports; photo by Kade Krichko

Situated in a beautiful mountain valley, Medellin is literally a geographic cradle for action sports. Photo by Kade Krichko

It might not be at the top of action sports enthusiasts’ lists, but Medellin, Colombia, is actually a hotbed for adventure. Nestled in a deep mountain valley in the northern Andes with a temperate climate and rugged terrain, Colombia’s second-largest city is home to a surprising amount of outdoor enthusiasts, and more than a handful of adventure sport options.

When was the last time you road biked a mile up twisting mountain roads from your inner city apartment complex, or paraglided over your downtown block from the neighboring mountainside? Here’s a quick guide for adrenaline junkies looking to travel to the City of Eternal Spring.

Skateboarding: There are quite a few skate spots around the city, including a mini-skate bowl in the Santo Domingo neighborhood overlooking the entire city and accessible via cable car. That being said, there are also a few decent skateparks, including SkatePark del Estadio, near Medellin’s soccer stadium.

Medellin is ripe with low-bust skate spots like this one in Voladero neighborhood; Nicolas Delvalle/Flickr

Medellin is ripe with low-bust skate spots like this one in Voladero neighborhood. Photo courtesy Nicolas Delvalle/Flickr

Road biking: Like we mentioned before, the mountain roads surrounding Medellin are legendary. Featuring good pavement and decent shoulders (as well as a few crazy drivers), the Alto de Las Palmas is the most popular riding route, and covers roughly 18 miles round trip. For the less hill-inclined, Medellin also has an amazing bike-share program and shuts down 11 miles of highway to traffic every Sunday for Ciclovia, a free biking event.

BMX: Surprisingly, BMX is actually bigger than skating in Medellin. In addition to street BMX at all of the area skateparks, Mahalo Action Sports Café in the hills of Envigado neighborhood has a solid array of dirt jumps with an amazing view of the city. Definitely worth a look.

Mountain biking: Biking off-road is a relatively new phenomenon in Medellin, but that isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of trails. There are vast networks of trails (both maintained and unmaintained) along the rim of the mountains around Parque Arvi, the Envigado neighborhood, and there is even a ride around Pablo Escobar’s notorious mountain prison, La Catedral. For more beta on mountain biking in Medellin, connect with UPBike, the mountain bike club of Pontificia Boliviarana University—they’re usually up for a ride.

Paragliding: Though not technically in our action sports realm, paragliding over Medellin will more than get your blood pumping from 3,000 feet above the city. For about $40 USD, let http://www.paraglidingmedellin.com/“>Paragliding Medellin take you on a 30-minute thrill ride from the top of the surrounding mountains to the city below. It just might be the best way to see the city, and definitely the most active!

Easy lodging advice: Worried about safety? Medellin has made huge strides to clean up its city, and safe lodging is one of those improvements. Hostels like Casa Kiwi Hostel in the Poblado neighborhood offer modern amenities like Wi-Fi, laundry, and city bike tours for just under $12 USD a night (P.S., don’t try and reserve a bed; it’s better to just show up!). Oh, and Medellin chlorinates its drinking water, so Montezuma can buzz off.

More from GrindTV

Hammock hopping in Colombia’s Parque Tayrona

An insider’s guide to skiing Chile

Cuban travelogue: Soccer opens up a whole new world for this yuma

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Is Medellin, Colombia, an adventure lover’s true paradise? appeared first on GrindTV.com.

GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


Stranded whale saved after ill-advised rescue attempt

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 01:59 PM PDT

AUSTRALIA-ANIMAL-WHALE

Stranded whale is rescued at Palm Beach, Australia, by officials from Sea World. Photo by Patrick Hamilton/AFP/Getty Images

A juvenile humpback whale stranded on a beach near Sydney, Australia, since Tuesday night was towed out to sea by marine experts Thursday morning and appeared to be swimming on its own, this after a large group of rogue rescuers made an ill-advised nighttime attempt to free the stranded whale.

After Sea World officials abandoned rescue efforts at 6 p.m. Wednesday, about 40 people, including Sea Shepherd volunteers, jumped barriers, entered the water and undid in 10 minutes what Sea World rescuers had worked 24 hours to do, according to the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Associated Press has raw video of the rogue rescuers and the successful rescue attempt:

The rogue rescuers distressed the stranded whale at Palm Beach, New South Wales, and turned it back to face the shore, the same way it was facing when it beached itself on Tuesday night, the Bulletin reported.

Sea World rescuers had attempted to attach a harness to the whale and pull it out to sea three times during Wednesday’s morning high tide and tried another three times late Wednesday afternoon, but to no avail.

Another attempt by Sea World officials Thursday morning was successful, and the whale headed straight out to sea.

“I wasn’t going to celebrate until we couldn’t see it anymore and the Jet Skis were out of sight as well,” Sea World marine animal supervisor Tacha Mulligan told the Bulletin soon after the rescue. “It was such an exhausting effort, that moment, I can hardly describe.

“He’s very exhausted, he’ll get past those breakers, have a rest, recoup and get his energy back…We are cautiously optimistic, but we’ll stay with him all day and monitor him.”

Later, the whale was swimming so well, the rescuers made the decision to leave it on its own as it continued to swim out to sea.

AUSTRALIA-ANIMAL-WHALE

Stranded whale at Palm Beach on Queensland’s Gold Coast is rescued by officials from Sea World. Photo by Patrick Hamilton/AFP/Getty Images

Leaving the whale alone is what officials felt the rogue rescuers ought to have done. Now, police are reviewing footage to determine any offenses and whether action could be taken.

Gold Coast chief superintendent Des Lacy told the Bulletin that it “wasn’t an intelligent act.”

“We did see a breakaway of a group of people who believed they were assisting the whale; it was contrary to the recommendations of those authorities who were in the know in regards to the safety of the whale,” Lacy said.

Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate called the rogue rescuers “good hearted,” but said they ought to have listened to the experts.

“I say those with a passion for the environment, keep the passion burning but direct your energy into the right way,” he said.

Follow David Strege on Facebook 

Other popular stories on GrindTV

Blue whale capsizes small boat off San Diego

Tornado becomes ‘lifetime moment’ in wedding photos

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Stranded whale saved after ill-advised rescue attempt appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Seagull second in horse race photo-finish photobomb

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 11:04 AM PDT

photo finish

Seagull finishes second in a photo finish. Photo from Brighton Racecourse Facebook page

And finishing second in a photo finish is…Seagull Biscuit?

In one of the more unique photobombs of our day, a seagull at the Brighton Racecourse in the U.K. on Tuesday finished second by a beak behind the winning horse Jewelled, or at least that was the case according to the photo-finish print of the mile-and-a-half horse race seen above.

brighton racecourse photo from facebook

Horse racing at Brighton Racecourse, sans seagull. Photo from Brighton Racecourse Facebook page

According to BBC Sport, it is thought to be the first bird featured in a photo-finish print for a horse race.

“We are about a mile and a half from the sea, and there are a lot of seagulls around, but this has never happened before as far as we are aware,” racecourse spokesman George Hill told BBC Sport.

“The bird just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

Jewelled with jockey Richard Hughes was the clear winner, and Sagesse, ridden by jockey Luke Morris, was awarded second.

“Some race-goers thought the seagull should have been awarded second place,” Lee McKenzie, a writer for the Racing Post, told BBC Sport. “It flew home up the final stretch and clearly beat the next horse by a long beak.

“Pity it wasn’t the next race on the card, won by Byrd In Hand from Hawk Moth, with another flier Abigails Angel third.”

Follow David Strege on Facebook 

Other popular stories on GrindTV

Blue whale capsizes small boat off San Diego

Tornado becomes ‘lifetime moment’ in wedding photos

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

 

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Seagull second in horse race photo-finish photobomb appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Win a trip to Whistler (only 5 days left!)

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 10:46 AM PDT

TW_Contest

If you love mountain biking, British Columbia, and especially Whistler, is the place to be. Its terrain is constantly evolving, Whistler’s resort is famous for both its progressive downhill features and flowy cross-country trail network, and it’s just as popular among hard partiers as it is among families looking for a place to relax. (Plus it offers poutine. What could be better?)

If Whistler, with its 300 miles of singletrack and world-famous Whistler Bike Park, sounds like a dream to you, you’re in luck. Tourism Whistler is offering up a dream prize package to the person who uploads the photo that best illustrates why he or she deserves to pay a visit to mountain biking’s promised land. Even better? You get to bring a friend (who maybe can handle the camera this time).

WhistlerThink your selfie skills are worthy of a cross-border adventure for two? Enter to win by clicking here to like Tourism Whistler on Facebook and submit your image, which will be reviewed by Bike magazine founding photo editor David Reddick. The grand prize winner and his or her plus-one will be rewarded with a Whistler mountain biking adventure vacation that includes:

Your choice of one of the following:
+ Two 3-day lift tickets for Whistler Bike Park (including two 1-day tickets for the Top of the World trail)
or
+ Two days of guided cross country tours to explore Whistler’s extensive trail network

plus

+ Round-trip airfare to Vancouver International Airport
+ Round-trip ground transportation to Whistler
+ Five nights’ accommodation courtesy of the Four Seasons Resort Whistler
+ Two 3-day bike rental packages
+ One $100 Whistler restaurant certificate
+ One $300 Whistler spa certificate
+ One digital camera to capture all the action

The post Win a trip to Whistler (only 5 days left!) appeared first on GrindTV.com.

6 whales, dolphins to watch for off California

Posted: 10 Jul 2014 08:48 AM PDT

Curly

Curley the blue whale; photo by ©Shane Keena

California’s summer whale-watching season has begun, and many are on lookout for gargantuan blue whales; about 2,000 of the majestic cetaceans spend parts of summer and fall gorging on krill. Not to be overlooked, however, are numerous smaller whales and dolphins. But among these thousands upon thousands of large mammals, only a small number truly stand out, so we’ve compiled a list of what locals and tourists might watch out for during their next ocean odyssey.

6 whales, dolphins to watch for off California:

Curly (blue whale; pictured above)

A possible newcomer to the group of affectionately-named whales, spotted last week by members of an Earthwatch charter off Dana Point, and photographed by Shane Keena. It didn’t take long to come up with the name, based on the curled right portion of tail fluke. At first thought to be Delta (see below), but Curly’s upturned fluke is definitely distinct.

watermarked4

Delta the blue whale; photo by ©Frank Brennan/Dana Wharf Whale Watching

Delta (blue whale; pictured above)

Another mammal made famous by the shape of its tail fluke, the ends of which are turned upward like winglets on an airplane wing. First known sighting was 1987 in the Gulf of the Farallones west of San Francisco. Early on, most sightings were off northern Central California, but in recent years Delta has favored Southern California waters. Click for video.

Hook

Hook the blue whale; photo by Alan Gibby/Zone57

Hook (blue whale, pictured above)

The peculiar shape of this mammal’s tail fluke, most likely the result of a birth defect or an orca bite early in life, has inspired many nicknames. But “Hook” is the name that stuck, and when Hook is sighted news spreads rapidly via social media. Last summer, when Hook remained off the Los Angeles area for several days, one whale-watching business was ferrying media out for a look. Hook loves to raise its tail fluke high into the air before deep-water dives, and that could be because the mammal needs the extra body push downward to make up for the lack of power in its fluke. Spotted from San Diego to Monterey. Click for video.

5 whales, dolphins you might see off California

Patches the offshore bottlenose dolphin; photo by ©Melissa Galieti

Patches (offshore bottlenose dolphin; pictured above)

Name needs no explanation. Easy to spot among its gray pod members. Coloration ranges from various shades of gray, to pink and white. Spotted sporadically beginning in 2006, mostly off Southern California. Often seen with 50 to 100 ordinary bottlenose dolphins. Typically boat friendly. Spotted last week off the Los Angeles area. Click for video.

Chopfin

Chopfin the killer whale; photo via Eagle Eye Adventures

Chopfin (killer whale; pictured above)

Easy to discern because of its square and tattered dorsal fin, which was damaged several years ago, most likely, as a result of a net entanglement, and later shredded, most likely, by a boat propeller. Researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger calls him the poster boy for human interaction involving fishing gear and boat propellers. “But it doesn’t handicap him,” the researcher said. Had been spotted as far north as Washington until July 7, when Chopfin and his clan were spotted off Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

5 whales, dolphins you might see off California

Kinko the blue whale; photo by Frank Brennan/Dana Wharf Whale Watching

Kinko (blue whale, pictured above)

A large female named because of a distinct kink on the left side of her fluke. Also boasts distinct markings on her back, but easiest identification is when she reveals her fluke during deep dives in search of krill. Kinko is a mom; she was spotted in 2011 with a calf. Another crowd favorite. Spotted last week off Dana Point. Donna Kalez, general manager of Dana Wharf Whale Watching, said Kinko loves to fluke off the Dana Point headland. Click here for video.

Similar stories on GrindTV

Iconic orca reveals what might be a baby bump

Synchronized whale breach: shot of a lifetime

Rare pilot whale showing off SoCal

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post 6 whales, dolphins to watch for off California appeared first on GrindTV.com.

GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


Giant Japanese salamander roams city street

Posted: 09 Jul 2014 01:29 PM PDT

Giant Japanese salamander

Giant Japanese salamander

There are salamanders, and there is the giant Japanese salamander, a slug-like behemoth that is nocturnal and rarely encountered by humans–and for that humans should be thankful.

These legendary critters, which can weigh to 55 pounds and measure 5 feet long, reside in swift-flowing rivers and almost never stray far from their watery confines.

However, one of the slimy amphibians broke tradition recently and decided to stroll down a street in broad daylight in Kyoto, Japan. (See the video clip.)

“Probably on its way to an elementary school playground buffet of children,” joked Tokyo Desu.

Police were summoned and roped off the street, and eventually managed to coax the creature back to its home waters of the Kamo River, leaving Kyoto residents to breathe easier.

Seriously, though, giant Japanese salamanders are considered by most people to be harmless. They have very poor eyesight, and feed mostly on fish, crabs, mice, and large insects.

However, they are opportunistic and some might recall myths that portray them as child-stealing monsters.

They can be aggressive, if bothered, and boast powerful jaws, so those who encounter them are advised to keep a safe distance. (Click here to watch Jeremy Wade of Animal Planet’s “River Monsters” wrestle one with his bare hands.)

They’re also victims of deforestation and decades of hunting (now illegal), and are listed as a threatened species.

Other popular stories on GrindTV

Blue whale capsizes small boat off San Diego

Tornado becomes ‘lifetime moment’ in wedding photos

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Giant Japanese salamander roams city street appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Explore Iceland on the cheap with its awesome hostels

Posted: 09 Jul 2014 03:00 AM PDT

Share a pint with a local at the KEX Hostel's downstairs watering hole; photo courtesy of Nick Ison/Flickr.

Share a pint with a local at the KEX Hostel’s downstairs watering hole; photo courtesy of Nick Ison/Flickr.

Iceland attracts a unique type of traveler. Smack dab in between North America and Europe, Iceland usually equates to a layover rather than a final destination, so when you run into foreigners in the Land of Fire, you can bet they know what they came for. Whether it’s windswept beaches, surging waterfalls, towering volcanoes, or a multitude of other uninhibited adventures, the island is an Eden of exploration, and a perfect locale for some of the savviest travelers out there.

So what’s the best way to tap into this pipeline of exploration? A good guidebook is always a plus, but one of Iceland’s best-kept secrets is its hostel life. Check into the KEX Hostel in downtown Reykjavik for $25 a night and meet people from around the world bent on experiencing Iceland’s natural bounties. With a car rental service across the street and several adventure tours leaving right from the hostel’s doorstep, access is never a problem and you’re more than likely to find a fellow adventurer willing to hit the road with you.

Not a bad view to come home to; photo by Kade Krichko.

Not a bad view to come home to; photo by Kade Krichko.

After a day (or two or three) of roaming the island, grab a pint of local beer (or enjoy a taste of home with their rotating American tap) with foreigners and locals alike while taking in ocean views from KEX’s massive downstairs bar. You can even plot your next adventure from the establishment’s map room or get your hair cut at the hostel’s Raxtur barbershop.

Dorms are the cheapest option, but don’t be surprised to find a wide range of ages taking advantage of the dual-occupancy and single rooms in KEX as well.

Hostel

Grab a book or map from the KEX Hostel library and plot your next Icelandic excursion; photo courtesy of Globalgrasshopr/Flickr.

Iceland traveler tips:

Plan less, enjoy more. Don’t go into the trip with every day planned out because you might miss out on some pretty cool opportunities. More than once I was approached to share a rental car and hit some really amazing spots, but I stubbornly stuck to rigid plans. The end result? A couple of solo hikes, $100 in rental car fees, and not enough high-fives. Lesson learned.

Check your calendar. Iceland and Reykjavik in particular play host to several different music festivals, and while that may be another reason for your travels, it makes booking a whole lot tougher. Iceland Airwaves is one of the biggest festivals, attracting thousands from around the world during the first week of November. Oh yeah, one of the “stages” is on a couch in the KEX lounge. Pretty cool.

Don’t forget about Reykjavik. Our natural tendency is to get outside of the city to check out all of Iceland’s natural wonders, but don’t sleep on the country’s capital city. Reykjavik is quite the party city on the weekend, and KEX is only a few blocks from the main drag of Laugavegur. Don’t worry, most Icelanders speaks English, so a night out on the town is always a party.

For more information on KEX Hostel, visit their website.

Similar stories on GrindTV

Hammock hopping in Colombia’s Parque Tayrona

What a 1964 Mercedes-Benz Unimog can teach us about adventure cars

Chasing waterfalls in Iceland’s interior

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Explore Iceland on the cheap with its awesome hostels appeared first on GrindTV.com.

GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


Massive school of anchovies looks like oil slick

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 09:52 PM PDT

Massive school of anchovies appears to be an oil slick. Photo from Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Massive school of anchovies appears to be an oil slick. Photo from Scripps Institution of Oceanography

From a distance, the ocean near Scripps Pier off La Jolla, California, appeared to be the site of a catastrophic oil spill on Tuesday. Initially, Robert Monroe thought it was a red tide.

But it was neither.

Making a long, dark cloud in the shallow water off San Diego County was a massive school of Northern anchovies the likes of which has not been seen hugging the coast in more than 30 years.

Monroe, a communications officer with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, saw the unusual sight and raced to the pier with a GoPro camera, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A massive school of anchovies initially looked like a red tide to Robert Monroe of Scripps. Photo courtesy of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

A massive school of anchovies initially looked like a red tide to Robert Monroe of Scripps. Photo courtesy of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

“It was remarkable,” Monroe told the Los Angeles Times. “From a distance it looked like an oil slick and you think ‘What happened?’ and then you get up close and it’s amazing.

“It’s like watching the motion of a lava lamp.”

Not only did Monroe capture video from above, but he tossed the camera to three Scripps grad students—Julia Fiedler, Bonnie Ludka and Sean Crosby—and got underwater video, too. Take a look:

On its Facebook page, Scripps said, “Even veteran fisheries oceanographers were amazed. This is not an oil slick off Scripps Pier. It’s a school of anchovy no one can recall seeing this close to shore in 30 years.”

Phil Hastings, a marine biologist professor and curator of the Scripps Marine Vertebrate Collection, told City News Service the millions of anchovies were first spotted Monday by lifeguards, but they were mostly dissipated by Tuesday evening.

A massive school of anchovies hasn't been seen nearshore like this in more than 30 years. Photo courtesy of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

A massive school of anchovies hasn’t been seen nearshore like this in more than 30 years. Photo courtesy of Scripps Institution of Oceanography

“Leopard sharks [one is seen in the video] were feeding on them this morning,” Hastings told CNS.

Hastings said the water at the pier was 74 degrees and “pretty much the warmest water the species has been reported in.”

The Scripps Marine Vertebrate Collection collected specimens so they could be studied, but Hastings told CNS that he doubted the mystery of the baitfish’s appearance along the shore would ever be solved.

Follow David Strege on Facebook 

The post Massive school of anchovies looks like oil slick appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Kuzi Project is ready for expedition sequel

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 04:47 PM PDT

Kuzi Project selfie of Seth Warren taken last summer. Photo courtesy of the Kuzi Project

Kuzi Project selfie of Seth Warren taken last summer. Photo courtesy of the Kuzi Project

When adventurers Seth Warren and Kirk Hollis embarked on the Kuzi Project, a 500-mile, six-week standup paddleboarding and kiteboarding expedition up a remote coastal stretch of East Africa, the primary concerns were pirates, sharks, and malaria.

But a spider proved to be the biggest obstacle.

A violin spider bit Warren on the right kneecap and prompted an abrupt–and painful–halt to the Kuzi Project 14 days into last summer’s expedition.

Now, Warren is ready for Kuzi Project, Take II.

kuzi project an east african downwind adventure from elements website

On Thursday, July 9, Warren, a filmmaker, and a team of kiteboarders will depart for the Quirimbas Archipelago of northeast Mozambique for a 160-mile kiteboarding adventure through one of the most remote coastlines in Eastern Africa.

The team will follow the Kusini (nicknamed Kuzi) trade winds north and visit more than 20 islands.

Elements Mixed Media, Warren’s company, described the Kuzi Project this way:

The downwind adventure will dissect a labyrinth of sand dunes in the middle of the Indian Ocean that are enveloped daily by a 3-meter tide. The team and crew will be challenged to navigate through these massive tidal changes, intense currents and some beefy swell in order to access the nooks and crannies of the hidden Mozambican coastline and adjacent islands.

“I’m super excited to get another shot at exploring this part of the world and to have had the chance to refine this adventure,” Warren told GrindTV Outdoor in an email describing the Kuzi Project do-over.

The route planned for the Kuzi Project. From the Kuzi Project

The route planned for the Kuzi Project. From the Kuzi Project

“It has been exactly a year since my last visit to Mozambique, and I’m super stoked to report that I’m feeling on my game for this, and we have an incredible team that is up for high adventure. After spending time (and ‘epicing’) in the region last year we met tons of folks and I have kept in touch. We have a lot of great support in the region that was totally absent on the previous mission.

“This year, I’m really confident that everything is working for us and we plan to work through this day by day with style and grace. But we are also going to need a ton of luck, as there is a mountain of variables that we are negotiating to make this a success. We have our fingers crossed that mother nature will be playing on our team this year because at the end of the day she is the one calling the shots!”

Joining Warren will be professional kiteboarders Hope Levin of Turks & Caicos Islands, Jalou Langeree of the Netherlands, and Jake Kinney and Russell Reed from the U.S., along with camerawoman and co-filmmaker Katy Garton, who will help document the adventure.

Warren and the team won’t necessarily kiteboard the entire 160 miles but will “explore all the most epic places that we have found on Google Earth.”

The team will travel aboard Inshallah, a traditional Mozambican wooden dhow boat that has a Robinson Crusoe look and feel. The boat will serve as a base camp, which could help prevent a similar disaster that befell the original Kuzi Project last summer.

KUZI Project - Image2 - July 7, 2014

The Kuzi Project will have a traditional Mozambican wooden dhow boat called the Inshallah as its base camp. Photo courtesy of the Kuzi Project

On Day 6 of Kuzi Project 2013, Warren and Hollis camped on the remote island of Nfunvu where a violin spider from the recluse family bit Warren on the right knee. By Day 14, Warren’s leg had swollen to twice its original size, prompting an emergency evacuation.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 3.26.49 PM

The Kuzi Project came to a premature halt when Seth Warren was bitten by a violin spider. Photo courtesy of the Kuzi Project

“I was on my way back to Pemba for emergency treatment, and halfway into the evacuation I went into septic shock,” Warren wrote on his website. “It took me 24 hours to get to the hospital from the islands.

“I have seen five different doctors, and been on eight different kinds of antibiotics. There have been at least a dozen injections of all kinds of random stuff. After 10 days of treatment in Pemba, Mozambique, I had stabilized enough to make the journey back to the states for further treatment.”

Warren told Grind that he had some “horrible experiences” in an African hospital that were “absolutely no fun,” which probably goes without saying.

“We suffered from some over-ambition and tried to take on more than we were prepared for, and in the end had some serious bad luck,” Warren told GrindTV Outdoor.

This year, they are better prepared, and hoping for much better luck.

A kiteboarding locale from last year's Kuzi Project, accessed via Ibo Island Lodge. Photo from Elements Mixed Media Facebook page

A kiteboarding locale from last year’s Kuzi Project, accessed via Ibo Island Lodge. Photo from Elements Mixed Media Facebook page

Warren anticipates the highlight being a 60-mile section of sand dunes in the middle of the ocean that gets enveloped by that 3-meter tide his website talked about.

“This, combined with the 20-30-knot Kuzi trade winds, and we just might find the next mecca for kiteboarding!” Warren told GrindTV Outdoor.

Finding the next mecca for kiteboarding–wouldn’t that be a nice bonus for the Kuzi Project?

Follow David Strege on Facebook 

The post Kuzi Project is ready for expedition sequel appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Abused elephant rescued by Wildlife S.O.S.

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 11:29 AM PDT

Under the cover of darkness, a team from London-based Wildlife S.O.S rescued an elephant that had been abused for 50 years in India and transported it 350 miles to an elephant sanctuary where it walked free for the first time on July 4th.

Raju, believed to have been poached from his mother as a baby, was beaten and left bleeding from painful spiked leg shackles by an abusive owner who had the elephant beg for handouts and survive by eating plastic and paper for food.

The owner also tore out hair from Raju’s tail to sell as good luck charms, Wildlife S.O.S. founder Kartick Satyanarayan told the U.K. MailOnline.

A year after learning of Raju’s plight, Wildlife S.O.S. last week led a team of 10 veterinarians and wildlife officials, 20 forestry department officers and six policemen, and seized the abused elephant from the Uttar Pradesh area of India, after receiving a court order.

“The team [was] astounded to see tears roll down his face during the rescue,” Pooja Binepal, a spokesman for Wildlife S.O.S., told the MailOnline. “It was so incredibly emotional for all of us. We knew in our hearts he realized he was being freed.

“Elephants are not only majestic, but they are highly intelligent animals, who have been proven to have feelings of grief, so we can only imagine what torture half a century has been like for him.

“Until we stepped in he’d never known what it is like to walk free of his shackles–it’s a truly pitiful case. But today he knows what freedom is and he will learn what kindness feels like and what it’s like to not suffer any more.”

Abused elephant named Raju cried when he realized he was being rescued. Photo from Wildlife S.O.S. Facebook page

Abused elephant named Raju cried when he realized he was being rescued. Photo from Wildlife S.O.S. Facebook page

The owner, reported by The Times of India to be a drug addict, and the elephant’s handler attempted to thwart the rescue, blocking the road, shouting commands to Raju to try to provoke the animal into violence, and adding more chains around the animal’s legs.

But the rescue team stood its ground, and seized the animal. It was at this point that tears began rolling down Raju’s face. Raju, despite each painful step as the spikes cut into his flesh, calmly climbed into the truck, as if knowing he was being rescued.

Raju elephant free wildlife S.O.S facebook

Raju, an abused elephant for 50 years, walks free of chains and spiked shackles at an elephant sanctuary in India. Photo from Wildlife S.O.S. Facebook page

Raju was taken to the charity’s Elephant Conservation and Care Centre at Mathura where he was able to walk free from cruelty for the first time in 50 years.

“Incredibly he stepped out of his truck and took his first step to freedom at one minute past midnight on July 4th, which felt so extraordinarily fitting,” Satyanarayan told MailOnline.

The rescue team had waited until getting the abused elephant to the sanctuary to remove its shackles. Wildlife vet Dr. Yaduraj Khadpekar began doing so immediately.

removing spikes

Raju, an abused elephant for 50 years, is freed from spiked leg shackles. Photo from Wildlife S.O.S. Facebook page

“It took him [Khadpekar] and two handlers 45 minutes to liberate him as they’d been wound round his legs to prevent their removal and to cause pain if anyone tried to take them off,” Satyanarayan told MailOnline.

“We all had tears in our eyes as the last rope which held the final spike was cut and Raju took his first steps of freedom.

“The entire team [was] exhausted, but incredibly elated as he has suffered such unthinkable abuse and trauma for so, so long. He’d been beaten so badly, his spirit is broken.”

healing his wounds wildlife sos

Raju, an abused elephant for 50 years, receives medical attention for chronic wounds. Photo from Wildlife S.O.S. Facebook page

Since his arrival, Raju has received medical attention, been given proper baths and food, and is well along in the rehabilitation process. Wildlife S.O.S. has launched a campaign to raise $17,000 to help Raju begin his new life in a new enclosure, which will allow him to roam free with other elephants.

Satyanarayan said Raju is “tasting freedom for the first time in his life, and he’ll spend the rest of his life in a safe compound living out his days in dignity, free from suffering and pain.”

Follow David Strege on Facebook 

Other popular stories on GrindTV

Blue whale capsizes small boat off San Diego

Tornado becomes ‘lifetime moment’ in wedding photos

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Abused elephant rescued by Wildlife S.O.S. appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Sooty shearwaters steal spotlight from whales

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 10:49 AM PDT

Sooty shearwaters

Sooty shearwaters make way for a surfacing humpback whale off Monterey Bay; photo by ©Daniel Bianchetta

Whale watchers out of Monterey Bay, California, on Monday evening were treated to an amazing spectacle, but instead of whales it was thousands of seabirds that stole the spotlight.

The feeding grounds off Moss Landing were overrun by tens of thousandsperhaps hundreds of thousandsof sooty shearwaters, which spanned nearly as far as the eye could see.

In dense fog with obscured visibility, the pelagic seabirds created a surreal, almost Hitchcockian atmosphere as they frantically hurried from one spot to another, to gorge on schooling anchovies, at times littering the water in tight, dark masses.

In the accompanying footage, naturalist Greg McCormack of the Sea Wolf II, which runs from Monterey Bay Whale Watch, can be heard informing the passengers: “This really is one of the great spectacles that you’ll ever see in your entire life … Hundreds of thousands of birds right here.”

Sooty shearwaters

Sooty shearwaters gorge on anchovies in Monterey Bay; photo by ©Daniel Bianchetta

The clip was widely shared via social media, and Facebook watchers were also awed. Monterey Bay Whale Watching uploaded the clip to YouTube on Tuesday.

Reads one comment on the company Facebook page: “It’s fun to see nature when it behaves like this.”

Sooty shearwaters, compact birds that measure about 20 inches, are found throughout the world. Those that seasonally visit California breed in southern Chile and New Zealand.

Their feeding season off California runs into early fall. They gather in immense flocks when food is abundant in reasonably small areas, and in recent weeks “mega-tons of anchovies” have gathered off Monterey, according to Monterey Bay Whale Watch.

Viewers of the video might note that a humpback whale does make an appearance at the 50-second mark, but is clearly overshadowed by the shearwaters.

–Find Pete Thomas on Facebook and Twitter

Other popular stories on GrindTV

Blue whale capsizes small boat off San Diego

Tornado becomes ‘lifetime moment’ in wedding photos

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Follow GrindTV on Google+

 

The post Sooty shearwaters steal spotlight from whales appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Ditch Disney for day at Orlando’s Wekiwa Springs

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 05:00 AM PDT

Wekiwa Springs

Paddle boards—or in our case, a windsurf board and a canoe paddle—work if you aren’t scared of falling in the (alligator-infested) water in Wekiwa Springs. Photo by Johnie Gall

All due respect to Mickey and Minnie, but there’s only so much manufactured adventure we can take before we’re raring for a real-deal trip around the Orlando, Florida, area. If you think flat terrain and shopping malls are all the inland Florida area has to offer, take a trip north to Wekiwa Springs State Park (you’ll still be back in time for the fireworks).

What: Wekiwa Springs is a popular fresh-water spring that doubles as a swimming pool for both overheated Floridians and tourists. Located about 45 minutes north of the Disney theme parks, it’s a nice escape for tired parents and attraction-weary outdoorsmen, and kids will go nuts over the giant, natural swimming pool (which is surrounded by man-made concrete walkways and bridges for easy, safe access).

Where: 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, Florida, 32712.

Wekiwa Springs

Arrive at Wekiwa Springs early or be prepared to paddle through a crowd. Photo by Johnie Gall

The stats: Park entry costs $6 per vehicle. Dogs allowed but check park rules for updates. Onsite camping available. Kayaks, underwater cameras, and lifejackets available for rental with proper I.D.

What do to: Kayak and canoe rentals are available on site, but feel free to launch your own boat into the small river system extending out the back of the spring pool. A short paddle will offer an exciting little trip through some low-hanging palms, lily pad fields, and sunbathing alligators—just be prepared for a long haul down the boat launch path since all cars are restricted to the parking lot.

Wekiwa Springs

Kayak and canoe rentals are available onsite at Wekiwa Springs. Photo by Johnie Gall

How to get there: From the south (aka Disney World), drive along Route 1-4 East and take exit 94 for FL-434 West. Drive straight along FL-434 W until you see state park signs on your right.

What to bring: A kayak, lifejacket (you don’t have to wear it but it needs to be in your boat), paddle, suntan lotion, a swimsuit, a towel or chair for sitting in the grass lawn, a wide-brimmed hat to fend off the Florida sun, driver’s license, a GoPro or underwater camera, some cash for the concession stand, and plenty of water.

Wekiwa Springs

Watch out for alligators along the marshy banks. If you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone. Photo by Johnie Gall

Do: Take a dip in the Wekiwa Springs “pool” with some goggles and an underwater camera. The water feels refreshing after a paddle thanks to its year-round 72-degree temperature. Expect a depth of about 5 feet with clear turquoise water and a soft, sandy floor.

The clear, turquoise water of Wekiwa springs is refreshing after a humid kayak trip. Photo by Johnie Gall

The clear turquoise water of Wekiwa Springs is refreshing after a humid kayak trip. Photo by Johnie Gall

Don’t: Plan on arriving after 10:30 a.m. The line into the park rivals that of the Tower of Terror and the gates often shut early in the morning due to capacity limits. Your best bet is to get there by 9 a.m. at the latest for a prime parking spot and a little head start.

Follow Johnie Gall on Twitter.

Similar stories on GrindTV

Explore Grand Teton’s Paintbrush Canyon to Cascade Canyon loop

Swissco in Colorado is a hidden bouldering gem

Kayaking out to Oahu’s Mokulua Islands

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Ditch Disney for day at Orlando’s Wekiwa Springs appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Discover the Park City Jump Park

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 04:00 AM PDT

This story was originally published in Mountain Advisor.

Park City Jump Park

The free Park City Jump Park is one of the reasons Park City is considered one of the best mountain bike towns in the country. Photo by Sasha Yakovleff

Looking for something fun to do that involves riding your bike, meeting up with friends, and learning new skills? Head to the Park City Jump Park in Park City, Utah. All you need is an hour, so if you don’t have time to get your gear together and drive to the trailhead, throw your dirt jump bike in the car and head to the free, public, immaculately maintained jump park in the heart of the mountains.

Park City Jump Park

The author sessions the Talladega line at the Park City Jump Park. Photo by Barrett Cox

The jump park is on 2392 Holiday Ranch Loop in an easily accessible location from both downtown Park City and Salt Lake. You can even hop on a free public bus to get there.

The park features pump track and jump lines for all abilities. Progression is the name of the game here, and on a typical weeknight you will find all sorts of riders—from toddlers on Stryder bikes to local pros hanging out. The vibe is right, the jumps are dialed, and you are surrounded by green mountains and cool temperatures.

The jumps are maintained by a dedicated crew of riders and are always changing for the better. That’s the beauty of dirt jumps: You can always tinker and improve to deliver the best possible park.

The Talladega expert line runs across the top of the hill and features hips, step-ups, and fast berms. Metal Snake is the pro line, which runs on the far left of the park and is made of larger, steeper doubles and hips. The majority of the park is beginner and intermediate lines running down the center, featuring straight doubles, tabletops, rollers, and berms. The pump track sprawls across the right-hand side of the park and is creatively laid out to maximize different line choices catering to any riding style.

The park crew just asks that you keep the place clean and water the jumps before you ride—a small price to pay to enjoy a premium dirt jump park any time you want.

For more information, click here.

Similar stories on GrindTV

Lessons from a women’s mountain bike clinic

Friday Ride: Flying Dog in Park City, Utah

Virginia’s new mountain biking mecca

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Discover the Park City Jump Park appeared first on GrindTV.com.

The Singular Patagonia is a truly singular adventure lodge

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 03:00 AM PDT

The Singular Patagonia

The Singular Patagonia was created in tune with history and the environment. All photos courtesy of The Singular Patagonia

“The Singular” might just be the most fitting hotel name on the planet. Indeed, the Singular Patagonia is a thoughtfully designed adventure-lodging outfit in the heart of Patagonia that will blow other guesthouses out of the fjord.

The Singular Patagonia

The Singular Patagonia offers 20 different expeditions of varying degrees of difficulty.

Crafted in two captivatingly sustainable pieces—one from the persevered remains of a landmark brick cold storage plant, and the other incorporating recycled materials with modern fixtures—the Singular Patagonia is, no doubt, one-of-a-kind. Chile’s adventure headquarters, the waterfront property is located on the historic mountain-ringed Fjord of Last Hope, just outside the country’s world-famous Torres del Paine National Park, and is still owned by descendants of pioneers of this sheep-farming mecca.

The Singular Patagonia

The Singular Patagonia’s spa features a majestic view from the heated indoor/outdoor pool.

With exclusive access, hotel guides take guests by horseback into private reserves or along quiet stretches of river via kayak. “Riding horseback with a real Chilean gaucho who lives on the surrounding farm, with the Andes in background, makes you feels like an explorer,” says Lanny Grossman, spokesperson for The Singular.

The Singular Patagonia

This isn’t your average horseback riding excursion.

Half- and full-day treks in the glacially carved Torres Del Paine are also part of the mix, along with some 20 other choose-your-own adventures, ranging from fly-fishing to mountain biking.

The Singular Patagonia

It’s hard to focus on the fish with Patagonia’s stunning snow-capped views.

Inside amenities are also eco-minded yet lux, featuring 57 rooms with a view, gourmet dining, a full spa, and indoor extras like cooking class, for when the weather goes from 65 and sunny to 30 with 100-mile-per-hour windsa common occurrence here in the span of a single day.

The Singular Patagonia

The Singular Patagonia houses 54 rooms and 3 suites, each with a 19-foot picture window.

The Singular “full board,” which includes accommodations, spa use, meals, activities, and transportation, is a lofty $1,380 per night, but an a la carte option makes this once-in-a-lifetime lodging more obtainable. For $360 per night for a room and breakfast you can add on whatever food and fun you like, or go it alone into Torres or the nearby village of Puerto Natales. Another deal is this year’s International Patagonia Marathon package, running just $300 per night for event participants and companions, starting September 26. More information at The Singular.

More from GrindTV

Walking with giants in Sequoia National Park

Baseball is in Cuba’s blood, but soccer is stealing its heart

An insider’s guide to skiing Chile

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post The Singular Patagonia is a truly singular adventure lodge appeared first on GrindTV.com.

GrindTV.com - Outdoor Blog


Enraged elephant rams safari jeep

Posted: 07 Jul 2014 02:00 PM PDT

An enraged elephant charges safari jeep in South Africa. Photo from Caters News Agency used by permission

An enraged elephant charges safari jeep in South Africa. Photo from Caters News Agency used by permission

An enraged elephant terrified a group of tourists on safari in South Africa when it rammed the side of the safari jeep with its trunk and tusks. The resulting jolt sent the shocked tourists to the floor of the jeep and the put the driver into survival mode, as he quickly drove off with the enraged elephant following for more than a quarter mile down the dirt road, according to Caters News Agency.

A tourist using an iPhone managed to get video of the moment the enraged elephant rammed the jeep:

The tourist told Caters that the safari jeep came around the corner and saw the elephant at the last minute, as it was hidden by a tree.

As you can see in the video, the elephant initially stepped toward the jeep, prompting the driver to put the vehicle in reverse and pull away from the animal. The enraged elephant backed away momentarily but then charged the jeep. Thankfully nobody was injured.

Enraged elephant

An enraged elephant rams a safari jeep in South Africa. Photo from Caters News Agency used by permission

The bull elephant was said to be in musth, a periodic condition in male elephants that is characterized by aggressive behavior and an increase in testosterone.

The tourist, who didn’t wish to be identified, told Caters, “After giving a warning head shake and slight charge, he charged again after the driver put the vehicle into reverse. Everything happened so fast—the elephant’s trunk crashed into the vehicle centimeters from where I was sat.

“What made the situation most dangerous was that everything was out of [our] control and I was at the total mercy of the driver, who luckily sped us to safety.”

Thankfully the elephant eventually gave up the chase.

Follow David Strege on Facebook

Other popular stories on GrindTV

Blue whale capsizes small boat off San Diego

Tornado becomes ‘lifetime moment’ in wedding photos

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Enraged elephant rams safari jeep appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Largest flying bird identified from fossils

Posted: 07 Jul 2014 01:58 PM PDT

the largest flying bird to have inhabited the planet

Pelagornis sanders, the largest flying bird to have inhabited the planet; illustration courtesy of Liz Bradford

Imagine gazing skyward and spotting a bird with wings spanning more than 20 feet across.

That would be Pelagornis sandersi, a now-extinct species believed to be the largest flying bird to have inhabited the planet.

Scientists recently identified this remarkable seabird, which lived 25 to 28 million years ago, based on fossils discovered in South Carolina.

Liz Bradford, a specialist in scientific art and design, provided the illustration showing what Pelagornis sandersi, whose wingspan measured to about 7.4 meters (24 feet), might have looked like.

Largest flying bird

Pelagornis sanders depicted in relation to the California condor (left) and royal albatross; illustration courtesy of Liz Bradford

For the sake of comparison, the royal albatross boasts the largest wingspan of existing flying bird species (about 8 feet).

“Anyone with a beating heart would have been struck with awe,” paleontologist Daniel Ksepka, of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, is quoted as saying in a story by CBC. “This bird would have just blotted out the sun as it swooped overhead. Up close, it might have called to mind a dragon.”

Ksepka was leader of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He said researchers estimated the bird to weigh between 48.2 to 88.4 lbs.

Pelagornis sandersi, like other soaring seabirds, preyed on fish and squid, which it plucked from the surface with sharp, bony ridges that ran the length of its beak or jawbone.

Its range is believed to have been the east coast of North America.

Similar to today’s albatrosses, the bird was probably graceful in flight, and capable of remaining airborne for incredibly long stretches.

Said Ksepka: “Pelagornis sandersi could have traveled for extreme distances while crossing ocean waters in search of prey,” and was able to “to live flying over the ocean for most of the year, coming back to land only to nest, flying for thousands of kilometers over the course of the year. It probably landed on islands or remote areas where they could avoid predators when they nested.”

Pelagornis sandersi was one of an extinct group of ancient birds described as pelagornithids. They existed during a period from 55 million years to about 3 million years ago. The cause of their extinction is not known.

The Palagornis sanders fossils were unearthed in 1983 by workers helping to expand Charleston International Airport.

Since then, scientists have slowly pieced together a skeleton, complete with skull, wing and leg bones, a shoulder blade, and wishbone.

Prior to this discovery, the largest known flying bird was Argentavis magnificent, a slightly smaller condor-like creature that soared over Argentina about 6 million years ago.

Other popular stories on GrindTV

Blue whale capsizes small boat off San Diego

Tornado becomes ‘lifetime moment’ in wedding photos

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Follow GrindTV on Google+

 

The post Largest flying bird identified from fossils appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Turkish fighter jet provides unforgettable thrill

Posted: 07 Jul 2014 11:18 AM PDT

Turkish fighter jet

Turkish fighter jet landing provides unforgettable thrill; video screen grab

Spectators at a weekend air show in England were treated to a spectacle they’re not likely to forget: the sight (and sound) of a Turkish fighter jet flying so closely overhead that many of them ducked for cover.

The accompanying footage, captured during the Royal Air Force Waddington International Air Show, shows three angles of a Turkish F-16 approaching the landing strip as brave (or foolish?) onlookers chronicle the moment with their cellphones. (Though the jet is close to the ground, it’s probably not as close to the people as it might seem in the footage.)

The Huffington Post jokingly reported that the video clip “will literally separate your head from your shoulders.”

The spectators were situated dauntingly close to the landing strip, affording a deafening experience as the pilot approached his landing.

Many videotaped the fighter jet’s landing, and among those uploading clips to YouTube was Baz300zx, who apologized for his or her shaky camera work in the video description:

“RAF International Air Show 2014 – Solo Turk F16 landing and coming a bit too close for comfort, whilst everyone else hit the deck I stayed on my feet and kept filming. Although I did lose track in the process of it all!”

The air show is annually attended by more than 140,000 spectators. We’re not sure if the spectators shown in the footage were part of the paying public.

Other popular stories on GrindTV

Blue whale capsizes small boat off San Diego

Tornado becomes ‘lifetime moment’ in wedding photos

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Turkish fighter jet provides unforgettable thrill appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Tornado becomes ‘lifetime moment’ in wedding photos

Posted: 07 Jul 2014 10:56 AM PDT

kissing with tornado photo by colleen niska

Tornado creates once-in-a-lifetime moment for newlyweds. Photo by Colleen Niska from Facebook

After spotting a tornado looming on the horizon, a wedding photographer in Canada was giddy with excitement, calling it an opportunity of a lifetime that she just couldn’t pass up. Neither could the newlyweds.

So photographer Colleen Niska of Saskatoon began taking pictures of the happy couple as they kissed and walked down a gravel road with the tornado in the background.

“I’ve dreamed about a day like this!” Niska posted on her Facebook page late Saturday night. “Could NOT wait to post these! Pretty sure this will only happen once in my lifetime!”

The couple from Davidson, Saskatchewan, agreed.

tornado

Tornado creates a memorable moment for bride and groom. Photo by Colleen Niska from Facebook

“Epic wedding!” the bride named Chandra, who didn’t want to reveal her last name, said on Facebook, according to The Globe and Mail on Monday. “We captured a once-in-a-lifetime moment and feel so lucky to have it as a memory of how in such chaos you always have each other!”

No doubt she was referring not only to the tornado but heavy rains that flooded basements, yards, and roads in Saskatchewan the week before Saturday’s wedding.

tornado

Tornado looms on horizon as newlyweds kiss. Photo by Colleen Niska from Facebook

“We just happened to be at the right place at the right time in good old Saskatchewan, Canada,” Niska told BuzzFeed. “We went out to take pictures, just me and the bride and groom, and happen to spot the funnel cloud close by.

“We were a long ways from it and so we weren’t frightened or anything, and it wasn’t heading in our direction. We were pretty excited as none of us had witnessed a tornado before and thought it was a pretty cool opportunity. I wasn’t going to pass on it!”

The groom was just as excited, though the bride less so.

“If anything I was probably a little bit leery about it, but the photographer was super excited and so was my husband so we got out,” Chandra told The StarPhoenix.

“It was pretty windy. I had to hold my hair back for most of the pictures, but we were able to stand, so it wasn’t that crazy.”

The same could not be said about the reception where a tent in the backyard of Chandra’s parents was blown down by strong winds. So, yes, it was a bit crazy.

As it turned out, two tornadoes touched down in Saskatchewan on Saturday, dropping golf-ball-sized hail and destroying two buildings, according to The Weather Network, but nobody was injured.

Follow David Strege on Facebook

Other popular stories on GrindTV

Blue whale capsizes small boat off San Diego

Surfers warned after approaching large whale

5 truly weird fish caught off Baja

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Tornado becomes ‘lifetime moment’ in wedding photos appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Newport Beach lifeguard drowns in large surf

Posted: 07 Jul 2014 09:12 AM PDT

Newport beach lifeguard

Newport beach lifeguard Ben Carlson

A lifeguard drowned Sunday evening while attempting to save a swimmer’s life in large and treacherous surf off Newport Beach, California.

Ben Carlson, 32, was pronounced dead soon after being pulled from the ocean at 8 p.m. City officials said it was the first on-duty fatality in the 100-plus years of Newport Beach lifeguards.

Giant waves and swift rip currents created dangerous conditions Sunday on Southern California’s south-facing beaches, which were packed with tourists enjoying the last day of the July 4 holiday weekend.

Carlson, a lifeguard for 15 years, entered the water just after 5 p.m. to rescue a swimmer imperiled by turbulent conditions near 16th Street.

The swimmer ultimately made it to shore, but Carlson, who was slammed by a large wave, was pulled underwater and disappeared, prompting a frantic three-hour search involving multiple agencies.

Hope faded as the hours passed. Carlson’s body was discovered shortly before nightfall, near the Newport Beach pier.

He was pronounced dead at nearby Hoag Hospital. The Orange County coroner’s office scheduled an autopsy to determine the precise cause of death.

Said Newport Beach Fire Chief Scott Poster, at a Sunday night news briefing:

“Today it is with deep sorrow that the Newport Beach Fire Department announces the on-duty death of one of our own.

“Ben was a well-respected individual. He was there to help at every single moment … It was a tragedy to lose a man of that caliber today.”

More than 30 people, including divers and airborne crews, were involved in the search for Carlson.

Follow GrindTV on Google+

The post Newport Beach lifeguard drowns in large surf appeared first on GrindTV.com.

Why can’t we just AllRide?

Posted: 07 Jul 2014 03:00 AM PDT

AllRide

Hitting the trails at Keystone fearlessly thanks to the AllRide women’s mountain biking clinic. Photo by Elena Forchielli

Back in my 20s, I used to think that mountain biking was just for the boys. I had given up the sport after one too many days of chasing down my guy “friends” who were more technically savvy going uphill and, well, freaking fearless going down. I had the endurance, but I gave up because of fear.

A couple of kiddos later, and a sweet pack of girls who just want to ride, a bike that makes it all a little easier, and the emergence of a women-specific mountain bike clinic, and I’ve found more joy in trail riding than I ever thought possible. The fear—of crashing, holding people back, not going fast enough—is not gone. I’ve just learned how to get up and over it. After all, we should be able to all ride.

These thoughts all solidified recently at the Beti AllRide clinic at Keystone Resort in Colorado. Part of a growing four-stop—Sedona, Angel Fire, Keystone, Crested Butte—women’s mountain bike tour, Beti is the women’s arm of AllRide, a skills clinic founded by Kurt and Lindsey Voreis.

AllRide

A few Beti AllRide coaches rock a positive attitude and some serious skills. Photo by Elena Forchielli

While hosted at downhill bike parks, which have become ski resorts’ new summer livelihood, the weekend program teaches core skills—basic body positioning, bike-body separation, vision, cornering, etc.—that translate to going uphill as well down.

AllRide

The author tries to translate newfound skills on a rocky uphill section at the AllRide clinic. Photo by Elena Forchielli

Our group ranged in abilities from beginner to advanced. Some of us had good base fitness; others were just getting their trail legs—and breath. But, see, it didn’t matter. Quality female coaches from around the country were on hand to work with women of all abilities with all different types of bikes, bodies, and confidence levels.

AllRide

Everyone in our group at the AllRide clinic took home some new skills to practice. Photo courtesy of Danielle Khodor

An entry-level skills park took us over logs, down rock faces, and through a set of rollers, while a more advanced jump-and-pump track let us practice launching off small to large lips and maneuvering through rollers and around hairy curves. We tried, some more successfully than others, bunny hops, wheelies, and the “pre-load and punch” over some big branches. We failed, we accomplished, we laughed, and some even cried.

AllRide

Wheelies were a more advanced skill some of us attempted at the AllRide clinic. Photo by Lindsey Voreis

“Having the bike park to work on these skills helps to maximize working on repetitive practice on technical areas (roots, rocks, corners),” says Sarah Rawley, the logistics guru behind Beti AllRide. “One of the things that I can’t stress enough with all riders is that in order to be a good cross-country rider, you have to be confident up and down, and many of the same body positioning principles apply.”

She was right. It all translated as we rode the lift up (way up) and started screaming down the custom-cut trails on the face of Keystone. We’d stop along the way for tests and tricks on berms, rock drops, bridges, gnarly roots, and other obstacles. It was exhausting and exhilarating, mentally and physically. After, we were ready for beers. And gourmet food. And free yoga. And schwag— plenty of schwag. That made us feel better.

Reconvening with my girls after our all-day experiences with various coaches, terrain, challenges, and elements (it rained parts of both days), I gathered some of the most meaningful skills we learned on (and off) the trail. Here are a few basics that we all appreciated and are now applying to everyday riding. Not only will these help you keep up with (and perhaps surpass) the boys, they will give you the knowledge to overcome some common fears associated with mountain biking. And confidence, in any sport, can’t be underestimated.

Ride your bike; don’t let it ride you. “I have been riding for years, but the skills I learned in this clinic allowed me to take control of my bike downhill and have way more fun,” says Lisa Powell of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. “So much is about the position over your bike. Like every other sport your core is key—back in a neutral position with abs engaged. An aggressive, elbows-out stance with pedals in a neutral position allows you to be ready for anything.”

AllRide

That’s not a rock; that’s a plaything. Photo by Elena Forchielli

Rock your cockpit. Err, that’s the part over your bike from which you drive all moves on the mountain. “My main takeaway was better awareness of where to position myself on the bike in a variety of circumstances—owning and exploring the boundaries of my ‘cockpit,’” laughs Amy Dohr, a beginner rider. One of those critical cockpit controls is your index finger. With sensitive disc breaks, it’s the only one you need to control the speed of your bike these days. “More than anything, though, I came away with a comfort and confidence on the bike that I didn’t have before the clinic, and the inspiration to get out there and try it some more!” she says.

AllRide

Body positioning on the bike was one tip we could all incorporate. Photo by Elena Forchielli

Craft your cornering. As you come into a corner, “shine your headlights (knees)” in the direction you want to go; then do a little Stevie Wonder, craning your neck looking way out in the direction you want to move your bike. Not at the bank, not at your feet. “Cornering is way more fun when you realize the physics of where you want your bike and body weight on a turn,” says Powell. “As you go through a turn, lean your bike, not your body, downhill. Your uphill foot is driving down. As you reach the apex of the turn, look and open your hips to the end of the turn—your bike follows.”

AllRide

A little Stevie Wonder move goes a long way in getting around a corner at the AllRide clinic. Photo by Elena Forchielli

Be more forward. This translates to so many things about proper bike positioning. Mountain bikes have changed and so has the fundamental teaching around riding off the back of your seat. No one does it anymore. The goal now is to be centered over your bike for the best results. Leaning back greatly limits control and stability when maneuvering. There’s no better example of this than when cresting a larger rock and getting safely down the other side. My coach taught “peek and push,” and that’s my new mantra. Get to the top, peek over the “peak,” and push aggressively forward over the rock. Sounds scary, but works wonders.

AllRide

The “peek and push” move got us aggressively over some obstacles at the AllRide clinic. Photo by Elena Forchielli

For more skills, check out the next Beti AllRide clinic in beautiful Crested Butte, Colorado, August 1 to August 3. More info at www.betiallrideclinic.com

AllRide

Our crew took the lead from coach Lindsey Voreis at the AllRide clinic. Photo by Elena Forchielli

Similar stories on GrindTV

Beech & Boone, two coolest emerging MTB spots in North Carolina

Mysterious disappearance of mountain bike legend Mike Rust comes back to life

Virginia’s new mountain biking mecca

Follow GrindTV on Google+

 

The post Why can’t we just AllRide? appeared first on GrindTV.com.