Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shark jumps into fishing boat; angler plans to stuff it

The fishing was so good in the Gulf of Mexico that the fish were jumping into the boat.

Well, one fish, anyway. One very large fish.

Jason Kresse and two of his crew members were cleaning their catch of red snapper about 50 miles off Texas around 3:45 a.m. Monday when they heard two big splashes in the distance, according to the Associated Press.

"All of a sudden, something hit the side of the boat," Kresse told AP. "He ends up landing on the back of the boat."

"He" was a mako shark, obviously lured in by the fish guts the fishermen were tossing into the water.

Mako sharks are known for their jumping ability, but probably not for the good sense to avoid jumping into boats.

Mako sharks are also known for their tenacity and raging anger and very sharp teeth when on the deck of a fishing boat. This 375-pound mako shark thrashed around so much, the fishermen were helpless to try to toss it back overboard.

So the shark continued to thrash away, doing an unknown amount of damage to the boat before dying on the deck.

Unloading red snapper is one thing, but a 375-pound mako shark? Kresse said a forklift was used to get the shark off the boat. It eventually wound up on display at a seafood business in Freeport, 55 miles from Houston. Sounds as if Kresse plans to make it a permanent display.

"I'm going to get a mount of it," he said. "A fish jumping in your boat, 400 pounds, that's unbelievable."

It really is incredible. We're not certain, but this might be a world record under the "mako shark, jumping into boat" category.



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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Snowboarder jumps over moving train near Lake Tahoe

Back in the day, seems it was only daredevil Evel Knievel acting crazy and jumping over things, doing so while riding a motorcycle. Cars, buses, fountains, canyons -- some jumps were successful, some went splat.

Nowadays, all kinds of extreme and action sports enthusiasts are jumping over everything. For instance, there was kite surfer Jake Scrace jumping over a pier and some BMXer jumping over a moving ramp (which didn’t turn out so good).

So it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that the latest to achieve Internet attention is a snowboarder who jumped over a moving train. Yes, a moving train. Why not?

Actually, it’s been done before -- 20 years ago by Temple Cummins and Andy Hetzel. The latest achievement was by snowboarder Trevor Jacob, who provides 1 minute, 17 seconds of YouTube entertainment by jumping the “legendary train gap” near Lake Tahoe. Enjoy...





Sweet. But next time, how about a Board Slide off the roof of the boxcar?

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Monday, March 28, 2011

‘American Idol’ judge Steven Tyler is hurting hackle supplies in fly-fishing shops

Post by Dave Strege was first published as American Idol Judge Steven Tyler is Hurting Hackle Supplies in Fly-Fishing Shops on Technorati.

Attention all fly-fishermen who tie your own flies. There is a good reason why you can’t find any hackle to tie a Pheasant Tail or Hares Ear Emerger.

“American Idol” judge Steven Tyler has it in his hair.

Actually, so does actress/singer Miley Cyrus and thousands of celebrity fans who want to be celebrity cool and fashion conscious by wearing chicken feathers in their hair -- just like Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame.

Cool. Except fly-fishing shops can’t keep hackle in stock. It’s been flying off the shelf, so to speak, as hundreds of hair salons scramble to keep up with the latest hair-style trend involving premium hackle as women’s hair extensions.

They are called feather extensions and, in case you're wondering, are bonded to the hair with carotene wax, according to AnglingTrade.com, which details the hackle-in-the-hair trend.

The idea took off around Boulder, Colo., and last fall spread to California and other parts of the country.

Mary Lee Wood, owner of Salon Incognito in San Clemente, Calif., told the Orange County Register that TV has played a big part in the recent groundswell.

“The flavor of the month is feathers because of Steven Tyler on ‘American Idol,’” she told the Register. “He has them in his hair.”

Also, Miley Cyrus was recently seen on a magazine cover with a feather extension.

The demand by salons is such that one owner of a specialty chicken ranch in Delta, Colo., sought refuge from his ringing-off-the-hook phone by retreating into one of his huge barns, according to the Register.

“I had to get away from the aggressive salon owners,” Thomas Whiting of Whiting Farms told the Register. “I’ve been doing this for 22 years, but it’s been almost exclusively for fishing flies.”

Whiting explained that each bird has 200 to 280 feathers that are sellable, and his company ships out 65,000 feathered bird hides each week. Yet, that isn’t enough to meet demand, and he can’t speed the process of producing more since it takes a year to grow a rooster to a suitable plumage.

Mary Lee Wood told the Register that she spent $600 at Bob Marriott’s Fly Fishing Store in Fullerton, Calif., to replenish her feather supply. She sells them at $15 per cluster of four.

One customer wanted to place a $10,000 order with Marriott’s, and you know it wasn’t for tying Pheasant Tail or Hares Ear Emerger flies. The shop relunctantly turned her down because it couldn’t fill the order.

As much as this plumage shortage might be a problem for hair salons, it’s apparently a bigger one for fly-tiers, who are having a problem finding feathers for fly-tying.

“I just went to my fly shop, and they were completely out of hackle,” Malcom Robertson of Colorado told AnglingTrade.com. “None, zip. ... I wonder what’s going on there? I can’t believe that fly shop is out of hackle.”

Marriott’s has addressed that issue. Vice president Ann Stamper told the Register that her shop has limited sales to make sure long-time customers who use feathers for fly-tying can still get them. Still...

“It’s crazy,” Stamper said. “We can’t keep them in stock. I don’t know if it’s going to be a phase, like Beanie Babies.”

Fly-tiers certainly hope it's just a phase. Of course, they also hope the next hair-style trend doesn’t involve ostrich plume feathers.

Thanks for the tip, FieldandStream.com!


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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Whale Wars: Did Japan earthquake, tsunami bring an end to illegal whaling?

Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd crew
Are the whale wars over? The man who made them popular seems to think so.

Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society -- and star of the popular reality TV show “Whale Wars” on Animal Planet -- believes Japan’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami brought about a big change in Japanese whaling.

“This recent disaster will most likely be the final end to Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean, and make it a 100 percent certainty that they will not return,” he wrote a few days ago on the Sea Shepherd website. “The economic hit that Japan has just taken will make further subsidies [for whaling] very unpopular.”

Each winter, during Japan’s whaling season in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary off the coast of Antarctica, vessels from Sea Shepherd wage a war against Japanese whalers, who kill hundreds of whales in the name of research.

Sea Shepherd contends it’s an illegal commercial whaling operation and does everything it can to disrupt the whaling fleet, including throwing stink bombs of butyric acid onto the Japanese vessels, along with ramming, boarding and disabling them.

In mid-February, the whaling fleet headed home early, thwarted by Sea Shepherd’s efforts in what was its seventh anti-whaling campaign. Watson estimates that the whaling fleet did not even take 10 percent of its quota, the Sea Shepherd saving more than 900 whales this season.

Even before the disaster in Japan, Watson said he was 75 percent certain the whaling fleet would not return to the Southern Ocean next winter because it knows Sea Shepherd can stop its efforts, it is deeply in debt to the Japanese government, and whaling is becoming more and more of an embarrassment to the government of Japan.

Watson continued:

Of course, there is another possibility that Japan may once again see whale meat as a cheap food for a nation in crisis just as the whaling fleet was organized in 1946 by American Army General Douglas MacArthur to provide cheap protein for post-war civilian populations. Such a move would be blatantly commercial and thus illegal. Japan may appeal to world sympathy for justification, but most likely, they won’t get it.

We will be watching the Japanese whaling fleet closely. If it looks like they intend to return, then Sea Shepherd will also return.
Knowing Watson, you can count on it.



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Friday, March 25, 2011

Baby finless porpoise rescued from rice field flooded by Japan's tsunami

After so many heart-wrenching stories, finally, a heart-warming story from Japan in the wake of its 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

Finally, a story that is sure to put a smile on your face.

A baby finless porpoise, aka Neophocaena phocaenoides, was found wriggling in a rice field flooded by seawater as a result of the tsunami. According to the Asahi Shimbun daily via Agence France-Presse and Reuters, Masayuki Sato, 55, discovered the struggling mammal about 1.2 miles inland and called a group of Japanese animal rescue volunteers.

"Immediately after I spotted it, I realized I could not ignore it," Sato told the Asahi Shimbun. "I had to do something. This was also a victim of the tsunami."

Ryo Taira and his group were rescuing cats and dogs in the devasted area around Sendai when Taira received the call from Sato, who described the stranded creature as a baby dolphin. The group rushed to the site at nearby Ishinomaki.

After the rescuers failed in an attempt to net the porpoise, Taira waded into the rice field and simply picked up the finless porpoise, so named because it lacks a dorsal fin.

"It was pretty weak by then, which was probably the only reason we could catch it," Taira told Reuters.

Taira and the others wrapped the four-foot porpoise in a wet blanket and happily delivered it to the sea, where it appeared to perk up as it swam off.

"I don't know if it will survive, but it's much better than dying in a rice field, right?" Taira told Asahi Shimbun. "It's good."

Indeed, it's very good.



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Thursday, March 24, 2011

First documented Alpine skier featured in video

If you ever wondered the origins of skiing, check out the latest from Salomon Freeski TV. It’s an entertaining animation featuring a caveman and a woolly mammoth.

The video, entitled "The Man and the Mammoth," shows the first documented Alpine skier. The tricks are amazing; he doesn’t even need snow. The video really gains traction around the 3-minute mark.

Be sure to stick around to the end and see who eats it. Interesting twist:





So easy, even a caveman can do it?


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Shark encounter caught on video is nothing to get excited about

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The urgency in the children's voices might suggest a shark attack is about to occur, yet there really was nothing to get excited about.

Yes, a shark was swimming toward a kayaker in front of a line of fishermen along a pier in Panama City Beach, Fla.

Yes, the shark was huge, its length much longer than the 14-foot kayak.

But the kayaker was in no danger. That menacing-looking shark was a harmless, plankton-eating basking shark, though one wonders if the kayaker knew it was harmless. What's certain is, the kids were sure eager to point it out to him.

"It's coming toward you!" you hear kids on the below video yell to the kayaker.

"Where?" the kayaker replies.

"Look down!" they answer.

Yes, look down, and click...




One thing the video does suggest is Capt. Linda Cavitt's lack of faith in the local police to watch her fishing rods, which she left unattended while videotaping this shark encounter.

Meanwhile, the kayaker appears unfazed by the basking shark, very much unlike this kayaker.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Nature: Horsetail Fall of Yosemite provides flaming pictures

Nature is always at work, creating unsurpassed beauty and/or fascination on a regular basis. Whether it's a solar eclipse, the Leonid meteor shower, the Aurora BorealisAsperatus cloud formations or simply sunsets, natural phenomena are never-ending.

Famous photographer Ansel Adams often captured the resplendence of nature in black and white photos, and often his subject was Yosemite National Park.

But one particular photo he took at Yosemite in the 1930s just doesn't resonate in black and white, sorry to say. The photo he called El Capital Fall really needs color to capture its essence. A "thin ribbon of water just glowing with neon orange" just doesn't translate in black and white. You see, this isn't any ordinary waterfall. This is a flaming waterfall.

When nature delivers, it's an amazing scene. It only happens in February, and only when there's enough water going over the falls, and only when the light is right with no clouds or fog.

Each February, nature photographers enjoy a two-week window for capturing the firefall of Horsetail Fall, a 2,000-foot waterfall on El Capitan which glows like lava flowing from a volcano when conditions are right.

Earlier this month, Yosemite National Park posted an eight-minute video about Horsetail Fall. It's well worth a look:



If you just want to see how Horsetail Fall glows, and how the setting sun paints a perfect picture of nature, take a look at this video:



Now, having watched the second video, move the video's cursor to the far left and drag it slowly to the right. Then you'll see exactly how the setting sun paints this picture. Fascinating.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Lindsey Vonn: Can she four-peat as World Cup champion?

Yes, that's Lindsey Vonn
with a black eye, suffered
while taking on a slalom gate.
Can American sweetheart Lindsey Vonn pull off the four-peat as World Cup champion?

The answer comes Saturday March 19 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, where the final race of the season, the giant slalom, takes place.

Vonn must overcome German rival Maria Riesch, who holds a three-point lead over Vonn. Riesch has finished second behind Vonn the past two seasons, and third three season’s ago.

“I think at the end now no matter what happens I will be happy with the season,” she said, according to AFP. “I’ve worked hard and I’ve done the best I could.”

Yes, but she probably wasn’t happy about the shiner she received last week when she fell in a slalom race and hit the gate face first.

Or as she described it on her Facebook page, “I lost another battle in my war with Slalom ... I’m fine but here is a pic [above] of my new shiner. Slalom 1 - Lindsey 0.” See how it happened here.

Now, if you want to watch Vonn finish 13th in Friday’s slalom at the World Cup finals, check out the video below. Riesch overtook Vonn in the World Cup standings by finishing fourth.





It would be un-American not to wish Lindsey the best of luck. So, good luck Lindsey -- and not only against Riesch but also with all those giant slalom gates.

[UPDATE: Media release -- Lindsey Vonn lost an opportunity to fight for an American record fourth consecutive Audi FIS Alpine World Cup overall title when the final race of the 2011 season was canceled due to inconsistent snow. German Maria Riesch was handed the first overall title of her career by three points after regaining the lead Friday to ultimately close one of the most exciting seasons in World Cup history. In just three weeks Vonn was able to climb back into the title hunt from a daunting 216-point deficit. Vonn concludes 2011 as the most decorated ski racer in American history with 12 World Cup titles and 41 victories, including defending her downhill, super G and super combined titles and capturing a World Championship silver medal in downhill.]


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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Appalachian Trail: See a six-month hike in 5 minutes

The Appalachian Trail, one of three trails that make up the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking in the U.S., stretches 2,181 miles from Maine to Georgia and is famous for its "thru-hikers."

A hike this magnitude takes anywhere from five to seven months to complete, depending on your pace.

For Kevin Gallagher, the journey took six months.

For you, it'll take five minutes, thanks to Gallagher, who videotaped his hike and "condensed and reinterpreted" it in what he called The Green Tunnel, posted just a couple of weeks ago.

Obviously, he doesn't show the entire Appalachian Trail, but you do get a flavor for the trail, assuming it really is the Appalachian Trail (not that we have any doubts).

Unfortunately, you don't burn any calories taking this virtual hike:





Incidentally, the other two trails that make up the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking is the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. If you go, drop us a line about your hike. Or make a video.

Thanks to Backpacker.com!

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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Crescent City tsunami: Dramatic time-lapse video of surge, fishing boat

A tsunami triggered by the massive, 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan caused widespread destruction of Crescent City Harbor on Friday, and one witness videotaped the surge from the harbor mouth.

"The harbor has been destroyed," Crescent City Councilman Rich Enea told the Eureka Times-Standard. "Thirty-five boats have been crushed and the harbor has major damage. Major damage."

A sheriff spokesman told the paper that most of the docks at the harbor are gone.

In this time-lapse video, you can see one fishing boat get dislodged around the 2:10 mark and drift toward the harbor mouth with part of the dock still attached to its side. At first glance you think a fisherman is simply heading out to sea before being turned away by the surge.

The person posted the video on YouTube. It's worth a look:





Crescent City Harbor
"We had the truck running in case it overtopped the bank," the person who uploaded the video -- handle of ryanengr -- said. "The water rise was not as fast as the video portrays. It is sped up to show the height differential." He said the video is six times the normal speed.

What's incredible is what you don't see: The mass destruction in the harbor caused by the tsunami. Devastating. See The Oregonian photo at right.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Skiing vs. snowboarding: Which makes biggest powder wall?

A winner will never be determined in the age-old debate over which winter sport is superior, skiing or snowboarding? Or in this case, which can throw the biggest wall of powder, skiing or snowboarding?

But First Ascent Ski Guide Reggie Crist and professional snowboarder Chris Coulter at least try to settle the "powder wall" debate with this friendly competition in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. They include a bit about splitboarding and throw in a very nice wipeout for good measure: 






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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Animal Planet: Polar bears featured in 'Spy on the Ice'

Animal Planet photo captured by iceberg-cam.

In the animal kingdom, if one wants to get an intimate look into the lives of wildlife, one needs to go stealth and not many -- if anybody -- does it better than award-winning filmmaker John Downer.

He has brought tigers, leopards and monkeys, among other creatures, right into our living rooms with the same concept that Allen Funt used for his popular '60s TV show:

A hidden camera.

Really, Downer's "Spy" series is a "Candid Camera" of nature, and it's truly amazing what he and his wildlife television production company comes up with. Now, on the heels of "Elephants: Spy in the Herd" and "Tiger: Spy in the Jungle" on Animal Planet comes "Polar Bear: Spy on the Ice."


The episode is Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Animal Planet.

What's remarkable is how Downer captured the touching and probably never-before-seen actions of polar bear mothers and their cubs in Arctic Norway.

He used a snow-cam (disguised as a clump of snow that can travel across land and ice via 4-wheel drive and tundra wheels), a blizzard-cam (a mobile unit powered by propellers that can travel up to 37 mph) and an iceberg-cam (a small iceberg equipped with an above and below-water camera that can maneuver through the water).

The polar bears did not shy away from these cameras, as you can see above. At times, it even seemed as if one bear was adjusting the camera angle. It's reality TV at its best.

The popular news show "60 Minutes" featured these cameras and Animal Planet's upcoming polar bear episode last Sunday night. If you've got the time, here is that well-worth-watching 13-minute segment:





"Polar Bear: Spy on the Ice" promises to be as revealing on Animal Planet.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Fishing trip, visit with President Carter is worth how much?

Article by Dave Strege first published as Fly-Fishing Fantasy: Bidder wins Trip and Visit with President Jimmy Carter on Technorati.

Photo from UPI

How much would a fly-fishing trip that includes cocktails, dinner and lunch with President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn be worth?

Oh, around $70,000.

That was the winning bid in a silent auction for a "Fly Fishing Fantasy" weekend at Brigadoon Lodge in the North Georgia mountains Oct. 14-15 (transportation not included). The annual auction featuring a variety of cool collectibles/trips benefits The Carter Center, an awesome organization doing great things throughout the world.

In all likelihood, the fishing fantasy would have been worth far more had the plan been for Jimmy Carter to actually join the fishermen on the river. (Up to eight are allowed on the two-day trip.)

Of course, if the bidder and his buds are purists when it comes to fly-fishing, they probably wouldn't want Carter along if he looked like he does in the above photo. Really, Mr. President, tennis shoes and Levi's while fly-fishing?

Thanks, Washington Post!  

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Jet pack on skier makes every trail a downhill

Troy Hartman has done a lot of crazy things in his life. Just check out his website under "Senseless Acts."

Then again, what do you expect from an aerial stuntman and adventure enthusiast?

So it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that Hartman, a former Air Force flight instructor and fancier of the great outdoors, would strap a jet pack onto his back and step into a pair of skis. No, no surprise. He's done crazier things than imitate Wile E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner.

See Hartman leave a dust of snow in his wake as he speeds along a trail without having to go downhill:





Hartman, 36, was born in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., and was skiing by age 2, so he's comfortable on skis, obviously. And he's a stuntman and former pilot, so he's comfortable going fast on skis, obviously.

Will his next trick be to take off from the snow?

"I cannot lift off and fly with it by itself," the San Diego real estate broker told GrindTV. "But I am developing another wing, different from the sky-diving jet wing, to do just that."

Now that might pass the crazy test.

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