Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Whales lift dolphins out of water in Sea World-like show in the wild

You won't see this during an act at Sea World, even though it does resemble something you might see at Sea World: Whales and dolphins playfully interacting with each other; specifically humpback whales lifting bottlenose dolphins out of the water on their heads off the Hawaiian Islands.

See the dramatic photos for yourself:

The video posted on YouTube by the American Museum of Natural History has gotten 1.45 million page views in just over a month.

More about this whale-dolphin phenomenon from the American Museum of Natural History:
Many species interact in the wild, most often as predator and prey. But recent encounters between humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins reveal a playful side to interspecies interaction. In two different locations in Hawaii, scientists watched as dolphins "rode" the heads of whales: the whales lifted the dolphins up and out of the water, and then the dolphins slid back down. The two species seemed to cooperate in the activity, and neither displayed signs of aggression or distress. Whales and dolphins in Hawaiian waters often interact, but playful social activity such as this is extremely rare between species. The latest Bio Bulletin from the Museum's Science Bulletins program presents the first recorded examples of this type of behavior.

If only the world could get along so swimmingly.

Check out these interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Orca caught in a fishing line off New Zealand saved by diver cutting it free

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Man rides bike for 382 days on Montreal streets, and accomplishes many things

It is hardly unusual to see someone brush his teeth, fry an egg, shave, change his clothes, iron his clothes, sleep, complete a crossword puzzle, work on a laptop, solve a Rubik's cube or make business calls. However, we doubt you've ever seen someone doing all these things while riding a bike.

Now is your chance:

THE MAN WHO LIVED ON HIS BIKE from Guillaume Blanchet on Vimeo.

The video called "The Man Who Lived on His Bike" was produced, directed and starred in by cyclist Guillaume Blanchet, a filmmaker who was inspired by his father's love of cycling. He says in the film:

My father is 64 years old.

He's been riding his bike over 120,000 km.

And he keeps going...
Blanchet says on his Vimeo post that he loves being on a bike (obviously) and that "it helps me feel free; I get it from my dad."

More from his Vimeo post:

After 382 days spent riding through the streets of Montreal, being sometimes quite cold, sometimes quite hot - and sometimes quite scared, I dedicate this movie to you, Yves Blanchet :-)
At the end of the film, he does finally get off his bike. But he gives the film's credits while, naturally, riding a bike.

Thanks International Business Times!

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Mountain biker gets blind-sided by a wild animal in South Africa
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Mountain bike used to make sweet music

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Orca caught in a fishing line off New Zealand saved by diver cutting it free

An orca was tangled in a fisherman's crayfish pot line in Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand, and other orcas were at a loss to free it. But they certainly tried.

Teeth marks around the struggling orca's neck indicated other orcas had attempted to free the killer whale, though without success.

Recognizing the trouble the orca was in, diver Rhys Cochrane dove down below the surface and cut the line from its tail.

"Just before I dove down to cut the line, about five other orcas, including one massive bull, came around, and that's when I started getting a little bit scared," Cochrane said. Experts say the orcas knew the diver was trying to help, and once the killer whale was cut free, they all swam off together.

KABC reported that the orca had become tangled in the crayfish pot line and dragged the pot for several hundred yards. In the video of the rescue (shown above in an excellent report from KABC), you can see and hear as the orca struggles to get air.

This orca story reminds us of the incredible story about how a humpback whale was rescued from gillnets in the Sea of Cortez and showed its appreciation once set free. This story is worth a read, too.

Check out these interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Killer whale imitates a boat motor in killer video
Baby finless porpoise rescued from rice field flooded by tsunami
Underwater videos of killer whales

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Snowboarder survives avalanche with airbag (video)

As you get ready to snowboard down the side of a mountain and the snow decides to take you for a ride on top of an avalanche, what do you do?

If you are wearing a Float 30 on your back, you deploy the safety device immediately and ride out the avalanche with your head held high.

That's exactly what professional snowboarder Meesh Hytner did on Jan. 25 when snowboarding near the Snake River drainage in the Montezuma, Colo., area. Someone at a safer location captured it on film and posted it on YouTube. Watch:

Just as an airbag saves lives in car accidents, the airbag in the BCA Float 30 can save the lives of skiers and snowboarders who venture into the backcountry and get caught in an avalanche. BCA says the airbag not only helps prevent burial but protects the head, neck and upper body from trauma.

"I felt like I was riding a mattress down the stairs," Hytner told the blog.

For BCA, the maker of these inflatable safety devices, the incident was another endorsement for its product and its life-saving capability.

From the blog:
The avalanche danger for the Vail-Summit zone was considerable that day on all aspects and elevations, with human-triggered avalanches likely. Meesh and company had snowmobiled up to snowboard the northeast faces, some of which had already slid. She was very lucky to have survived unscathed. “Thank you” she told us, “this thing saved my life. It’s proof that this product works.”
Interestingly, several of the commenters at the end of the BackcountryAccess blog were critical about the decision to even snowboard that hill, questioning the knowledge these professional snowboarders ought to have had to avoid such a situation.

Nobody was questioning the intelligence of wearing a Float 30, however.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Thousands of pink flamingos flock together in Mexico

Finally a video that answers these pressing questions:

1. Where do those pink flamingo lawn ornaments come from?

2. Where did the term “necking” originate?

Watch and learn from this uzoouk video:

Seriously, Celestun, Mexico, located on the West Coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, is home to the Celestun Wildlife Refuge, a 146,000-acre biosphere reserve that is known for housing thousands of pink flamingos.

One of the tourist sites, LocoGringo, offers a few tidbits you might not know about flamingos:

1. It is believed that their bright color is the result of eating shrimp-like crustaceans.

2. Flamingos are very social birds and flock together in groups, as seems pretty obvious from the video.

3. Besides very long necks, long pink legs and big webbed pink feet, flamingos have orange eyes.

4. Adult flamingos stand four feet tall.

Oh, and if you ever go to Celestun to see the pink flamingos, we’d recommend taking an umbrella. In case this happens:

Check out these interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Underwater videos of killer whales
A sea lion and dog make unusual playmates; see the video
A crow goes snowboarding down a snowy roof

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Shaun White scores first perfect 100 in Winter X Games superpipe

Shaun White was told by his mother to slow down. He was 6 years old. Before the age of 5, Shaun White had already undergone two cardiac surgeries because of a congenital heart defect.

At age 6, Shaun White took up snowboarding and his mother was concerned for her son's heart, so she ordered him to slow down. His mother told him he could only snowboard backwards, aka switch riding or riding fakie.

Mother's edict, while it might have slowed him down in the beginning, actually helped Shaun White develop his snowboarding ability, and he hasn't slowed down since.

Certainly there was nothing slowing down Shaun White in the superpipe at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., on Sunday night -- not an ankle sprain or the fact he'd already clinched his fifth consecutive gold medal in the discipline with a 94.00 on his first run.

Not one to slow down, in his third and final run, one he could've turned into a simple victory lap, Shaun White instead made an encore run for the ages.

This is perfection -- watch and be amazed by the 25-year-old Flying Tomato:

The ESPN announcer said at the end, "Whether it's scored the highest or not it’s hands down the best run we’ve ever seen in history."

Indeed, Shaun White's last run in the superpipe made history. He laid down a perfect 100.00 -- a first in the 16-year history of the Winter X Games.

Here's how James Sullivan from described it:
Shaun White broke new ground in the history of the sport. Combing jaw-dropping amplitude, text-book skill and style and a technical difficulty never before seen. White executed the first truly perfect performance in Winter X Games history including an 18-foot backside air, a 17-foot frontside double cork 1080, an 11-foot switch frontside double cork 1080, a 14-foot frontside cork 540, a 13-foot backside double cork 1260 and a 12-foot frontside double cork 1260 -- the first back-to-back double cork in Winter X history.

The judges concurred perfection was at hand and awarded him with an immaculate score of 100.

A surreal moment for the global audience but not a speechless one for Shaun White.

"It was bizarre - and my coach Bud Keene was saying 'They're going to give you a 100 if you make it.' I'm thinking he was very excited. But I don't know, I just came through it and everything felt perfect. I was landing the 10 at the top and the cab double came through perfect. I don't know if I have ever landed my double Mc12 as clean as I have tonight so that just set myself up perfect for the frontside double cork 12. I guess it's the first (time) ever to do back-to-back double cork 12s. What a night!"
On his Facebook page, Shaun White merely wrote, "X Games 16, what an unreal night!"

Clearly, Shaun White, himself amazed at his feat, has the heart of a champion. Thanks, in large part, to his mother.

Check out these interesting posts on Outdoors 720:
Video: Snowboarder jumps over a moving train
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A crow goes snowboarding down a snowy roof

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Great white shark surfaces in Ironman competition in Australia (video of shark surfacing)

A large great white shark is said to have surfaced just yards away from contestants paddling in an Ironman competition last week in Australia, but nobody noticed it until TV footage was shown later.

At least some believe it was a great white shark, supported by reports of a shark attack less than 10 miles away four days earlier.

Not everyone is convinced, however. Others claim it was a pilot whale or dolphin.

Take a look at the short video on YouTube and tell us what you think. Watch in the upper left-hand corner:

It was ironwoman Kirsty Holmes who first alerted organizers of the Nutri-Grain Ironman and Ironwoman Series about the surfacing of a great white shark at Newcastle Beach, located 101 miles north-northeast of Sydney.

From The Sydney Morning Herald:
“I was at home on Monday night and just watching a replay of the round on You Tube when I saw it,” Holmes said.

“I was actually looking at the top of the screen because at that stage I think I was coming fourth or fifth and thought I should be coming into picture, then all of a sudden I saw the fin and said ‘What was that!?’

“As soon as [I] saw it I thought it was a shark. I rang Zane (Holmes) and he agreed, saying it was either a shark or a pilot whale.

Folkard's surfboard
“I suppose it’s good for the sport because there’s now plenty of hits on YouTube, but the only reason I thought it was a shark was because it didn’t resurface, and normally dolphins and whales do.”
Just four days before this Ironman Series competition, surfer Glen Folkard was reportedly attacked by what was believed to be a juvenile great white shark at Redhead Beach, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Folkard told The Australian that the impact from the shark was like being hit by a car and being turned 180 degrees. The shark bite his right leg before he managed to climb back on his board and swim to safety, nearly bleeding to death.

Redhead Beach and Newcastle Beach are about six miles apart.

The Nutri-Grain Ironman and Ironwoman Series was unaware of the surfacing great white shark/pilot whale/dolphin.

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

“We didn’t know about it until after it happened and if we did know about it on the day we would have acted accordingly to what the authority - council lifeguard or surf lifesaving australia - required and they would have closed the beach and we would have removed our competitors,” a Nutri-Grain Ironman Series spokesman said.

“But we don’t think it’s a shark. It looks to be either a pilot whale or a false killer whale. Safety is always the priority. Our competitors encounter sharks and dolphins on a regular basis while training and if it hadn’t been for a shark attack the week earlier I don’t think we’d be talking about it.”
But then, who can dispute Kirsty Holmes? She ought to know a whale when she sees one, considering the two-time Open Ski champion was once knocked off her ski by a whale.

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World-record great white shark caught and released by 'Shark Men'
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A 50-foot great white shark? Yeah, right
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Friday, January 27, 2012

X Games tribute to Sarah Burke

In a touching tribute, the X Games remembered legendary freestyle skier Sarah Burke on Thursday night in Aspen, Colo., with a ceremony on the halfpipe, where Sarah Burke built her stardom.

Friends walked or, on skis, glided down the halfpipe holding white glow sticks above their heads.

"Everything she believed in is on this mountain tonight," Winter X emcee Sal Masekela told the crowd, according to the Associated Press. "Competition, excellence, progression."

View the tribute to Sarah Burke here:

[A unique tribute to Sarah Burke on Facebook]

More from the Associated Press:
With light snow falling on them at the bottom, those friends embraced Burke's parents and her husband — all still mourning a week after the 29-year-old Canadian freestyle icon's death following a training accident on a halfpipe in Utah.

It was a touching moment in front of a normally raucous X Games crowd that fell silent while watching the tribute. It opened with a video remembrance of Burke, the four-time champion in skiing superpipe who used to save her best work for the fans in Aspen. [...]

Burke was the first woman to land a 720, then a 900, then a 1080-degree spin in competition. But the summary of Burke's life, Masekela said, will never be found in any stat sheet or record book.

"She was a superstar with the humility of a rookie," Masekela said.

Shortly after the tribute, with the competition moving on, Burke's name was briefly the second-hottest trending topic on Twitter — one small indication of what she meant to the action-sports world she helped shape. Meanwhile, all around Aspen, the new sticker that reads "Celebrate Sarah" was becoming an increasingly popular item. [...]
Even though it wasn't her best event, it was Burke's prodding that played a big role in bringing women's slopestyle to the X Games program in 2009. She had a similar impact on the International Olympic Committee, which voted to bring that sport, along with Burke's specialty, superpipe skiing, into the games beginning in 2014.
Sarah Burke once said in an interview years ago, "I just ski because I really like it. I'm not going out there to win the most money or make a big difference. I do it because I love it."

Because of her love for skiing, she did make a big difference. RIP, Sarah Burke.

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Check out these interesting posts on Outdoors 720: 
A unique tribute to Sarah Burke on Facebook
Dramatic video of a snowboarder buried alive by an avalanche
A crow goes snowboarding down a snowy roof
Skier falls off cliff and captures it on helmet cam
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