Southern right whales hate the paparazzi

Southern Wright Whale

Right Whale. People in Wrong Place.

By now you’ve seen the above picture and probably smiled in amazement. It’s a great shot. But an unfortunate situation.

It’s hard to say what exactly drove the whale to react like it did so close to the boat but I would wager it was trying to tell them, or us, something. I’m not some sort of animal mystic but I’ve read enough to know that whales are damn intelligent mammals and extremely in tune with their aquatic enviornment. Despite Matt Lauer’s giddy insight, it was ticked-off about something. And at 40 tons, it’s certainly not a real young whale that might have been playing a bit too rough. The folks seem pretty straight-up about their explanation as to how it happened and that they were not following it (although obviously, others were out there whale watching). At the very least, this is as strong a sign as any that when we’re in the ocean—sailboat, cruise ship or surfboard—we’re far from in charge.

Now if we can just find a way to take Matt Lauer whale watching …

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When it comes to running long distance, keep it small

Sage Summit in the Bishop HS 50 miler

Whose idea was this, anyway? (picture courtesy of Bishop HS 50 miler web site)

Welcome Ryan Pifer to the Hikeclimbsurfrun writing crew. He’s one of those Naval Academy grads and some sort of physics specialist. I just know he knows a lot about underwater warfare and lasers.­­ And he tends to run a lot.

Since March, I have completed seven organized races of marathon distance or longer.  When it comes to running events, a conclusion that I have come to that the smaller the event, the better experience I had.

Take the Bishop High Sierra Ultramarathon 50 miler held in the very small town of Bishop (pop. 3575) nestled in the absurdly scenic Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.  About 100 people competed in both the 50-mile and 100-km events.

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The Outer Banks are proof of Mother Nature’s frustrated artistry

Jennette’s Pier under construction in Nags Head

Wind and solar power will alleviate the pier's drag on the local grid

The new Nags Head pier, officially called the The North Carolina Aquariums Jennette’s Pier, is getting closer to completion every day. The hurricane-resistant project’s most intriguing characteristics, which also include a conference center, sealife displays and classrooms, are the three towering windmills that span its 800-foot reach into the Atlantic.

In an area pocked by the scars of harsh, hurricane-enriched coastal weather tantrums, this is a bold move for the Town of Nags Head. The pier succumbed to the environment completely in 2003, when Hurricane Isabel erupted off of the coast of North Carolina and Virginia. Apparently, the new version is resting securely upon concrete pilings buried 40 feet into the tideline.

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