Video: Dolphin Stampede Off The Coast Of California

Passengers aboard a whale watching tour off the coast of California got a rare treat recently when they witnessed a large dolphin stampede. The tour was being conducted off of Southern Cal’s Dana Point by a company called Dolphin Safari when they came across a large pod of the creatures swimming near the surface. The result was a spectacular show of wildlife churning through the water that has to be seen to be believed.

Fortunately, someone aboard the ship had a video camera on hand and captured some footage from the phenomenon. The video was posted on YouTube a few days back and has already been viewed over 400,000 times. It features more than 1000 dolphins swimming along at high speed as they “stampede” out into the ocean. There is even footage that was taken from one of the boat’s underwater viewing pods, giving viewers an excellent look at the action.


Video Of The Day: Close Encounters Of The Humpback Kind


People travel far and wide to see whales in their own habitat, and it’s not uncommon for the majestic mammals to take notice of visitors and do a little showing off for them. In the home video above, however, a father and son are treated to the sight of an entire pod of humpback whales doing just that. It’s unclear exactly where the video was shot, but it’s evident that the whales are watching the humans, and not the other way around.

Caution: the audio on the video can get a little intense on this one (and includes a curse or two), so if you’re at the office or around children you might want to turn the speakers off.

Video: Albino Humpback Whale Off Australia’s East Coast

Since 1991, Australian researchers have been aware of Migaloo, a rare albino whale and the only documented adult albino humpback in existence. Now in his 20s, Migaloo makes yearly appearances along Australia’s East Coast during the humpback migration from Antarctica to the tropical waters off the Great Barrier Reef. His appearance still causes a stir, however. He even has his own website.

According to CNN, Migaloo is currently in Cape Byron, the easternmost point in Australia, where he may spend a few days cruising for a girlfriend. For a look at Migaloo, check out the video. Ahab, be damned.


5 Of The World’s Best Places For Viewing The Night Skies

milky wayIf you grow up in Southern California, school field trips to the Griffith Observatory are practically a requirement. For whatever reason, I always found the Planetarium more frightening than enlightening, especially in the sixth grade, when David Fink threw up on me on the bus ride home.

Despite many youthful camping trips with my family, I also can’t recall ever paying attention to the night skies (possibly because many of these trips were in the cloudy Pacific Northwest). Fast-forward 20-odd years, and to a solo camping trip on Kauai’s North Shore. It was my last night and the rainclouds had finally blown away. I stared up at the starry sky awestruck. It’s the first time l ever really noticed the stars, due to the lack of light and environmental pollution. I’ve been a stargazer ever since, and coincidentally, many of my travels have taken me to some of the world’s best locations for it.

Below, my picks for top-notch night skies, no student chaperone required:

Atacama Desert
, Chile

This stark, Altiplano region in Chile’s far north is the driest desert on earth, as well as home to the some of the clearest night skies on the planet. You don’t need anything (other than perhaps a great camera) to appreciate the stars, but a stargazing tour, offered by various hotels, hostels and outfitters throughout the town of San Pedro de Atacama, is well worth it.

I highly recommend the Astronomy Tour offered by the Alto Atacama Hotel & Spa, located just outside of San Pedro proper. For hotel guests only, this two-year-old program is led by one of the property’s guides, a naturalist and astronomer. The hotel has its own observation deck and a seriously badass telescope; you won’t be disappointed even if stargazing isn’t your thing. In addition to learning the constellations of ancient Quechua myth such as the Llama and Condor, you’ll have incredible views of the Milky Way, and be able to see telescopic images of Sirius and Alpha Centauri with a lens so powerful you can actually see a ring of flame flickering from their surface.

%Gallery-157717%alto atacama observatoryExmouth, Western Australia
Uluru (aka the former Ayers Rock, which now goes by its Aboriginal name) is considered Australia’s best stargazing, due to its location in exactly the middle of nowhere. In reality, the Outback in general has night skies completely untainted by pollution. But as I’ve discovered after many years of visiting Australia, the only bad places to stargaze are urban areas. The skies are also stellar above remote coastal regions, most notably in Western Australia (which is vast and sparsely populated).

The best skies I’ve seen are in Exmouth, located along the Ningaloo Reef. At Sal Salis, a coastal luxury safari camp, an observation platform and stargazing talk will help you make sense of the Southern sky. Be prepared for striking views of the Milky Way stretching across the horizon, seemingly close enough to touch.
mauna kea
Mauna Kea, Hawaii
In 1991, the year of the Total Solar Eclipse, hundreds of thousands of visitors flocked to the Big Island’s Mauna Kea Observatory – located at the top of the volcano – to watch the sky grow dark mid-morning. I was waiting tables on Maui, so all I noticed was a brief dimming, in conjunction with some of my tables pulling a dine-and-dash. A visit to the volcano, however, will assure you stunning views if you take a Sunset and Stargazing Tour offered by Mauna Kea Summit Adventures. Day visitors can hike, and even ski in winter.

Bryce Canyon, Utah
This national park, known for its bizarre rock spires (called “hoodoos”) and twisting red canyons, is spectacular regardless of time of day or season. On moonless nights, however, over 7,500 stars are visible, and park rangers and volunteer astronomers lead Night Sky programs that include multimedia presentations and high-power telescopes; schedules and topics change with the seasons.
aurora borealis
Churchill, Manitoba
Located on the southwestern shore of Hudson Bay on the fringe of the Arctic Circle, the village of Churchill is famous for three things: polar bears, beluga whales and the Northern Lights. Its location beneath the Auroral Oval means the “best and most Northern Lights displays on the planet,” according to Churchill’s website, and you don’t need to sign up for a tour to enjoy the show. Save that for the polar bear viewing.

[Photo credits: Atacama, Frank Budweg; Mauna Kea, Flickr user sambouchard418;Aurora Borealis, Flickr user Bruce Guenter]

Photo of the Day: another Internet cat photo


If you spend much time searching the Internet, you’ll find millions of photos of cats. People spend hours browsing sites like ICanHasCheezburger? and CuteOverload to find funny or adorable images of animals. You might say that cat photos (okay, probably porn too) are the backbone of the Internet. Animals are a favorite photo subject of travelers as well, whether we’re marveling at the number of street cats in Istanbul or whale watching in California. Flickr user canomike spotted this lady in Thailand about to contribute more cat photos to the world and having a great time with her subjects.

Share your favorite animal photos in the Gadling Flickr pool for a future Photo of the Day.