Introducing Thresher Sharks! Imagine seeing a shark with a long tail that can be as long as the total body length. Thresher Sharks can only be consistently spotted in a few places in the world, so when was in the Philippines I had to see them up close.
What’s a Thresher Shark? In this post I’ll cover why thresher sharks have such long tails, what thresher sharks eat, how big thresher sharks typically are, and where to find thresher sharks, in addition to showing some videos of threshers in motion. I’ll also detail my specific experience SCUBA diving to see thresher sharks at the bottom of this page as well.
Thresher sharks are mostly known for the size of their tail (“upper caudal fin lobe”), which is typically equal to the length of the rest of their body! Check out this below photo:
Thresher Sharks have tails equal to the rest of the size of their body!
Why do Thresher Sharks have large tails? Thresher sharks are active predators – they use their huge tails not only to swim, but also to swat and stun much smaller prey fish. Whack! When hunting schooling fish, thresher sharks are known to “slap” the water, herding and stunning prey. Read more...(914 words, 3 images, estimated 3:39 mins reading time)
What’s the only thing more exciting than seeing animals in the wild? Baby animals in the wild! Check out these photos of baby monkeys – baby long-tailed macaques:
I saw these Long-tailed Macaques in Bako National Park, in Malaysian Borneo. This below photo reminds me of the photos of monkeys in Bali.
Elephants are incredible. So primitive, so old, and the baby elephants are so cute! We were on a river safari in Borneo when we saw a whole family of Asian Elephants (aka Asiatic Elephants or Elephas maximus). After seeing them in the wild, I was really curious and learned some interesting elephant facts. My photography is below, also with Asian Elephant facts that I found interesting are below:
Elephants are the largest land animals living today. They’re massive!
If you thought human pregnancy was challenging – check this out. Elephant pregnancies last 22 months, baby elephants can weight 260 pounds at birth.
At full size, male Asian Elephants can weigh up to 12,000 pounds (5400 kg)! Females weigh up to 9000 pounds.
Elephants typically live for 60 years in the wild (80 years in captivity).
Asian Elephants can be up to 10 feet tall at the shoulder. They’re much smaller than African Elephants in mass, but are taller.
They have up to 20 pairs of ribs and 34 caudal vertebrae (bones that make up their tails).
Asian Elephants have 100,000 muscles in their trunk!
Read more...(675 words, 7 images, estimated 2:42 mins reading time)
Balut — Would you eat Duck Fetus? They eat Balut in the Philippines, and Balut might be the only food I refused my entire trip through Asia.
When I’m traveling, I always want to sample the local food, and I’ll try almost everything. I’ve tried guinea pigs (cuy!) in Peru, grasshoppers and scorpions in Thailand, and just about every organ or body party of a cow, duck, or chicken that you can think of in mainland China (including duck intestine, pig brain). Where do I draw the line? Balut – duck fetus. Duck fetus is not for me. I just couldn’t bring myself to try eating Balut, which is a Fetal Duck Egg.
What is Balut? Balut is fertilized duck embryo – the embryo is allowed to grow and mature for about 17 days until it is quite clearly a baby duck. That’s right. A baby duck, with all its baby duck parts stuffed into a shell with the yolk and egg white, now crisscrossed with blood vessels and feather-like growths. Yes, sometimes Balut is even has the beginnings of feathers. At this point Balut is soft-boiled and eaten whole.
Balut: ready to eat a duck fetus? Read more...(487 words, 1 image, estimated 1:57 mins reading time)
While I’ve never gone snorkeling with so few fish in Malapascua, Philippines, the water was clear and we had a great group and our first ever encounter with a Sea Snake! I’ll post about the Sea Snake soon, but in the meantime, here are some fun pics from our snorkeling experience below.
With hardly any fish and great visibility, we mostly just played. Our international group of friends were from Italy, Sweden, England, Holland, and the U.S.
I’m often asked, is there good snorkeling in Malapascua? If you’re looking for clear water, it’s wonderful. If you’re looking for lots of fish, I don’t recommend. With that said, I had an amazing time!
So I later learned that it’s really not advisable to be anywhere near a sea snake…
Gangster! Gabbi has a bloody knife while snorkeling?!? Should I be concerned?
Iain created a contraption to portion out bread to fish. He stuffed pieces of break in a plastic water bottle and opened it ever so slightly when he wanted some to float out
Giuseppe playing at the bottom of the sea and showing off the abs Read more...(199 words, 8 images, estimated 48 secs reading time)
Imagine being surrounded by Grey Reef Sharks while SCUBA diving – it’s all captured in this awesome 5-minute diving video of Grey Reef Sharks in Nassau, Bahamas, at the Ray of Hope shipwreck. I love the ominous music too. Check out the video of SCUBA diving with these “Apex Predators” below:
Malaysian Borneo – The monkey I saw most often on my trip through Asia was the macaque. Long-tailed macaques are not shy (although sometimes aggressive; be careful!) and that made for some wonderful closeup photos like this one (below) from Bako National Park, an island in Malaysian Borneo.
Cover photo for the next Lonely Planet Malaysian Borneo?
Another travel photographer said this wildlife shot of a long-tailed macaque (the monkey in the above photo) should be the next cover of Lonely Planet Borneo (Travel Guide). Perhaps! I’m really flattered by the compliment, but I need to thank the photogenic monkeys that were so kind to pose for me.
Getting this photo: Shots like this are challenging, because this monkey didn’t pose for me, and macro shots aren’t compatible with motion and you can’t predict eye contact from wildlife. You need to be in the right focus to have the monkey crisp with the background blurred so it pops. In contrast, I love the composition of the lower photo, but I had to use my zoom so the depth of field is much more flat.
Surprised, or hungry?
Pronunciation - yes, the correct pronunciation for this monkey is actually Muh-kok. [Giggle giggle] Read more...(265 words, 6 images, estimated 1:04 mins reading time)
I was fascinated by Borneo’s Proboscis Monkeys, not just because of the rare chance to observe and photograph an endangered species in the wild (only found in Borneo), but also because the seem so human-like. Imagine a monkey with a distinctive huge nose (a male proboscis monkey’s nose can reach up to 7 inches in length!) and a pot belly, that often walks upright (rare for mammals) and sits a little like humans sit. Their name, Nasalis larvatus, literally translates to “long nose,” and you can see why (below):
Proboscis monkeys, the most distinctive looking primates on the planet
Sometimes Proboscis Monkeys seem so human-like! This proboscis monkey was frantically eating as if he hadn’t eaten for days! Take a look in this video clip from my time in Malaysian Borneo:
Bako National Park also has bearded pigs, which greeted us upon entering the island. So when we heard a typical pig sound later in the day, we were surprised to hear these honking sounds coming from proboscis monkeys.
Proboscis monkeys live on a special diet of leaves, flowers and seeds of vegetation found only in rivers, mangroves, and peat swamps
female probiscis monkey in Borneo. Females have much smaller noses Read more...(591 words, 5 images, estimated 2:22 mins reading time)
Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captured Hong Kong’s soaring heights in his Vertical Horizon project, which is now an 80-page book of photos from his 2012. The 26-year-old French photographer captures the city’s architecture and vertical angles – all looking up. So cool!
Photo from Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze Hong Kong photography project
Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captures the vertical angles through a wide-angle Sigma lens with a 10 mm focal length. Unlike a fisheye lenses, he says a sigma lens avoids distorting the urban landscape’s straight lines.
This shot reminds me of the Guggenheim museum in NYC, but it’s actually in Hong Kong
French photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze shot these in 2011 and 2012
Hạ Long Bay was visually one of the highlights of my Vietnam trip. Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring 1500-2000 islands and islets in various shapes and sizes, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars.
Hạ Long Bay (also written as Halong Bay or Ha Long Bay) is located in the Gulf of Tonkin, in Quáng Ninh province, in northeastern Vietnam.
Annika profile – Halong Bay, Vietnam
We went kayaking while surrounded by breathtaking views in Halong Bay, Vietnam
Lonely Planet: Halong translates as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’. Legend has it that the islands of Halong Bay were created by a great dragon that lived in the mountains. As it charged towards the coast, its flailing tail gouged out valleys and crevasses. When it finally plunged into the sea, the area filled with water, leaving only the pinnacles visible.
Jumping off the boat in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam – so much fun! (more of these to come)
Several of the islands in Halong Bay are hollow, with enormous caves, other support floating villages of fishermen, who ply the shallow waters for 200 species of fish.
sunset in Halong Bay, Vietnam Read more...(383 words, 23 images, estimated 1:32 mins reading time)
Travel Trivia: Which waterfall lights up as if it were on fire for a few days every February? Hint – it looks like a waterfall of lava thanks to the angle at which the setting sun reflects its bright orange color.