The Narwhal is a (small) toothed whale rather extraordinary because it holds a kind of long protruding spiral tusk (actually an overdevelopped toothwhich can reach up to 4 meters in adult males). Rather discreet (small blow, defintely timid), the narwhal is not easy to observe. But during our crossing of the Bellot Strait, we were lucky enough to observe a group (a pod, according to the specialists) at short range and they pleasantly presented their tusks for our observation.
A very intense emotion for a short encounter!
Narwhal (Monodon monoceros, Narval).
Bellot Strait, Nunavut, Canada.
2016: A cold year where we went to the Arctic North of Canada (in the state of Nunavut, also known as the Inuit country). It was a trip organized by OneOcean Expeditions and that we joined thanks to the help of Polar Cruises:
A scientific research vessel from Russia reconverted into an expedition ship, Akademik Ioffe,
a few tens of passangers,
a staff of more than twenty people (zodiac pilotes as well as polar bear scientist from the San Diego zoo),
a trip bringing us from Iqaluit (South of Baffin Island) to Resolute Bay (base camp for many North Pole expeditions),
encounters with the Inuit culture and people,
discovery of the history of Arctic Canada arctique by the pionneers coming from Europe.
I will publish here some of my best photos from this trip (wildlife is not really dense in the Arctic, but we met many animals: Polar bears, sea birds, seals, musk oxen, whales (both toothed whales and baleen whales), etc.) but I would like to thank the staff right away. The whole staff and crew offered a warm welcome during these 2+ weeks; All stars converged to make this trip memorable.
In the coming days: trip images, to allow you sharing some of the strongest moments we lived through.
During a recent visit to the La FlÃ¨che zoo (in France, South of Le Mans), I had the opportunity to stop for a small time in front of the grizzlis’ enclosure. Three nice bears (2 males and one female) with enough space to frolic around and young enough to love demonstrating their strength in relatively violent games.
I would not want to be standing on the path of the paws when they thump each other, even if they visibly don’t intend to hurt themselves. Combat sports of sorts.
My hosting company (OVH.com) is very cautious and does not push me into upgrading silently PHP on the servers. But I was still in PHP5 when I noticed that I could go up to PHP7.
WordPress informs me that the simple upgrade could improve speed by a ratio of 2x to 3x. So, it was easy to try.
Apart from an old plug-in which appeared unable to tolerate PHP7 (and that I was no longer using), the upgrade went well: I recommend the enormous speed increase for the web sites. This will be positive for my Page Rank in Google, for sure.
The national press (newspapers and TV) regularly come back to Bitcoin, this decentralized currency that some would announce as going to replace all other world currencies. Some also think that the technology solutions included in Bitcoin are the groundwork for all future world finance (Nothing less!)
But it may be less nice that that. And much more complicated according to Mike Hearn, one of the designers of Bitcoin.
Orcas are marvellous mammals fro mthe sea that are usually only seen from the water surface: a fin, a rostrum jsut out of the water to catch a sea lion. Nothing more.
But the NOAA scientists tracked them with an aerial photo drone and brought back some astonishing photos from above.
Overhead image of the newest member of the Southern Resident killer whale population, L122, just days after being born to first-time mother L91. This image shows the small size of neonate calves and the close bond between mother and calf that will last a lifetime. Credit: NOAA Fisheries, Vancouver Aquarium. Taken by UAV from above 90 feet under NMFS research permit and FAA flight authorization. More information at http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/podcasts/2015/10/uav_killer_whale.html