The Odd Side – September 26, 2016

Elephant Seal Sets Record by Swimming Farthest West

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) – Researchers with the University of California, Santa Cruz say an elephant seal has set a record by swimming farther west than any other tracked elephant seal.

UC Santa Cruz officials said that by the time the seal, whose name is Phyllis, arrives back in California in January, she will have completed a 7,400-mile foraging adventure. The 853-pound mother of two covered about 3,700 miles of ocean before turning around and heading home. The average distance northern elephant seals usually swim during their eight-month migration is 2,000 miles.

Año Nuevo Reserve director Patrick Robinson says UC Santa Cruz researchers have been tracking the marine mammals for 22 years at the reserve in Pescadero, California.

He says they have compiled one of the planet’s largest marine mammal diving and tracking record.

The adventurous animal was named after Phyllis Sooy, a late newspaper reporter and philanthropist.

80,000 Trout Set Free
By Accident

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – A cargo ship earlier this month accidentally tore apart a fish farm net off Assens, 124 miles west of Copenhagen, Denmark, in the western Baltic Sea, setting free the entire trout farm, 80,000 in all, which was estimated to hold 250 tons of fish.

Authorities fear the farmed trout wreak havoc on the region and eat the eggs of other trout species. Soeren Knabe of the environmental group Vandpleje Fyn is urging anglers to “grab their rods and catch as many as possible. I’ll join them this weekend.”

“Get yourself a fishing license and get out there. The more the better,” he said jokingly.

Knabe said that the rip happened “at the worst time” because sea trout “are about to spawn and their eggs are ‘yummy’ for rainbow trout.”

Drought Leads to Trucked-In
Water for Snowmobile Racing

FREMONT, N.H. (AP) – Organizers of an annual snowmobile race on water in New Hampshire say they’ve had to truck in water for the event because of the drought.

WMUR reports that Brookfield Pines Farm in Fremont is the setting for the Race to Winter event. More than 40,000 people are expected.

A watercross event is held on a pond. But, the water level is lower than normal and organizers had to bring in about two tractor-trailers’ worth of water.

Some is going to small canals that the snowmobiles use to travel through to cool their suspensions. Without that, the vehicles can’t run to perform stunts and race.

Once the event is over, the water will be used for farm animals returning to the fields.

Pumpkin Weighing 1,910 Pounds Wins Contest

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) – An annual pumpkin-weighing contest in Northern California has a new winner: a third-grade teacher in Washington state who raised a giant one weighing 1,910 pounds.

Cindy Tobeck, who lives outside Olympia, Washington, said her pumpkin grew steadily since she planted it in April, spending much of that time in a greenhouse with heated soil. She said the secret to growing giant pumpkins is the seed. Her pumpkin seed came from a 2,230-pound pumpkin that won a different contest last year.

Timothy Beeman, a spokesman for the Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, said Tobeck beat out more than two dozen other pumpkins from Oregon, Washington and California. The runner-up weighed 1,723 pounds. Tobeck was shy of the contest record by about 150 pounds.

At $6 a pound, Tobeck will receive nearly $11,500 in prize money.