Animals Travel

A rare look at a great horned owl swimming through a canyon

Behold this rare video of a great horned owl “swimming” (read: trying to fly) through a canyon in Lake Powell. The great horned owl is a type of force eagle-owl native to the Americas.

The young swimming owl – identifiable by the spot of nestling feathers — accidentally fell from its nest on the cliff edges during a snooze. Luckily, the owl treaded enough water to make it to shore. Surely it won’t be as careless as a grownup.

Known as the “tiger of the sky,” great horned owls excel at hunting using their keen eyesight and powerful talons. The owl can exert 28 pounds of force to split the spine of large prey. Imagine being wrapped in such an intense grip.

Nature Travel

Colombia is home to the tallest palm tree in the world, the palma de cera

The tallest palm tree in the world resides in the Colombian Andes in Los Nevados National Park, amid the Cocora Valley.

Colombia’s national tree, the palma de cera or wax palm (Ceroxylon quindiuense), stands up to nearly 200 feet tall.

But seeing it is no easy trek — hikers have to walk through a cloud forest that extends six-miles long.

Hosting some of the planet’s most diverse wildlife and surreal landscapes, it’s no wonder that the Cocora Valley reminds people of a scene out of Jurassic Park.

Reaching up into the sky and nearly touching the clouds, the wax palms create a marvelous paradise.

Architecture & Design Travel

Mirrored ceilings at Zhongshuge bookstores, China

Zhongshuge Bookstore is a popular book chain in China. Each of its stores leverages mirrors in its architectural design to give off a kaleidoscope effect on the interior. 

However, one of its stores in the city of Chongqing features a magical and elaborate bookcase. The location features a ceiling mirror that creates an optical illusion of intertwined staircases, a magnified room, and an infinity of books. 

Designed by architecture firm X+Living — Zhongshuge bookstores are mind-boggling for readers and viewers alike. Can you imagine if JK Rowling wrote her next book in one of these inception-like wonders?

Photos: Feng Shao/Arch Daily

Nature Travel

The Devil’s Bridge in Kromlau, Germany

The Devil’s Bridge (Rakotzbrücke) is a 19th-century stone structure located in the 200-acre Rhododendron Park in Kromlau, Saxony, Germany

Legend says that not only did the devil build the bridge, but Satan himself should be the only one to cross it. 

What looks like an entrance to a fairy-tale, the arched bridge reflects a perfect circle over the water of Lake Rakotzsee. 

Nature Science Travel

The Wave in Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona

The Wave is a sandstone rock located in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument on the Arizona and Utah borders.

The swirling formation combines water and wind eroded sandstone dunes calcified vertically and horizontally and fossilized over 190 million years.

Only 20 people are permitted to visit the natural wonder daily, which can only be reached by foot.

Nature Travel

The edge of the Earth: Australia’s Nullarbor Cliffs

What looks like the end of the Earth is really just the end of Australia.

The Bunda Cliffs of Nullarbor Plain, Southern Australia, form part of the longest uninterrupted line of coastal cliffs (62 miles long) in the world.

These limestone sea cliffs, which are 200 feet to 400 feet high, drop off into the Great Australian Bight, one of the most pristine ocean environments on Earth.

The cliffs also head 7 centimeters north every year, thanks to continental drift.

PS: The Bunda Cliffs are not to be used as evidence for flat Earth believers.

Culture & Society Nature Travel

Born to dive: The Bajau sea nomads

The Bajau sea nomads are people from the Malay Archipelago (Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia).

Among the world’s best divers, the sea nomads act like the real mermaids — aquatic life is literally in their DNA.

According to a study from the journal Cell:

They are renowned for their extraordinary abilities, diving to depths of over 70 m with nothing more than a set of weights and a pair of wooden goggles (Schagatay, 2014) and spending 60% of their daily working time underwater (Schagatay et al., 2011).

They’ve evolved to harbor extreme breath-holding capabilities with up to 13 minutes underwater. Even without weights, the Bajau can stay negatively buoyant enough to walk across the sea bottom as one does on terra firma. 

For thousands of years, the Bajau people have developed expanded spleens due to their dependency on diving underwater for food.

No one knows what originally compelled the Bajau to dive other than their need to survive and feed entire families.

Without experimentation, evolution does not exist. It is through struggle and adaptation we evolve.

Learn more in the video below.

Featured photo by James Morgan.

Nature Travel

Rock salt formations in Iran

There are mountains of rainbow rock salt formation in Jashak salt dome, in the Zagros mountains of Iran.

The beautiful rainbow rock formations are a result of rock salt and other evaporites that rose upward through overlying layers of rock millions of years ago in the Persian Gulf.

Thanks to the monstrous salt accumulation that transpired when the ocean turned to mountains, ocean life has flourished.

Jashak salt dome
Photo: Flickr/sipos.szandra
Architecture & Design Travel

Jatayu: The world’s largest bird sculpture

Jatayu Nature Park in Kerala, India, holds the largest bird sculpture on Earth, occupying about 15,000 sq feet.

Opened in 2018 as a tourist destination, the 70-foot tall giant sculpture pays tribute to the famed divine bird, Jatayu, from the Hindu epic Ramayan.

According to the mythology, Jatayu once fell and injured his left wing at the location in an attempt to save Sita from the clutches of evil Ravana.

Photo: The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru

The stone cut statue now serves as a symbol for the protection of womankind. View more of the sculpture in the videos and images below.

Nature Travel

The beauty of Slovenia’s Bled Island

Bred Island is a small tear-shaped island floating in the middle of Lake Bled in northwestern Slovenia.

On the island sits Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary, a Baroque church established in 1534.

The mountains and forests surrounding the lake add to the picturesque view of the church. During the winter, the frost over the island looks like a scene from a Disney movie. Tourists enjoy hiking around the lake and rowing in its peaceful waters during the summer.

Bred island is the only natural island in Slovenia. It’s also the country’s most popular destination. Straight out of a fairy-tale, we can all see why.