McWay Falls

A simple snap will not capture the full beauty of McWay Falls.

  • McWay Falls is a scenic waterfall located in the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, in the state of California’s Big Sur coastal region, in the United States.
  • Unless the tide is in, the water of McWay Falls drops directly onto a beach cove, that sits at the edge of the North Pacific Ocean.
  • The height of McWay Falls reaches 24.4 metres (80 feet), while a 1 kilometre (o.6 mile) long walking track enables visitors to reach the top of the falls.
  • Near McWay Falls are the ruins of a cottage built by Lathrop Brown and his wife around the 1920s, then owners of the land, and it was demolished in 1965.
  • Fauna such as gulls and other birds populate the land around McWay Falls; while seals, sea lions, whales and sea otters are sometimes found in the surrounding ocean.
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McWay Falls and the Surrounding Cove
Image courtesy of April/Flickr
  • The McWay Falls site was first officially owned by Christopher McWay in the 1870s, whom the falls are named after, and the land was originally used as a ranch.
  • The cove that McWay Falls drops into is relatively inaccessible on foot, due to the hazardous steep rock descent that would be required, and access down the cliff is prohibited.
  • In 1983, a large landslide slid into the ocean below McWay Falls to form a beach, and consequently it caused the waterfall to no longer fall directly into the ocean.
  • The land of McWay Falls was donated to the government in 1961 by the Brown family, and the site was designated a park reserve.
  • McWay Falls is active through all seasons and is a popular site for photographers, particularly due to its picturesque sunset.
Bibliography:
Hester J, Hiking to McWay Falls in Big Sur, 2015, SoCalHiker, https://socalhiker.net/hiking-to-mcway-falls-in-big-sur/
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, 2016, California State Parks, http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=578
McWay Falls, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McWay_Falls
McWay Falls, n.d, World of Waterfalls, http://www.world-of-waterfalls.com/california-mcway-falls.html
McWay Waterfall Trail, n.d, Hiking in Big Sur, http://www.hikinginbigsur.com/hikes_mcwayfalls.html
Turnball L, McWay Waterfall, 2016, Waterfalls West, http://www.waterfallswest.com/waterfall.php?id=mcway-falls-big-sur-286

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Abraham Lake

Abraham Lake is a picturesque spectacle of bubbles.

  • Abraham Lake is a lake located near the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada, and it is the longest man-made lake in the province of Alberta.
  • Abraham Lake covers an area of roughly 53.7 square kilometres (20.7 square miles), and at its longest point it reaches 32 kilometres (20 miles), and has a maximum width of 3.3 kilometres (2 miles).
  • Abraham Lake was created in 1972, due to the construction of the Bighorn Hydro Plant, and it is a reservoir created on the North Saskatchewan River.
  • The beautiful turquoise colour of Abraham Lake is a result of glacial rock flour particles that are contained within the water.
  • Abraham Lake is well known for the methane bubbles that freeze in a stack-like formation within the lake’s water during winter.
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Abraham Lake
Image courtesy of Aaron E/Flickr
  • The bubbles trapped in Abraham Lake, as well as any formed cracks, are opportunities favoured by photographers, as they are clearly visible through the icy surface, and as such, the lake attracts many visitors during the winter months.
  • ‘Abraham Lake’ was the winning name chosen from a competition to name the lake, and it honours a well-known local indigenous man, Silas Abraham, who grew up in the area in the late 1800s.
  • Recreational activities in the Lake Abraham area include hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking and camping; and a heliport can be found on the western coast of the lake, that is used for scenic tours of the area.
  • Abraham Lake’s methane bubbles are caused by decaying organic matter on the lakebed, which is partly due to the volume of plant life that was engulfed by the dam when it was made.
  • Fishing is a popular activity in Abraham Lake, however due to the instability of water and weather conditions, most other water sports are discouraged.
Bibliography:
Abraham Lake, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Lake
Abraham Lake: Background, 2016, Trip Advisor, https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g7900164-s2/Abraham-Lake:Alberta:Background.html
Abraham Lake in Winter is Gorgeous… And Explosive (Photos), 2013, Huffpost Alberta, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/12/14/abraham-lake-in-winter_n_4442292.html
Frozen Air Bubbles in Abraham Lake, 2013, Amusing Planet, http://www.amusingplanet.com/2013/01/frozen-air-bubbles-in-abraham-lake.html

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Bigăr Waterfall

Bigăr Waterfall is one of the greatest of nature’s beauty.

  • Bigăr Waterfall is a spectacular waterfall found in the National Park of Cheile Nerei, in Romania, in Europe.
  • ‘Bigăr Waterfall’ is called ‘Izvorul Bigăr’ in Romanian, and is also known as ‘Bigăr Spring’, ‘Bigar Cascade Falls’ and ‘Coronini’.
  • Bigăr Waterfall runs over a very large, rounded mossy rock and cliff edge, that hangs over the river below.
  • While moving over and down the rock and moss, Bigăr Waterfalls diverts off into many different small streams of water.
  • Bigăr Waterfall is situated in part of a native reserve – Izvorul Bigăr, in the Anina Mountains, which has been protected since 1982.
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Bigar Waterfall
Image source Unknown (Places to See) – Assumed Public Domain
  • Water from the Bigăr Waterfall falls 7 to 8 metres (23 to 26 feet) over the moss and into the river below.
  • Bigăr Waterfall is often cited as one of the most beautiful and unique waterfalls in the world, and as such, it has become a popular tourist destination.
  • Bigăr Waterfall is exactly halfway between the North Pole and the Equator, on the 45th parallel.
  • Local myth states that Bigăr Waterfall is actually the hair of a young, love-struck girl, forbidden to love a boy named Bigăr, and in despair, the girl’s tears and hair were turned into a waterfall, where Bigăr drowned.
  • Bigăr Waterfall is fed by an underground spring in a nearby cave, and spills into the Miniş River.
Bibliography:
Bigar Waterfall, 2016, Atlas Obscura, http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/bigar-waterfall
Bigar Waterfall, 2016, Thousand Wonders, http://www.thousandwonders.net/Big%C4%83r+Waterfall
Condrea D, Bigar Waterfall: The Magic of a World Famous Attraction, 2016, Uncover Romania, http://www.uncover-romania.com/attractions/nature/bigar-waterfall.html

 

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Whale Shark

Whale sharks have a whale of a time in the ocean.

  • Whale sharks are large fish found in the warm central oceans of the Earth, and they can be found in coastal areas as well as deeper waters.
  • The scientific name of the whale shark is Rhincodon typus and it is the only member of the family Rhincodontidae.
  • ‘Whale sharks’ are also known as ‘butanding’, ‘balilan’, and ‘tofu sharks’ in various Asian cultures, and in Spanish they are called ‘tiburón ballena’.
  • Whale sharks generally reach a length between 5.5 and 14 metres (18 to 46 feet), though they can be up to 20 metres (65.6 feet) in length, and are the largest fish alive today.
  • Whale sharks are brown to dark grey in colour, with light grey on the underside, and they are patterned with spots and stripes.
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Whale Shark
Image courtesy of wpylnn/Flickr
  • The weight of whale sharks generally ranges from roughly 9 to 20 tonnes (9.9 to 22 tons), and they can be as heavy as 31 tonnes (34 tons).
  • The diet of whale sharks consists of plankton, small fish and small squid gathered by the filter feeding technique, and their food filtering system can capture anything as fine as one millimetre (0.04 inches).
  • Numbers of whale sharks have been decreasing, primarily due to humans hunting them for meat, oil and other products; and as such, they are considered a vulnerable species.
  • Whale sharks can reach 50 to 100 years in age and possibly more, and they grow notably quickly in their early life.
  • A female whale shark gives birth to live offspring, though they hatch from eggs inside her body, and she can produce 300 young that are 40 to 70 centimetres (15.7 to 27.6 inches) long when they are released.
Bibliography:
Calleros P & Vazquez J, Rhincodon typus, 2012, Animal Diversity Web, http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Rhincodon_typus/
Whale Shark, 2011, Government of Western Australia, http://www.fish.wa.gov.au/Documents/recreational_fishing/fact_sheets/fact_sheet_whale_shark.pdf
Whale Shark, 2016, A-Z Animals, http://a-z-animals.com/animals/whale-shark/
Whale Shark, 2016, National Geographic, http://animals.nationalgeographic.com.au/animals/fish/whale-shark/
Whale Shark, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whale_shark

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Sørvágsvatn

Sørvágsvatn is a place right out of the fantasy books.

  • Sørvágsvatn is a lake found on the island of Vágar, the third largest island of the Faroe Islands; and the group of islands is a country belonging to Denmark in Europe, that is located on the edge of the North Atlantic Sea between the United Kingdom, Iceland and Norway.
  • ‘Sørvágsvatn’ is also known as ‘Leitisvatn’, and these names have the meaning ‘the lake by Sørvágur’ and ‘the lake by Leiti’ respectively, although many just call it ‘Vatnið’, meaning ‘the lake’.
  • Sørvágsvatn covers an area of roughly 3.4 square kilometres (1.3 square miles) and is the largest lake of the country.
  • Whilst being significantly close to the ocean, Sørvágsvatn is located 30 to 40 metres (98 to 131 feet) above sea level, not far from the edge of a cliff.
  • The locals of the Sørvágsvatn area have not come to an agreement on the lake’s official name, with one community preferring one name (as the name is derived from their village) and the other communities preferring the other name.

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The Sørvágsvatn Illusion
Image courtesy of Tommy Wooh/Flickr
  • At a certain angle, a photographic illusion can be made to cause Sørvágsvatn to appear hundreds of metres above sea level, in part due to the elevated landscape surrounding the lake and its close proximity to the ocean.
  • Sørvágsvatn spreads a distance of 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) in length, and it feeds into the ocean via a waterfall known as Bøsdalafossur, that falls 30 to 35 metres (98 to 115 feet) over the end of a cliff.
  • There is a walking track along the edge of a section of Sørvágsvatn, where the waterfall can be reached, and there are some good vantage points of the surrounding areas, and birds can often be spotted in the area.
  • The British army used Sørvágsvatn as a base for seaplanes throughout World War II, and built an airport adjacent to the lake, which is still used today for civilian purposes.
  • A road follows the edge of a significant portion of Sørvágsvatn; and a boat tour can be taken across the lake, and the tour also includes a walk to the waterfall.
Bibliography:
Excursions in Vagar, 2015, Faroe Islands Tourist Guide, https://www.faroeislands.com/excursions/v%C3%A1gar/
Hiking in the Faroe Islands, 2014, The Faroe Islands, http://www.visitfaroeislands.com/media/276297/VFI_Hiking_UK_HQcompressed.pdf
Lake Sørvágsvatn in Faroe Islands, 2012, Amusing Planet, http://www.amusingplanet.com/2012/04/lake-srvagsvatn-in-faroe-islands.html
Lake Sørvágsvat, 2016, Atlas Obscura, http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/lake-sorvagsvatn
Sørvágsvatn, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%B8rv%C3%A1gsvatn
Strutner S, An Optical Illusion Makes Lake Sørvágsvatn Look Absolutely Trippy, 2015, The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/story_n_7306018.html?section=australia

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Bottled Water

The irony of it is that despite water being a free resource, bottled water is popularly purchased.

  • Bottled water is water that has been packaged in a bottle for commercial retail purposes or distribution; and it was originally contained in glass, although today, plastic bottles are more commonly used.
  • Bottled water is generally purposed for drinking, although it can be used for other purposes, especially when tap or pumped water is not available.
  • The water found in bottled water can be mineral, spring, distilled, sparkling, ground or well water, and it can be sold carbonated.
  • Although water has been stored in containers for the purpose of transportation throughout history, it wasn’t until 1767, in Boston, when bottled water was first released for sale, in the United States.
  • Despite being a ‘free’ resource, bottled water became a popular choice, especially as the first packaged water was mineral spring water, a rarer form that was considered to have health benefits.

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  • Bottled water became increasingly sought after in the 1800s, due to people fearing the potential harmful affects of unsafe drinking water, however when water chlorination became widespread in the 1900s, sales decreased in countries such as America, though Europe’s interest grew significantly, becoming increasingly widespread both in retail outlets and restaurants.
  • Despite the fact that most bottled water does not become unsafe as long as it remains sealed, many still have use-by dates printed on the bottles, which are the manufacturer’s suggested deadline before the water content may become distasteful or ‘unfresh’.
  • Popularity of bottled water grew significantly at the end of the 20th century and into the 21st, and in 2008, roughly 30 billion bottles of water were sold in the United States.
  • The taste of bottled water is not necessarily any better than tap water, nor cleaner, nor healthier, especially in developed countries with reliable water treatment facilities.
  • Bottled water is often considered overpriced, being more expensive than milk and petrol in many places, especially since water is available via tap for very little cost; and while the discarded bottles are considered a significant environmental hazard, it can take from two to seven times more water to produce the end product.
Bibliography:
Bottled Water, 2015, Clean Up, http://www.cleanup.org.au/files/clean_up_australia_bottled_water_factsheet.pdf
Bottled Water, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottled_water
Bottled Water, n.d, Cool Australia, http://www.coolaustralia.org/bottled-water-secondary/

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