New York and Oman The Travel Show

New York and Oman

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Now on BBC News, it's time for the Travel Show.


This week I will travel millions of years back in time underground in


Oman. Starting to work up a bit of a sweat here. We are hitting the water


in New York city. Plus we are booking a table at the world's


oldest restaurant. First up, this week we are in New


York. It is a frenzy of people and traffic and everything here from the


skyscrapers to the food is gigantic. But what most people don't know is


that if you are lucky you might also be able to spot some of the biggest


creatures on earth. Joe Worley has taken to the waters there to find


out more. This is Rockaway Bay, it is a 40 minute cab ride from Times


Square and one of the jumping off points for reaching the waters of


the New York Bite. Speeding through the day gives you a great view of


the city's skyline. But I'm interested in what's under the water


- whales. In the past five years, there has been a surge in the number


seen near the city. It is thought they have come here because the


water quality has improved, which means there is more bait. But


catching a glimpse of one can be tricky. Seven different species have


been spotted in these waters around New York, including the enormous


blue whale. They say that today we are most likely to see a humpback


whale. Fingers crossed. This is the exact spot where we left the whale


yesterday... Arty is part of a network of whale trackers. Manhattan


has how many millions of people and I talk to people all the time, they


don't even know that there are humpback whales, like, literally 16


miles from the Empire State Building. Artie has taken some truly


amazing photos that show just how close the Wales come to the city. --


whales. But his main focus is to get a clear shot off the bottom of the


tale, called a. -- called a fluke. That fluke is a fingerprint and not


one of them are the same. So there are some are black, white, speckled,


we have a New York City catalogue of whales and I think this morning we


are up to 51. My mission today is to try and get some shots to add to the


catalogue. And what is your top tips for taking a photo of a whale?


You've got to be ready, you just have to be ready, you have to have a


camera up, have the settings right, have everything perfect, so you are


like this the whole day. Oh, I really want to see one. You're going


to see whales, it is going to be great. I am excited for you. We are


scouring the horizon for a puff of water called a whale blow. It is a


rough, windy day, so it is hard to tell whether what I am seeing is a


whale or just the break of a wave. But then... People are pointing that


way? Yeah. Wow! There is a lot of excitement on the boat because


someone has spotted a whale. Come on. There is the dorsel. There it


is. Run over there. Catching a glimpse of eight whale is so


exciting. You were ready with that one. There are two! Did you see that


one? But we still haven't managed to get that all-important fluke shot.


Now, that is the blow. Hold on for a while. Come on, baby. So, now you


see he is going to show his fluke. Oh, no. Didn't show it. Catch that


tail. I love it. We don't see this stuff, we don't see this. This is


great. LAUGHTER whoo! This really is incredible, but it is so tricky to


get a shot of the whale. The tale comes up just for a few seconds and


then a moment later they are like 200 metres away. Whoo-hoo! You are


good. She is ready. There is the blow. Here is the fluke. That is


nice. Yeah, this is the shot. That is what you want. And that is the


money shot. That is the shot right there. That says who this whale is.


It is its identity, it is like a fingerprint. Photos like this help


researchers understand the whale's location, but it is a tiny part of


the picture, as most of the action happens under the picture. This is


cool. -- under the water. But now new technology is being trialled by


scientists at the wildlife conservation society and the Woods


hole oceanographic institution. They have installed powerful underwater


microphones to load a buoy 22 miles south of the coast of New York to


try and find out which whales are in the area. Beautiful. This is a fin


whale, second largest animal on the planet. Doctor Rosenblum shows me


what they are looking for. How? So, the sound hits the buoy and feed it


back like a sheet of music? Yeah, it is sent up over the hoses over a


satellite link to a server where it makes, the computer-generated


software, will make the detection of, ah, I see that the pattern,


which is like the notes, you know, the sheet music, and say, that is a


fin whale, then it is checked by an analyst and posted on the website.


You can actually get to the latest data, there is a map of where the


buoy is located. There are really a lot of hits, aren't there, you can


see them frequently. Yeah, what you can do, you can go and see any one


day and you can see just yesterday, you can see almost throughout the


entire day from 3am in the morning until almost 8pm at night there were


fin whales vocalising. They were making that bloop, bloop sound.


Yeah. Whale vocalisations have been recorded almost every day since June


and it is hoped the information can be used to protect these huge


mammals from colliding with boats. New York has some of the world's


busiest shipping lanes. Increasingly, whales are using this


habitat and we know that whales show signs of being hit by ships, there


are scars that they have and in the last few years the number of whales


that have been hit by ships, and that have been floating dead in New


York waters, where they were hit we are not sure, but it is a concern


and there are technologies like the buoy that we can use to help


minimise the risk of whales getting hit by ships. And tourists can get


involved with conservation too. Submitting photos they have taken to


whale watching network. We have had a lot of people that have gone whale


watching all over the world and has seen more whales here in New York


than they have seen on places like Alaska and the Mediterranean. He is


going. Almost a fluke. New York right now is the new Cape Cod whale


watching. In the 70s and eighties, whales were in Kate, there were none


here, now there are as many here as in Cape Cod. That is the footprint.


If you'd like to try and spot a whale near the city, trips run from


May to November. Inbound Manhattan... And you can keep up


with the whales on real-time on the Woods hole oceanographic institution


website. Up next - we've got more from our


global gourmet series. This week we're in Madrid at what is thought


to be the world's Alder stressed on. -- oldest restaurant. I am Antonia


Gonzalez and this is Botin, the oldest restaurant, 13 eight, in the


world. This is a little part of history, the history of the old


Madrid -- 1408. The first room, I mean, it is downstairs, 16 century


dining room, the only room left that was here at least in 1580. Ernest


Hemingway, he was a very regular customer here and included Botin in


the last action of one of his books. If you read it, the last accent of


the book plays upstairs in one of our dining rooms. He used to try to


cook his own dishes, especially paella, and my grandfather told him


to keep on writing, and he would keep on cooking. We try to keep up


the ambience of the original restaurant. We focus on the food, of


course. Our food is not sophisticated, it is traditional


Spanish flavours, traditional Spanish cooking. Great, you know,


cooking, but basically we are focused on roast in the original


other than from 1785, we have the roast suckling pig and the roast


baby lamb as the main. It is very simple. It is with a little white


wine, a short of rosemary, onion, garlic, and that is all - very


simple. Two and a half hours and you get it. When you belong to a family


business related with a restaurant, you finally have a sentimental


relation with it. It is like a human being. This is a little part of the


history of Madrid. You collect moments of your life in these walls


and in these corners... And everything that happens here is an


effect. You succeed, you are very happy. If you fail, it is a


disaster. Still to come on the Travel Show: I


am heading deep underground in Oman, in search of a rare fish that lives


in total darkness. It is like a proper training workout. The Travel


Show. Your essential guide wherever you are heading.


Hello. I am Michelle, your global guide, with top tips on the world's


best events in the coming months. Starting in Scotland, it is the Up


Helly Aa Festival, which celebrates the Viking heritage of the Shetland


Islands, a fiery festival which began more than 100 years ago,


celebrating the influence of the region. Up to the Alps. In


Switzerland on 31 January, dozens of hot-air balloons will take to the


skies for the festival International De Ballons. There will be sky


chariots and cloud hoppers, single seater balloons to you and me, as


well as airships, wing suit displays and remote-control hotair


ballooning, all with a backdrop of the snowy Swiss Alps. The festival


ends on 29 January. Cross in the American Rockies, the snow will be


centre stage at the International Snow sculpture championships in


Bracken Ridge, Colorado. From January 24-28 it is sculpting week


followed immediately by viewing week. Snow artists from around the


world come here to compete, each team taking on 12 24 ton locks of


snow and carving and chiselling by hand some of the most extraordinary


works of art. No power Tools are used, there are also no internal


support structures. Tools of the trade range from vegetable peelers


to chickenwire to small stores. Watch the snow take place -- small


saws. It will be a very different kind of art at the Perth


International arts Festival, which plays out for nearly a month,


starting ten February. 1000 contemporary artists will be in


action in theatre, music, film and literature, performing at venues and


outdoor spaces across the western Australian capital. On an island in


South Korea, the Jeongwol fire festival takes place from March 225,


celebrating the first full moon of the lunar calendar. In the Italian


Dolomites it is much -- Marcialonga. The race covers 70 kilometres of


track. Thousands of prose and amateurs compete, flanked by the


towering peaks of arguably the most beautiful mountains in the world.


Finally, melt into the week-long lantern festival in Taiwan, which


begins 11 February on the back of Chinese New Year celebrations. There


will be the sound of firecrackers, parades of oversized turtle effigies


out in the archipelago. The release of sky lanterns and fairytale


displays in this town. That is my global guide this month. Let me know


what is happening in the place where you live or where you love. We are


on e-mail and across social media. Until next time, happy travelling.


And to end this week, I am going back 2 million years in time here in


Oman. I am visiting the country's famous caves which have recently


reopened to tourists. I am taking a two-hour drive from the capital,


Muscat, to Oman most famous Mt. There are five kilometre long series


of caverns and passages, formed over 1 million years before the first


humans appeared on Earth. Once you arrive at the foot of the mountain,


you take a short tram ride through the blistering mid- day heat and


into the mouth of the cave system. So this stunning entrance is the


opening to the Al Hoota Cave. It is 22 3 million years old. It is just


so beautiful, and I am in search of the famous blind pink fish, which


you can only find here. The fish have survived undisturbed here


beneath the earth in total darkness, until one day about 100 years ago,


when the caves were discovered, totally by accident. Discovered by a


shepherd, when his goat fell down from the vent came down here. At


that time he comes here, and discovers in the cave. That is an


incredible story. His goat fell through this hole, and he suddenly


discovered these caves. Once inside, you can explore the caves by using


the specially constructive walkways, and take your journey back in time.


Starting to work up a bit of a sweat here. Despite Oman being arrowed


most of the year, the country is pockmarked with riverbeds, which can


flood very quickly when it rains, and flash flooding back in 2014 cent


water gushing into the caves, submerging most of them and closing


the complex down to the rest. Just over two years on, and the water has


been pumped out, returning the caves to their former glory. I could stare


at these rocks for ages, and sometimes it feels like your mind is


playing tricks on you. Down there I saw what looked like a man's face


that had been carved out of the rocks. And you have got a lot of


this opening is man-made, created, but some of this is natural. Like


that looks like a lion's head. I swear it looks like a lion's head.


You can see its main, a bit of its mouth over there. It is bizarre. --


mane. As you venture deeper and deeper into the caves, the walkways


get longer and the stairs gets deeper. Look at that. But after


coming all this way, I am determined to see as much as I can, especially


those pink blind fish that untold can only be found here. This is like


being back at my mum and dad's old council flat. You've got to be


pretty able to get around this cave. And there it is. Sadly, though, it


doesn't look like I'm really cut out to be a caveman. It's like a proper


training workout. Look over there. It's just stairs, flights and


flights of stairs. I think my cave dwelling is over now. This is enough


for me. Such a shame, because this cave is starting to get so


beautiful. When I caught my breath, the crew ventured further into the


cave. And at last, they discovered what we had all hoped to see. The


rare pink blind fish. Coloured translucent pink, it is mind blowing


to think that they have been here for millions and millions of years,


undiscovered until the day that goat accidentally stumbled upon this


massive cave system. At the moment, you can only explore about 10% of


the Al Hoota Caves. But it is hoped in the future more of its


underground secrets will be revealed to the public. I love those caves.


They were absolutely awesome. Well, sadly that is it for this week. But


coming up next week: Henry is also heading underground, this time in


Capita Achaea, in southern Turkey, where a city thousands of years old


is being unearthed. Wow. Look at that. Don't forget, you can follow


us on social media, and all the details are on the bottom of your


screen is right now. But for now, from me, Ade Adepitan, and all the


Travel Show team here in Oman, it is goodbye.


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