New York and Oman The Travel Show


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New York and Oman

Jo Whalley hits the water in New York to find out more about the whales that swim off the city's coast, and Ade Adepitan heads underground in Oman.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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scientists at the wildlife conservation society and the Woods

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hole oceanographic institution. They have installed powerful underwater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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busiest shipping lanes. Increasingly, whales are using this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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involved with conservation too. Submitting photos they have taken to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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course. Our food is not sophisticated, it is traditional

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

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

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

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

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

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

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business related with a restaurant, you finally have a sentimental

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

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

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

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

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disaster. Still to come on the Travel Show: I

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

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

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Show. Your essential guide wherever you are heading.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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centre stage at the International Snow sculpture championships in

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

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followed immediately by viewing week. Snow artists from around the

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

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

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

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support structures. Tools of the trade range from vegetable peelers

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

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

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

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starting ten February. 1000 contemporary artists will be in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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undiscovered until the day that goat accidentally stumbled upon this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Travel Show team here in Oman, it is goodbye.

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Join the team on their journey of discovery as they explore new destinations around the globe and uncover hidden sides to some of the world's favourite holiday hotspots.